Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Utility

Last week I actually had some work to do and was surprised to find that it felt really good to be back at work. I think a lot of my job-loathing came from having so little to do for so long prior to my leave.

Once upon a time, I was very busy, so much so that I felt overwhelmed, but that sense of being overwhelmed was far preferable to the sense of being first indifferent and then somewhat hostile that came with being bored. It turned out that I preferred being productive and useful from 8:30am-10pm(/11/12/3/6am) over having a shorter day in which I felt useless. Well-paid, but useless. Or maybe I was just better able to avoid giving any serious thought to my feelings about my job and whether or not I liked it at all and just assumed I must like it if I did it so much -- the wonders of cognitive dissonance. Either way, I was much happier.

And here I am again. Last week, the days when I was busy, I had positive feelings about my job. I felt productive and useful. I enjoyed having deadlines and feeling a tad frenzied. I got a bit of a rush from it, in fact. But, unlike before, I felt like there was a serious tradeoff.

Every day, Harry grows up a little more, and I already feel like I'm missing so much of it. This time, I missed dinner-time solids but I made it home in time for bath and bedtime (and then worked from home until 11ish). But I know that I won't always be able to -- there will be times when I will get stuck at the office. And that push and pull between work and home is, well, hard to balance. I get a thrill from the adrenaline rush that comes from being busy, just like I always did, but it's tempered by the knowldge that any such thrill is fleeting and meaningless in comparison to the sense of calm and wholeness I get from spending time with my son, time that I am missing while I enjoy the thrill.

And I am aware of the irony of the fact that I get a thrill at work from being needed (and occasionally appreciated) in some way, while Harry, with whom I would really rather be, would probably not notice were I not to make it home for bedtime -- just as one lady is as good as another during the day, one parent is as good as another at night. Of course, one associate is generally as good as any other as well, which is, perhaps, the true irony.

2 comments:

Jen said...

I'm glad work is going well for you. It is definitely the right thing for your family.

Katie said...

So funny, isn't it?

As you know, I decided to (temporarily, I hope) give up that work/adrenaline rush, but I sure to miss it. Somedays, I do think, ANYONE could be here right now and he wouldn't even know it. There are trade offs no matter what you decide to do.

Welcome to motherhood, I suppose! :)