Category Archives: Working Mother

The Two Week Wait

No, not that two week wait.

Tomorrow marks two weeks until my exams start. And this TWW is going to be oh-so-painful. I’ve been studying since February and a few weeks ago I ran out of steam. I just don’t want to do it anymore, but there is so much still to learn.

I don’t think I’m going to pass. Which isn’t the end of the world – I can sit again in April (you know, once I pay another $3,000 for the privilege) – but it still doesn’t feel good. I know my colleagues and supervisors are expecting me to pass. My family are expecting me to pass. I’ve never not passed anything in my life.

The problem with not passing is that I will have to sacrifice another 6 months to intensive study. Six months I’d rather spend reconnecting up with all my long-neglected friends, devoting some time to my relationship, trying to get better at my job. Six months during which I’d rather spend more of my time with this fellow:

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I miss this kid.

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On how it feels to miss my son.

I like my job. My coworkers are (for the most part) pretty nice people. I enjoy what I do. It’s stressful, but satisfying.

But damn I wish I didn’t have to do it for 50+ hours a week. Because spending that much time away from my wee man feels pretty rotten.

Some days I find myself thinking about him constantly. Wondering what he’s doing, I find my hand creeping towards the phone just so I can hear about how much he ate for lunch or how long he napped.

Because when I’m away from him I feel like part of me is missing. I feel like the best part of me is missing.

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Change – Part II

The move is complete.

We’re settled in the new house and we’re all enjoying it. Will loves having free access to the oh-so-toddler-friendly courtyard and we are literally next door to two parks. (And we finally have our internet reconnected!)

We have a lovely little routine going on. I’m happy. I’m settled. And in 5 days that all changes. In 5 days I start work.

I finally signed my contract. I’ve even been to the hospital to organise my ID badge.

Holy crap, this is really happening.

I still have the same anxieties about the job and the study it will require, but in some ways I guess I’m feeling more confident about the transition.

I wrote in this post about how accepting this job also meant moving house and starting Will in day care, and I had some regrets and concerns about both those things, but the good news is that now that these transitions are behind us  I’m feeling much more comfortable with our choices in those areas.

I was reluctant to leave a geographical area that I liked for one that I was not very familiar with. I do miss my old familiar haunts. I miss that H could be home 5 minutes after finishing work and sometimes popped in during the day (we now each have a 25 minute commute in opposite directions); I miss my close friend from my mothers’ group who lived just around the corner and who I saw almost every day; I miss being able to walk to Will’s weekly swimming lessons.

BUT. I’m happy in our new suburb. It’s different, yes. But I’m comfortable here (which has nothing to do with the fact that I have found 4 cafes serving great coffee all within a 5 to 10 minute walk. Okay, it’s not just about that). We like the house, and we like the area, and the move went as smoothly as these things can, all of which equal one less thing to worry about.

The transition to day care is also going fairly well. We had Will wait-listed at 4 centres, and for a while it didn’t seem he was going to get a spot at any of them which caused a significant amount of anxiety. I was furiously brain-storming other options when I got a call to say that he had a place at our preferred centre – I’m sure you can imagine my huge sigh of relief!

We started orientation a week after moving and I’m really happy with how it’s going.

Keen to get out our front door on his first day at school

The centre is great and Will’s teacher is lovely. He gets a little upset when I drop him off but he settles within a minute or so. There were some issues with separation anxiety during the first week which affected Will settling for sleep but that has resolved now. He plays with his little friends, gets cheeky with his teachers, and even naps on his own little mattress – something which I thought would be a real challenge.

I don’t want to minimise the difficulties. I miss him dreadfully while he’s at day care and I still have some guilt – and sadness – about not being home with him every day, but at least now I know that he is happy there, and that’s a huge weight off my mind.

From next week he will be at day care 3 days a week, with his baby sitter for one day a week, and with his dad for one day a week. H has been able to cut down to 4 days a week at work for which I am incredibly thankful. I only wish that I could do the same!

To be honest, I’m still terrified. There are still so many unknowns, but I guess only time will tell….

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Change – Part I

Next year everything changes.

I haven’t really written about my plans for next year, partly because I find it hard to carve out time to sit down and write a post (as opposed to tweeting which can be done on-the-go from my phone) and partly because I’ve been struggling with some pretty serious ambivalence about what 2012 will mean for me and my family.

In summary: a new house in a new suburb, a new job, new childcare arrangements, new study commitments… all of which leaves me feeling a like there’ll be very little left in my life from the last 14 wonderful months.

In the middle of this year I applied for a job – a very competitive and sought after training position at a hospital on the other side of town. I applied partly because I felt like I should – not a good reason, I’ll grant you (and it would take too many paragraphs to explain why I feel that way, if I even could) – but also because I do truly want to take this step in my career. This is where the ambivalence kicks in – I want the job, but I don’t want what it will mean for my life for the next five years (which is the length of the training program – at a minimum).

To be honest, I didn’t think I’d get the job. During my interview the director of training was pretty blunt about the difficulties of the role when I had a child at home (this was the first question they asked me – yes, I know they technically aren’t allowed to discriminate) and about the relative mediocrity of my previous academic record (average to above average grades, although in a very competitive field). I left the interview sure I would not gain the position.

When they called me the following day to offer me the job I was forced to abruptly face the realities of the situation: turn down the job knowing I would almost certainly never be offered the role again, or accept the job and say goodbye to so many of the things I love about my life.

I hesitated for a fraction of a second and then accepted the job.

On an intellectual level it’s a no-brainer. It’s a position on the training program that I’ve always wanted to be on; in 5 years time (if I make it!) I will leave the program with a fantastic career, one that has the potential to be both lucrative and family-friendly. This is the job that will enable me to send Will to private school, to take annual overseas trips, to provide him with opportunities he might otherwise miss out on. Out of the diverse career field I am in this is the job that I think I am best suited to and will most enjoy.

But.

This job will mean a 40 to 50 hour working week. It will mean major study commitments with some pretty serious exams – the first set in September next year. It means moving in order to be closer to my base hospital. It means overtime, nightshift, and weeks rostered to out-of-town locations.

How the hell do I do that and still manage to maintain any semblance of the close relationship I currently share with Will? Where will I find the energy to continue nurturing my marriage? When will I have time for any self-care activities like yoga? How do we care for Will when both of us have jobs that involve working odd or extended hours?

And.

How the hell are we ever going to have another kid?

That’s the big one for me. The reality that this fertility-impaired girl might have to wait until she’s 36 to try for more kids. I can’t ignore what 5 more years is going to do to my fertility. It’s that uncertainty coupled with the knowledge that I will only be able to spend a fraction of the time I currently do with my son that makes me feel almost sick every time I think about it. I haven’t even returned my contract because that would just make it seem too real, too final.

Holy crap, what have I gotten myself in for?

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How did Will cope without his Mummy?…

…he had a blast.

Sigh. I guess that’s a good thing.

He was very grizzly the next day, which I’m sure was due to tiredness. He didn’t have much sleep the day he spent with his “Aunty” because he was too busy having fun!

He certainly had a better day than me. Work was fine, except for this pumping business.  I’ll need a whole post to whinge about that!

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