I had lunch with friends today without my daughter with me and I probably owe them an apology for how much I talked. We’ve all been there – run into a parent who’s been solely with small kids for a few days and you’re the first adult they’ve seen in a while. Suddenly she or he’s managed to get in an hours worth of conversation into the 5 mins you stood in the grocery line with them. I was totally that person today.
I’m on an extended leave (so I’ll be off for 2 years – a 1 year maternity leave followed by a 1 year leave of absense) from my job. I am a social worker and my job is well… a bit nuts. It is busy, very busy, and I would bounce from meetings with other professionals to meetings with families to interviewing small children to attending court and that’s a regular day. Those aren’t the days where emergencies come in and you are running down hallways and calling for other emergency services to assist. So that’s a snapshot of what is used to be like. Now I spend the majority of my days with my daughter and working on the business. For the most part, the business aspect has been sewing or computer work and there is little to no interaction with other people. I went from coming home from my days at work and feeling overstimulated and talked out to being starved for adult conversation.
I don’t think my story is much different from many other professional moms. Logically I knew it would be like this and I’m thankful I have a business that keeps that part of my brain working hard these days but I do miss the interactions with other adult professionals. It’s great getting together with other moms and that has its place too but sometimes I don’t want to talk babies. I want to talk clothes or business or work gossip or ridiculous banter about nothing at all. I sometimes feel like that because I'm a mom now that people only see you for that. It was something I struggled with during my pregnancy too. I started to get very irritated that the only thing people seemed to ask me about or talk to me about was the baby like I, as a person, somehow ceased to exist when I became pregnant.
It’s hard. It’s all hard. It’s hard to accept that in order to have one thing you have to give up something else. I am thankful that I have the ability to be home another year with my daughter and that I do not need to have a care provider for her. I am thankful that I can have this time with her and I am doing my best to really enjoy it. But I think you can be thankful for all of those things and still feel a little wistful about the parts that are missing.
So if you are one of the few adults in my life that I have trapped in a corner to have adult conversation with over the last few months, I both apologize and thank you for putting up with me. And to all my dear coworkers, who are big parts of why doing what we do is bearable, I miss you all and look forward to when that becomes my world again.