Now that peanut's a year old, it's also been a year away from work from mama. Granted, this time last year I was on maternity leave and struggling with the decision about whether to go back or not. I suppose I always knew I didn't want to go back since I never really seriously researched day care options. My excuse at the time was that I worked from home anyway and would have some buffer time to figure it all out. The truth - I was completely daunted by it and too enamored with the little guy to even contemplate the reality of leaving him for more than five minutes.
Now that I've been away a year, it seems I finally have some clarity of mind to even think about whether I want to work or not (don't even get me started on how the U.S.'s policy of 12 weeks UNPAID leave after the birth of a child is ridiculous on so many levels as it pertains to women in the workforce). And the fact of the matter is, I don't really miss it that much.
I do miss my colleagues. I miss my clients. I see stories on the news and wonder if it's one I would have worked on if I was still at work. I miss the "free" lunches/drinks/dinners. I miss the challenge of finding the right answer to a problem and then watching it implemented to successful results. But the day-to-day grind, the office politics, the dreaded sales goals, the struggle to get ideas heard, the presumption that I needed to be available all day/night every day/night (sorry, I just don't need to feel that important)...can't say that I miss it.
All of which makes me stop to think was I even doing the right job for me after all? PR is a vast field and I think if I could find the right firm with the right clients and the right schedule for me, I'd be all over it. At the same time, I think maybe it's time for a career shift, time to explore different options and outlets for my skills. What a wonderful gift peanut has given me -- not just the honor to be in his presence everyday, but the opportunity to explore the world with him and rediscover parts of myself that I had put aside because I was so busy being a grown-up.
And what a wonderful gift the hubby has given me. Not only by financially supporting our current household arrangement so I can be home with the peanut, but by also encouraging me to find my passions and providing the emotional support I needed (um, still need!) while adjusting to several new roles (and honey, I know this hasn't been easy to do!).
So a year later, I still don't know where I'm headed, but I finally feel mentally and intellectually prepared to actually think about where I might want to go and how to get there. I feel confident that I will return to some sort of work at some point. A year ago, that type of vague comment would have sent me over the edge (as my sister recently pointed out, pre-peanut, I was a lot more high-strung. I'm glad to see he's mellowed me A LOT!) A year later, simply knowing that "someday" is out there is enough.
In the meantime, I've got a pretty fantastic day job to keep me going!