She’s almost 18 weeks old.  Today she gets her 4-month shots.  Today I turn 33.  Saturday was my 10-year anniversary of full-time employment at the station.  It’s an over-said saying, “time flies”, but it’s an absolutely true statement as I seriously don’t know where the time has gone.

It felt like I had just gotten a handle on learning how to be mommy to my baby girl when all of a sudden it was time for me to go back to work.  BAM!  The patterns and adjustments I had made for myself, for the baby, for the family were hit head-on, and while they didn’t fall completely apart, they teetered and needed repair.

I, however, fell apart.  Going back to work was significantly more difficult than I ever imagined it would be.  My world had for the first time ever revolved only around my husband, stepsons and baby.  I wasn’t balancing family with work or with my volunteer activities.  It was amazing. 

Leaving this, and leaving my baby with our nanny (whom we love and trust) was excruciating.  I was prepared for about half of what I felt.  The reasons for my turmoil were expected and surprising.

Our reality is just like many, many families both I and my husband have to work to pay the bills.  This has never bothered me before for two reasons.  One, while I wish we had made smarter decisions, only we are responsible for our finances.  We made the financial situation we’re in and we’re working to better our situation and to show financial responsibility to our kids.  Two, and more important than finances, is that I love being a journalist. 

I was that kid who actually grew up to be what I said I would be.  I knew in 8th grade that I would be a journalist.  I did everything I could from that point on to end up working in the media.  I am fortunate that my desire became a reality.
My career has had ups and downs.  There have been days I asked myself what crack I had smoked all those years to want to be a journalist.  That feeling always passed and my obsession with the news, and joy of working in the news, took hold.

I realized how much I truly wanted my career after my husband was laid off from the same station where I still work.  I can’t put into words what it was like for me to go back to work after that.  My days were filled with pain, anger, worry and more.  I openly searched for a job outside of news.  I got interviews.  I was a final candidate for positions.  Through it all I realized I didn’t want to leave news.  This was not easy for me to accept; it was even harder for my husband, who showed tremendous love for me by accepting and supporting my decision.

Since I survived that, I could survive going back to work after having a baby… right?  I was convinced I could.  I knew it would be hard.  I knew it would be another huge adjustment for me and for my family.

The day I returned to work felt almost exactly like the day I returned to work after my husband was laid off.  I was expecting my emotions to be of guilt and even despair.  While I felt those churning in my stomach, I found myself angry and in pain.  I wasn’t completely surprised by this.  I just told myself over and over that it would get better.

I returned to work the day before Thanksgiving.  It’s been weeks and it’s not better.  I find myself literally forgetting that I have to work the next day.  When I realize I have to work a wave of depression and anxiety washes over me.   Tears spring up without me even realizing I’m crying.

I’m writing this because I have to admit to myself the reasons for this emotional tar pit in which I am stuck.  I find myself ashamed to admit the truth and I am angry at myself.  While I work through the expected feelings of guilt and anxiety for leaving my baby to go back to work, I find myself hitting a wall at dealing with my feelings of disappointment, frustration and anger with my job.

In the months leading to the birth of my daughter my career seemed set on a path that I hoped would lead to journalistic advancements and collaborations for the station.  In the days leading to the birth of my daughter the path crumbled as I was told a plan that had been set could no longer be. 

I kept my head high, brushed off the news and said I wasn’t surprised this had happened.  I went back to work and counted down the minutes until I could leave.  I cried all the way home.  It seemed all my efforts and energies over the last two years working to make advancements by incorporating social technologies in journalism were thrown out the window like a piece of trash.  Yet, there was nothing I could do so I put all my focus and energy into having my baby and learning to be mommy.

While on maternity leave I spoke at a few events and found myself at a loss at what I could say, at what title I could even give myself.  I was shocked to hear myself for the first time say “my job” instead of “my career.”

My complete thinking of what I do at work changed.  While I work I feel empty instead of satisfaction.  The emptiness is filled with all the emotions I wrote of earlier.  It was one thing to leave my daughter and to return to work for something for which I was passionate.  It’s a completely different situation to return to work to feel nothing.
I question and lecture myself all the time now.  “What kind of mother am I?”  “How dare I feel this way when so many don’t have jobs?”  “What kind of example am I setting for my stepsons?”  “What kind of role model do I want to be for my daughter?”

I am a rational emotional person, which means I accept my feelings for what they are and then decide how I will behave.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my irrational moments (as my husband can testify to) but I try always to admit when I'm irrational and then decide how best to handle my emotions.  I usually work through my emotions until I’m at a place where I can make choices to make progressive steps forward in life. 

So while I still have my emotions wrapping me like a blanket I’m caught in, I have already made certain decisions. 

  1. I am thankful to have a job where I earn money and benefits which helps support, feed and house my family.
  2. I will do my best to fulfill the duties and responsibilities given to and expected of me in this position. (In fact I push myself even harder to make sure I’m doing all I can to fulfill my job responsibilities to make sure my feelings don’t get in the way and cause me to mess up.)
  3. I am not stuck. My future is not set and someday I hope to happily say career again instead of job.
  4. I have faith and trust that all that has happened is best for me and my family.