Beautiful Day

Published Date: May 19th, 2008
Category: Weekly Thought

 

 

It all started on my 35th birthday.

 

I am a medical writer who works part-time from home. Totally great gig. No business casual for me. No hurried run to and from the subway to pick up my 3-year old from daycare. The people I work with are pleasant and I have been doing this for six years, so there is nothing really new for me to learn.

 

So why would I leave?

 

I quit my job at age 35 because I decided I did not want my life to resemble a Harry Chapin song.

 

I was one of those foolish and new mothers who went back to work exactly at the 3½ month mark. And every year I would whittle down my working hours just a little bit. The first year, I took Fridays off. The second year, I gave up my managerial position and took Mondays and Fridays off. The third year, I became a contractor and worked 15-20 hours a week from home. I actually contemplated seeing if my company would go for 8-10 hours a week in my fourth year. But I realized that this was becoming ridiculous, so I quit.

 

I had contemplated all of this PRIOR to my 35th birthday, but thought, if I am not that stressed out, my son enjoys the socialization of daycare 3 days a week, why not work? Extra money and talking about something else besides how to get your child into the Chicago Public Schooling system or potty training certainly is not a BAD IDEA.

 

But then things started to happen.

 

Like I realized that my 3-year old was going to pre-school in the fall, which would eventually lead to kindergarten.  And even I know that once your child starts school, all of a sudden you are not “My Mama” anymore, but simply “Mom”—no longer best friend, but instead personal secretary, chef, and chauffeur.  I was also starting to stress out about my job and when I was not actually working, I was thinking about my current projects. Or contemplating checking my email 3-4 times a day on days I was not working. I started having night terrors (which I think were directly related to my anxiety).

 

I was tired all of the time.

 

Even though I was able to spend four days a week with my child, I was either anxious or exhausted most of the time. I know that some of this work stress was self-induced, but in this day and age of email, blackberries and cell phones, do any of us ever leave our jobs at the office? And I didn’t even have an office to leave, since I worked from home. All of this also did not lead to a healthy lifestyle (I was too tired to work out or eat healthy), so on top of being a tired, stressed out mother, I gained ten pounds.

 

Fantastic.

 

And then the day of hell (my 35th birthday) occurred. I had thought it was going to be a laid-back work day. My parents were going to take me out to lunch and then I was going for a quick acupuncture session (anxiety = $60 acupuncture sessions) before I picked my son up from daycare. Within 45 minutes of working, I realized that I was working on 2 messed up projects and was going to have to work late on a deadline.  Not only was I going to miss lunch and acupuncture, but the birthday dinner my son was so excited to have with me was no longer a possibility.

 

And that’s when a voice inside of me said,

 

“Enough.”

 

We would be able to temporarily manage without my salary. I was not out saving people’s lives or educating underprivileged children, so was I really making any sort of a difference with my daily work?

 

No.

 

Did it make a difference to my son, my health, and my husband’s sanity if I stayed home?

 

Yes.

 

So here I am. For the first time in my son’s life, he will get my undivided attention. As I faze myself out of my job, I can already tell a difference. Even though I was finishing up a project this morning and therefore still working, G wanted to eat “more breakfast” on our front porch, relishing the recent May sunshine. Normally I would have hurried him out of the house, telling him that he could have “more breakfast” at his daycare. But today I realized “why not?” and as we took fifteen minutes and ate our breakfast sitting in the sun, he proclaimed, “Such a beautiful day, Mama!”

 

Such a beautiful day, indeed, G.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 1:24 pm and is filed under Weekly Thought. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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