Of Jobs and Motherhood, Part 1: Boxing it All
Last Wednesday we went into Boston so I could clear out my office. We brought Henrietta, and I met with my (former) boss and she got us a box, and I put everything in it: My notes to myself, my pictures of Sam, my lemon pepper for my lunches, my purple velvet ballet flats I used to change into after wearing my snow boots into work, my framed prints. I threw out stale walnuts and old soup and dozens of sandwich baggies and grocery sacks I'd kept just in case I needed to bring something home on the train.
My coworkers gathered around the door to my office, there to see the baby and say hello. They were so kind and asked nice questions about Henrietta and said how pretty and alert she was and Sam told them about our new house. I cleared out all of my files while Henrietta fussed, and Sam held her, telling her we were almost done, it was almost time to go home.
It was cold that day, very cold. My car temperature said it was 12 degrees outside when we left home, and it felt colder in the shadow of the buildings. When we left my office, I put the baby in the back of the car, and Sam arranged my box of belongings in the seat beside her. Two years of my working life fit in a box on the seat next to my baby. We cranked up the heat and headed home, and I tried not to cry.
The process of resigning my position has been longer than I expected, with various landmarks, all of which made me feel weepy. There was the day I told my boss I probably wasn't coming back, that the commute from Lowell and the cost of daycare would make it impossible. There was the day I told HR, which was while we were on vacation in Arizona, and the rest of the day I held back tears and sighed heavily, and wrote my sisters to ask them to cheer me up, to tell me how great it would be to be at home. And there was today, when I cleaned out my office and handed back in my key fob, and I didn't expect to feel sad, since I'd already worked through my feelings about it, but I felt sad.
Here's what I'm trying to say, and what I hope to work through here: making this decision to not return to work has been one of the most complicated and emotional decisions of my life, more so than I expected it to be. I was a working woman with an ambitious trajectory for a lot of years. And though I was ready for Henrietta, and she's a sweet sweet part of my life, I'm still feeling rather complicated about the whole thing, and having some big (complicated) realizations about what it means to be a woman, generally. So I'd like to publish a few posts in this vein (though with breaks in between for other thoughts). I plan to highlight a few of my emotions, in the hopes of making sense of them.
Join me as I do so? Tell me what you think? I'd love to hear from you.