The countdown has begun. Not to the end of the current administration, although personally my own happiness meter will be off the chart when that day arrives. The countdown I'm referring to is my own personal one - in less than 72 hours, give or take a few, I will be a gainfully employed contract employee. The wait is over, the looking is done (for now, or until August, whichever comes first) and now it is time to answer the most important question to ask before starting a new job. What am I going to wear?
Seriously, the countdown is one that takes me toward my career and away from my family. It is so strange, being a child of the 70's and growing up to believe that women could and should do anything, be President of the United States, for example. And here we are in 2008 and for goodness sake, a woman is one of two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. But, and I do mean, but, I feel like I am living in a pre-1970's world where most of the women I know are SAHMs, running along the "mommy track." Most of them have advanced degrees and years in the employment arena, but have made the choice to stay at home and spend these years being a mother. I've been home most of my kids' lives, but always working from home. Working relentlessly from home. In fact, the times I have been fully employed elsewhere have almost qualified as a vacation because when I come home I get to be a mom and attend to the household, instead of trying to fit in work, homelife and mothering in that way too short a time zone known as a day.
Yesterday I caught some of Teri Gross' interview with Meg Wolitzer about her new novel, "The Ten Year Nap," that presents a fictional depiction of women with advanced degrees who choose to stay home with their kids, only to question the decision 10 years later.
As someone who waited to have kids until my 40s, if I waited 10 years to get back on track, I don't want to even think about just how far out of the job market I would be. I already find myself waking up in the middle of the night with too much anxiety about how young my kids are, how old I am, how many productive working years I have left, retirement funds, college funds -
Before I spin off into another anxiety attack, I'd love to hear from those either following or leaving the 'mommy track' - do you experience regret, relief, remorse, redemption? All of the above?
And what did you wear on your first day back to work???