Careers are complicated things. We put time and tireless energy into them. We build them through performance and relationships and results. We are proud of what we’ve created.
It’s hard for me to properly explain my career situation. It has hinged on events now a decade old, been seasoned with pivotal conversations with a mentor – it is uniquely my path and so complicated I know it could never be replicated.
When Dave and I married, he was going to be “the stay at home dad.” We talked about it all the time. But that was five years ago when we started to talk about a life together, and oh how things change with time. I will likely get into the landscape that is my career at some point, but sufficive to say we have had endless conversations on the topic and now is not the right time for either one of us to stop working.
The challenge with that is that we now have Vivianne. Sweet Vivianne.
Dave needs to take an overseas trip for three weeks. It will be the third one since Vivianne was born. During the first two trips, I was still on maternity leave, so everything was fine. Now I’m not. In fact, due to some scope changes on my project, I need to go overseas as well for two weeks. Of course my trip overlaps perfectly with Dave’s trip. Not to mention I’m now on the road Monday – Thursday most weeks when I am in the country. It is tough.
I miss Vivianne terribly every week. I miss her. But I constantly remind myself:
- My feelings are selfish. Vivianne’s need right now is to feel loved and have a sense of stability and safeness. That’s it. In fact, I would argue that she is better off building relationships with my mom, her aunts, her cousins, and Dave. She will have a network of deep meaningful relationships – and that is great.
- This is the easy part. More than one co-worker has explained that it gets worse. When the toddler starts to understand his/her parents are not around as much as his/her friend’s parents are around. When the little person’s values are being shaped, heavily influenced by someone that is not you. I am sacrificing now in hopes to be in a more manageable situation later. That rarely happens…
- She is loved. She is thriving. She is fine without me.
This week we hired our niece to nanny for three weeks while Dave and I both travel for work (thank G-d these work trips waited until summer time to overlap). I had my mom rip of the bandaid and give formula to Vivianne this weekend while we were out of town playing with some friends. Although I am lucky enough to have enough breastmilk when I travel for the week, I will not be able to keep up / ship back on my overseas trip. And we push forward. My work life will continue to be nutty until around July 4th week, where it will still be nutty, but I will choose to ignore it completely. And in that week, you will need to peel sweet Vivianne from mama’s arms.