Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Identity Crisis Part One

When I was little, my dad told me that on the night I was born he saw the northern lights write a J in the sky. What a sweet Dad. My mom claims I was a content or possibly lazy baby, just happy to be propped up with pillows or to coo at my mobile.

I had the typical small town upbringing. I went to school and met friends and learned all the appropriate things that children do. More than once I got "daydreams in class" written on my report card. I was more creative than athletic. I never wanted to play outside. I was much happier reading, dancing, colouring and writing poems. My little brother spent endless hours bemused at the reaction he got from bugging me. As a teenager, I was an overachiever. I had to be involved with almost every possible extracurricular activity known to mankind plus I had a part time job.

I was an adventurous young adult leaving my family back in the Prairies and heading to the Big City with career ambitions. I managed to land the job. Six months later I met the boy of my dreams. Well maybe not dreams as that guy usually looked more like Gavin Rossdale or David Conrad (Ghost Whisperer). I found myself infatuated with this tall, blondish guy who had huge commitment issues. After six months of dating I realized I was in love. It took him eight years before he popped the question.

During that time, my career had progressed. I paid my dues and got two promotions. I was dedicated and passionate. I had always wanted this career, considered myself lucky but yet I new that being married with children was always part of the equation for me. I had no idea that 95% of people don't believe that it is possible. That I'm supposed to make a choice.

We got married and the honeymoon phase (if you call it that for a couple that had been together for nine and half years) brought about Strawberry. She's amazing. I was overjoyed. I laughed at all the silly, wonderful things that babies do.

In Canada, you get a year to bond with your new addition. I let my work know that I'd be willing to come back early if they needed me. I went in for meetings and attended some special functions. While Strawberry was getting used to daycare I went in to the office to review email. The next day, I energetically returned to the workforce. My boss met me at the door with HR and they proceeded to lay me off. I was crushed. After being there for twelve years, I was entitled to a good package but where did that leave me? I entertained the idea of an entirely new career. I took some baby steps in that direction. A month later, a job offer for my skilled profession found me working again. It was easy to keep doing what I'm good at and I've always loved what I do.

We wanted Strawberry to have a close relationship with a sibling so 26 months after she was born came Buttercup, another amazing baby girl! We are truly lucky. Buttercup is almost eight months old. I am on mat leave but this time I've been making regular visits to the office.

They say that your life does a 180 when children appear. Hmmm.. or do they say 360? Who should I ask? "They" the almighty knowing people who have come before us. Likely it is 360 for the mom and 180 for the dad. Do they know how to not lose yourself when the workplace doesn't want working moms and you have spent most of your life working hard to get where you are? In this day and age is it possible to have it all?

1 Singing the blues:

Beanie Baby said...

A good friend of mine was laid off when she became pregnant. Illegal, but they did it. So sad.

But I'm glad you landed on your feet and found something new and fabulous.