August 31, 2010

Beginning of a new adventure

Almost a year to the day after Malo was born, we are about to embark on a new adventure.

No, I am not talking about Malo's little brother (who in any case will be a girl if Martin has it his way). If anything, our new adventure will delay the brother/sister for a while, since I am about to start a new job.

Fast rewind 32 months back. We had just moved to France, leaving London for a life in the Alps, full of running, climbing, cycling and other fun "ing" things (including, for Martin, learning French, although at the time I am not sure he found it that fun). I had ditched my banker's job and decided to give me a few months to try and find the holy graal: a job as interesting as the old one, but not involving my working nights and weekends, and leaving me with enough free time to make the most of the mountains around. Nine months later, I had the perfect offer. Promptly  (and probably no so legally) withdrawn when it became clear the crisis was here, and here to stay. Add two months to that, and I was pregnant with Malo, and under no illusions I would find a job "in my condition". 

As much as I had been saying, "before", that I so could not see myself as a staying at home mum, that I needed the intellectual stimulation that work brings, that there was no way I could spend all day with a baby or toddler and stay sane, etc, etc, etc... it became obvious this was all nonsense the minute I got to held Petite Boule in my arms. And that was not even because of novelty or because I had yet to experience the sleepless nights.  On the contrary, the strength of that feeling actually grew in perfect correlation with that the size and weight of my son.

Then reality kicked in: I needed to work. Not so much for the intellectual stimulation (which I got from my daily and long conversation monologues with Petite Boule), not so much for the social interaction (thank God for the crisis and the French welfare system: there were plenty of friends around with new-borns and on extended maternity leave). But for the money, oh, yes. It is, I guess, one of the drawbacks of living in a cool place with a lake, some mountains, and 40 kms away from Switzerland (where salaries are three times as high as here): life is here is a bloody expensive bliss. 

I won't go through the ordeal it was to leave Malo in day care once a week to free up time to look for a job: that would take a whole day of describing, and my posts are long enough as they are.  Let 's just say that, while I did not feel guilty for leaving him with a baby-sitter once in a while on a Saturday morning to go running or cycling with Martin (the way I see it, I come back relax and happy, so that's good for him, too), leaving him in the middle of 15 other crying babies was another story, because I am a mother hen, and because I knew that, sooner or later, he would have to be there five days a week, 47 weeks a year. 

Now the time has come. I have found a job, starting in... nine hours.

It took longer than expected (but what exactly did I expect, with only 8 hours a week where work related calls could not be interrupted by a baby requiring food, clean nappies, or simply a cuddle from his mum), which generated quite some stress, but which I am also very grateful for, since it means I got to spend a full year home with Malo. Him getting bigger and clearly enjoying the contact with other kids has not eased my feeling a tremendous guilt at knowing he will spend 50 hours a week in day care, and my missing in anticipation all these fantastic moments with him, his daily progess which will be witnessed by somebody else, his outburst of love. In a nutshell, the life with a one-year old lovely little devil.

Sure, it may actually be easier when I am in the job, busy getting up to speed, discovering a new working environment, meeting new colleagues. Sure, I think I chose the right option: a job not very well paid, for which I am over-qualified, but which seems interesting. I will be managing internal organisation projects, which surely has to be the perfect job for an anal-retentive such as myself. It also has the distinct advantage of being located 15 minutes from home and day-care, and comes with 10 weeks vacation (which, even for France, is a pretty good deal!).

There should also be numerous advantages to being back at work, aside from getting a monthly pay slip, or or so am I at least trying to convince myself.

- As Petite Boule is close to turning from a crawling ball to a walking one, and already using anything he finds on his way to stand up, I am glad I won't be the one witnessing his falls and bruises live, because this currently breaks my heart everytime it happens.

- After 10 hours away, his mum should be more than ever the star of his life, right? (if not right, please do not tell me, I need all the comfort I can get, and will shamelessly resort to lies if that does the job).

- Now that I have a good reason not to be able to do clean up the flat (apparently "I do not enjoy it and do not consider it a good use of my time" did not seem to qualify), we'll at last probably get a cleaning person (other that Malo, who is usually doing the job by crawling on the floor with a freshly washed white shirt).

- I may not have any longer to spend an entire evening, as it recently happened, having to try and convince the guys present that it is not because I am "not working" that I don't have a brain and have read the manual on how to use it (and by the way, regarding the "not working" bit: for what it is worth, I happen to find it much strenous, if pleasant, work looking after a baby full time than going to work five days a week).

- Although, as I said, I am not missing too much yet the intellectual stimulation provided by work, it could be that, in the longer term, my brain would have started to slowly die off, limited to reading about Babar and Elmer and speaking in 4-word-at-the-most sentences.

- My osteopath bills should significantly reduce, now that I won't have to carry Malo several hours a day, lift him from his bed three times daily, and spend what would have been a growing amount of time bent in two because he has decided it is cooler to walk rather than crawl through the flat, but need his mum's supporting hands to do so (and even if I am a bit of a dwarf, I am still more - although not that much more -  than twice his height, meaning that's a lof of bending over).

- Now that my work-outs will have to take place during lunchbreak instead of with Malo in his Chariot, I should be able to fit speed work, intervals and what-have-you in (not that I like them so much, but again, I need to find ways to get excited).

- Working barely a 10 minute run from my usual mountain trails means I may even be able to squeeze a short mountain run from time to time (now, I am getting close to not even having to pretend getting excited).

Of course, these advantages identified and acknowledged, a lot of questions still remain to be answered, which no doubt will have a great influence of whether I will like this job or not.

Starting with a pretty fundamental one: will there be showers at work?


cherelli said...

Congrats on the new interesting job...another "new phase" of life to adjust guilt sounds so tough to overcome (or maybe "tolerate"/ "counter-balance" are better words). Sounds like you'll be just fine though - good luck!

PiccolaPineCone said...

Just read all your posts from 2008. They were hilarious and very true to life. I can totally identify with what you were going through back then. I have to make my way through early 2009 and then I'll be all caught up :)