When I left my full time job after my first daughter was born, I don’t think I was fully functioning. Call it post partum. Call it temporary insanity. I don’t know what you would call it. All I know is that within days after my departure, I felt a hole in my gut and I knew I had made the wrong decision. I had looked to stay-at-home moms with a tinge of jealousy before leaving the work-force and I really wanted to be home with my daughter. Then I got pregnant and had two babies at home, and I knew it was wrong. For me, anyway (please don’t read this as a criticism of anyone who chooses or chose to stay home – it is not for everyone).
Once they were both breastfed and capable of sitting up, I realized I needed to get out of the house and into a setting where I could communicate with adults and share my skills and knowledge that I’d built up over the course of my career. I re-entered quickly as a consultant into an office three days a week and have managed to keep up steady work over the years, working from home and company offices. The last time I went into an office was precisely 8 or 9 months. I’ve been working from home most of this year, with amazing clients and interesting work, no question.
But I’ve had a gnawing itch to return to an office and I managed to get myself back into one. The walls in my house were starting to close in on me, and I was anxious to return to the land of the living. I just returned to a job in the city (as in NYC) two weeks ago. Here’s what is so cool about it:
1. The mornings are easier. It may sound crazy but with me jumping out of bed at 6 or 6:30am to start my day, so are the kids, and we’re all in better moods and more focused on what we all have to do to get out of the house for the day. There’s a synchronicity that we didn’t have before. When I first went back to work when they were very young, it wasn’t nearly this easy. They can dress themselves, help with meal preparation, pack their own backpacks. What a difference.
2. No more sitting around in my sweats. I used to work in my gym clothes, only sometimes I didn’t even make it to the gym because working from home gave me less time than I now get in an office. There would be interruptions – whether they be phone calls, clothes to put in the dryer or most importantly and most often, deadlines that I had to work around school pick up time. Now I get dressed in clothes (there’s a no jeans policy in my office, I suspect) other than my sweats, and it feels really good.
3. Water cooler conversations. I missed the office chatter. I can’t wait to go to the office to talk about the Emmy’s. Now I don’t have to do it only on Twitter. And I now love meetings. I love having to prepare for them, I love sitting in a room full of like-minded colleagues. It’s a newly discovered pang that had to be satiated.
4. I’m back in the city, baby. Yes, I missed the commute. I missed having to get on a train. I missed going back and forth. All the things people crave giving up, I wanted. I love being back in NYC. I work across the street from Bryant Park, two blocks from Times Square and it’s wonderful. Too all of you who complain about commuting, stay home for a while with kids 10 and under. You’ll want to go back. Oh, and I get to meet my working friends for lunch, many of whom work in the area which is so wonderful I can’t even describe it.
5. I no longer sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, I am thrilled to be home. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated being home with my kids before, but the days were often long and I surrendered to a lack of patience often. Now, after being gone all day, and replacing some of my domestic obligations with stimulation, I have my sole attention placed on my family.
There are plenty more reasons why I’m glad to be back. This is just the beginning.