Balls In the Air, Nose to the Grindstone

Being a stay-at-home mum is something I never thought I would do. Actually, being a mum at all is something I told myself I didn’t want until well into my twenties but by then I had met Muppet and I think I just knew right away that he would be the kind of dad to our kids that mine never was to me. So, we talked about the idea of kids and exactly when I had just gotten a promotion and a bunch of new responsibility at work, I got knocked up. Of course.

But then along came Mini Me and I took my year of maternity leave but went back to work because I liked my job in book publishing. It was fun and challenging and a bit glamorous. I got to meet important Canadian authors and go to cool parties and talk to interesting people. But. Very few of the women who held higher positions in the company had kids, including my boss, and the hours were rough, with night events and some weekends. With Muppet working as a computer animator in film and television, having punishing deadlines at the same time, it was too much.

When we got pregnant with Monkey, we talked a lot about whether I would go back to work afterwards. I loved the glamour of the job and certain aspects of it, but it was draining and I didn’t feel that there was enough flexibility for a woman with one kid, let alone two. Then fate intervened. The company was slowly being swallowed up by a larger publisher and they took over my department while I was on leave, getting rid of all of us in senior positions. I was packaged off (cue happy dance!). There it was. The decision was made for me. Not only would I stay home, but I would be getting money for it, for a while at least.

The funny thing about deciding to stay home is that you enter a whole new world. You have ‘mummy friends,’ and those who don’t have kids, you just don’t see as often. Your days are overtaken by diapers and potties and Cheerios and the constant picking up of toys on the floor. You go to ridiculous music classes and clap your toddler’s hands along with some over-enthusiastic instructor because you want to aid their growth and development. It becomes acceptable to wear yoga pants every day of the week. And your brain can really take a beating.

When Monkey started junior kindergarten, I decided to look for a part-time job that I could do from home and within a couple of weeks, I had landed an admin assistant position with a cheerful, ambitious I.T. guy who needed some help getting organized (thank you Craigslist). That job led to another and then another, with a slight detour along the way with a job that sounded great, but never did pay me.

My most recent job was data entry with some research added in, until my bosses decided to throw me some more interesting stuff about 6 months ago. Social media, article writing, research, reaching out to bloggers, forming a community. It all sounded right up my alley. But, being the I.T. guys that they are, they decided that it just wasn’t the way they were going to increase traffic to their particular website. It just wasn’t making money fast enough. So, back to data entry I went but now I had a taste of something I really loved.

That was when I started shopping around and sent out a few resumes. I applied for anything that had to do with writing that didn’t look like a scam (but some of them still were). I found out that writing reviews for ‘dating’ sites meant porn and that a lot of people want writers to work for free. But then I came across a posting that seemed like it may be legit and I sent in my resume. They emailed me and we set up a telephone interview.

When the call came, it was a cheerful sounding woman who spoke about how important it was to have a work/life balance and doing something you really love. She said that all of their employees were mums who were making their way back into the workforce bit by bit, at their own pace. She said that being a social media and communications associate could lead to writing articles if that was what I wanted and possibly blogging for their readers. It was important to the company that their employees felt fulfilled. Imagine me, sitting on the other end of this phone conversation just vibrating with excitement. It seemed too good to be true.

I went on to speak to the president of the company, a strong, independent businesswoman, who asked me to come to the office the next day. The office, it turned out, is a comfortable condo where brainstorming sessions happen a couple of times a week. I felt immediately at home. We spoke about everything from my dream job to my opinion on Fifty Shades of Grey and by the time I left, they were talking about having me start on Monday. Which is tomorrow.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. These women seem amazing and it is going to be a fantastic learning experience working with them, but I hope I am up for the challenge. I will be working 20 hours a week between their office and my home, making sure I can pick up the kids every day at 3pm. And to add to the crazy, I am trying to keep my current admin job at least until Christmas because it is only 10 hours a week at this point and we could frankly use the money. I am also looking after my friends’ son two days a week after school and in another couple of weeks I will add swimming lessons for both my boys, on two different nights. Gulp. Too many balls? Maybe, but I’m gonna give it my best shot.

I head to the office for the first time tomorrow morning. The outfit has been chosen, laundry done, computer bag packed. I am ready to start what will hopefully be a whole new chapter in my life. Wish me luck!

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