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Adjust. Now.

The last few weeks have been…”eventful”. Not in the traditional definition of that word. It’s not as if much is happening. Here I sit, 31-ish weeks, increasingly uncomfortable. I’ve begun referring to this as the doldrums of pregnancy. Still afloat, but not able to go much of anywhere in a hurry. By eventful I’m referring to the quiet death of Hope and Fake Budgets. Long ago mentioned, never followed up on, for precisely this reason. Yet, it stuck around for a long time. Long enough to look promising, really, really promising even. Bright and shiny and looming on horizons. Before snuffing out rather unceremoniously. But, that wasn’t even the event. The event was everything that came after.

IMG_8787
Those are eggs in a basket. Of sorts. Get it?

Lingering hope is a dangerous thing. Lingering hope with the implications of being pregnant, a deadly combination. One can’t help but plan. That’s what this whole pregnant pause is about, isn’t it? Planning, preparing, readying yourself for a major life change. Until recently, we just happened to think ours was going to be two-fold. Now that it’s not, well… we aren’t exactly back to the drawing board. But, a big section just got erased. The events in all this? My reactions. The complete surprise at myself for how much hope I’d pinned, without really knowing it, and what the removal of that hope meant/means to me and my baby reality.

Corporate Servitude? Probably not going anywhere.

I’m going to let that stand on its own. I can look at those words now, without bursting into tears or a long string of cursing. And that’s progress. There’s still a chance things could change. There’s always a chance things could change. Barring that, some sort of life altering event, the unforeseen, not-looming kind, after a healthy time away I’ll join the ranks of working mothers. This is not what I wanted. It’s not that I am opposed to work. I always thought I would do that is some fashion or another. I rather hoped that the fashion would be of my choosing. Potentially involving more time here with you, with my baby, with my garden, with my dogs, and my chickens. Of a part-time, lower income nature. Less required so we can even survive variety. Corporate Servitude knows no end. Not for layoffs. Not for career changes. Not for babies.

So, what am I doing? I’m adjusting. Quick like. As quickly as anything can be done when your center of gravity has relocated to parts unknown. For a second there, things were sort of bleak. Like the initial return to Corporate Servitude bleak. This thing, this thing as it turns out I never really had but was nursing along in its compromised, imaginary state, it up and went poof on me. Turned to dust. Blew away. I didn’t really have it to begin with. As it turns out, that doesn’t make the pain of its loss any less acute. For me it’s a life different. Almost in my grasp, brushing it with fingertips. Taken away. Again. A little bit of devastation ensued. Rightfully so, if you ask me.

But, this is about the adjustment. We can wallow. And we should. Grieve. Lament. Curse your lot in life. Do it. It’s fruitful. Or it can be. As long as you move on. Mothers work outside the home. Lots of them. Worlds don’t end. Babies survive. It’s maybe not the way I think it should be, but it is the way it is. My baby will have a parent at home, which makes them luckier than many. It just won’t be me. Ouch. Ok, that still stings. Adjusting, adjusting. It’s not about me. That makes it ok, right? Yes. And no.

The useful part about all this has really been the fake budgets. High savings rates. Money hoarded. Living below our means. All that means options now. An extended and largely self-funded maternity leave. During which I’ll get to know my kid, provide them the best possible start in life, putter through the summer in a sleep deprived haze and hopefully establish some sort of routine. That’s a gift we’re giving ourselves. A pretty damn luxurious one at that. In this country. In this day and age. Not everyone has that option. Random people keep asking me if I’m still working. I find this question confusing and hilarious. As if I, we, most of us have any choice in the matter. If you are of the persuasion where money still has to be made (like me), that doesn’t actually stop with a swollen gut. In fact, it gets slightly more acute.

And after? After baby, after leave, after this is all actually my life-life, not my future-life, what will I do then? I’ll manufacture my own brand of hope. Primarily employing that fake budget exercise. I’ll wait it out a little. And I’ll have to take some risks. Use that stagnant, big fat emergency fund to further my lot in life. But mostly, I’ll make the best of it. I’ll adjust. We all will, really. This adjustment we know about. The 10,562+ others will probably be completely unanticipated.

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Comments

crystal wayward
Reply

I’m sorry to hear this. I have always thought “if she can do it, maybe I can, too.” But I still have the faith that you will break the chains of corporate servitude eventually. And no matter what, your kid will be loved and nurtured and your most amazing endeavor yet. Hugs from Kansas City.

Jenny
Reply

When we had baby #1, my husband was unemployed and it was really difficult for me not to be jealous that I had to go to work everyday after my leave was over and he got to stay home with the baby. He’s now employed, but works evenings so he’s still stay-at-home daddy while I’m still not-quite corporate servitude mommy. The health insurance and majority of our income is still on me, so as we approach the arrival of baby #2, things are not much different.

Since then, having seen the various benefits and downfalls of other versions of how parents manage their careers post-baby, I will say, if I couldn’t stay home, I’m happy as pie that my husband could. Our son has an excellent relationship with his dad. And he’s managed to avoid pretty much all of those nasty baby-hood viruses, rashes, etc. So even if you couldn’t do it exactly the way you wanted to, I do think you’ll be happy with what you can do in the end. And just keep chipping away at it – the end of corporate servitude could very well be just around the corner; who knows what life has in store!

BigBadStew
Reply

Nice post. Hope springs eternal, don’t give up on it.

Winn
Reply

I love the honesty of your writing and your resourcefullness. While I am in a completely different situation, I can relate to those feelings of corporate servitude and the strong desire to break away and have the freedom to do my own thing. I have to remind myself (often) that I still have many choices (further downsizing, having a home in a less desirable neighborhood, even less spending on wants versus needs, etc.) that at this time I am not yet willing to make. You too have lots of choices and options……not ones you want to make (you love your house, neighborhood, and dogs, etc.) Don’t lose sight of the fact that your job is not servitude, your job faciliates your life and choices. I’m sure your journey is moving you away from your current job. Your creativity is brewing and it is palpable. This is temporary. In the meantime let’s think of a better term than corporate servitutude that feels better to all of us who are still enjoying the fabulous benefits of full time employment and counting the days until we can break free!

prapc
Reply

Love this Winn! <3

Erica / Northwest Edible Life
Reply

Nice post, very heartfelt. I’m sorry for the lost options, I am. But I suspect this is the “right” solution for now, even if it isn’t a fun one. So carry on, soldier, carry on. And stretch that maternity leave as long as you can. :)

cassedega
Reply

I’m sorry to hear that your plan didn’t work out. Unfortunately, I think that is all part of the whole ‘baby’ thing….it prepares you to be unprepared. Things can always change, but at least the bambino won’t have to bear baby-servitude while you work.

With baby #1, I went back to full time 6 weeks after popping him out, switching off with daddy. We also had a set of grandparents as back-up. It sucked so bad, and lord knows pumping at work on lunch break is not how I had pictured the whole thing going down. BUT….we never had to pay for daycare, or the subsequent illnesses and weirdness that comes with that. He had a stable home life, always with a family member, and lots of love.

Baby #2 gets to come to work with me, while Dad still stays at home with #1….

Yes, it kills me that I’m not at home, dealing with my life and snuggling my babies. It kills me that I am fully responsible for supporting my family, and dealing with heaps of work-stress on top of baby-stress. It kills me that I can’t seem to put my brain together long enough to stop forgetting shit, or make dinner, or do laundry…And I know it kills the Hubs to have to be a stay-at-home dad…but we all do what we need to do. We put our big girl pants on and trudge along until we reach the end of the rainbow.

I hope (for both of us) that things work out, and you get to have your moment in the sun…enjoying being a mom, and urban farmer, and bloggess. Take your leave and squeeze every possible moment out of it…snuggle that baby like you have never snuggled before. Wear your jammies all day, every day. Eat whatever the hell you want, and chase it with some wine. (Seriously, it’s okay!) And when you go back to corporate servitude, just remember that the little person at home doesn’t care how long you are gone, it’s when you are around that is most important!! Love you, and it will all be okay!

Kath1213
Reply

I’m so sorry. Was totally rooting for you to make the break once and for all. It’ll come, tho. Maybe not now, maybe not 2 years from now, but it will come eventually.

Hang in there.

xo

Cassi
Reply

I’m sorry. I know you will work through this and figure everything out,

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