Guilt and a Freelance vs Full-time Mommy?

For the last month I’ve been running to last minute interviews for a really big job that I wasn’t sure I was interested in. I’ve done next day phone interviews, meeting my husband at lunch to have him sit with our baby so I could run to another quick interview, and missing a half-day of a convention because I had to meet individually with a few people over a several hour long interview. It’s a bit odd. I’ve been a stay at home mom (freelancing from home) since our little baby A was born 9 months ago. I had also traded in about 8 months of full time in-office work for freelance at home work before I gave birth because of pregnancy induced fatigue. I feel … a bit off my game as far as my career goes. I’ve been freelancing, but I’ve limited the amount of work I’ve been taking in pretty drastically. Working no more than 25 to 30 hours a week. And I guess all this extra time has left me feeling… a bit deprived of the office life. Is that what I’m craving? Maybe that’s why I’m suddenly seeking a full-time office desk job– when that was exactly the opposite of what I wanted pre-baby. Suddenly my post-baby self is ready to give up freelancing … Perhaps I’m trying to abandon my responsibilities as a new mom? Or simply feeling overwhelmed by the isolation and loneliness (and lack of conversation) that I’ve been limited to…?

It was also really nice to dress up, wear some fancy clothes and shoes and look… nice. Like nicer than date night nice. Like… expensive well-paying job nice. No mom frumpiness was visible when I was dressed up. Someone even made a joke, assuming that I didn’t have kids. It felt nice. I guess I just miss the idea of being my old self. I mean I do go on baby-less date nights with the husband… but that’s only for a few hours… this job thing would be the whole day! I’d get to look nice, feel important (to others besides family), and design without little baby interrupting me every few minutes… I’m not sure why I’m suddenly thinking that I need is MORE time away from my baby… ? I’d be happier with more time… working? Maybe the postpartum mania is taking a hold of me…  This doesn’t sound right.

And here is where my thoughts always end:  Mentally preparing to leave A at home with someone else. I just can’t picture anyone else caring for him better than I can. I respect women who can go full-time and are able to deal with those emotions. I know that sometimes when you HAVE to do something, you do it, no matter how hard it is. Maybe that’s what I’m missing. I don’t HAVE to go to work. I can sit here and go back and fourth on getting a nanny or staying at home all day with him. At the same time being a stay at home mom is not what I originally wanted, and I’m not the best suited to stay with a baby all day. But maybe being his mommy and making an effort to be the best mom I can be is enough. And… perhaps, hiring help on the days when I need to work from home. Sometimes it’s a bit nuts trying to balance the two…!

Art by Laura_the_gal

Discovering What You Love

I logged into Tumblr for the first time in ages, and came across a post from an old friend. I’ve always been a fan of his artwork, but I hadn’t seen any for a few years. I remembered vaguely in college, how amazing he was at storytelling, but mostly in telling stories of a sad nature, and not so much with humor, even though humor was the area he focused on most. The current stories that he now posts are so much more mature than the ones I had remembered. And it seemed he changed his storytelling focus to telling sad stories, the one topic he was best at. When I remember his old work, I remember it as being great, but never something that really seemed completely natural to him. It always looked a bit forced. But these new stories, wow! They are so deep, thought provoking, and feel very genuine. A true testament to how good you can get at what you do by practicing, a little at a time.

Now, I’m finding myself falling into a bit of jealousy reading his stories.  I feel the same way viewing others peoples artwork as well. It’s the work that feels very much a part of the person who created it. Something that could never be mistaken as being created by anyone else. It feels as if it was completed by someone who had mastered their craft. For me, I’ve never been very good with sticking to one thing over long periods of time. Never satisfied, always looking for the latest and greatest. It’s been a bit hard figuring out the difference between loving something, versus doing something because I’m good at it. By truly loving something, you end up sticking to the trials, tribulations, and evolutions of that craft. Whereas, if being good at something is the only reason for you to create, the viewer ultimately can sense that… feeling the emptiness contained within (at least, thats how *I* feel about it!).

I’ve drawn, painted, sculpted, molded, sewn, sanded, and written. I’ve programmed, designed, cooked, and planted. Yet I still feel that I haven’t discovered my niche. I guess I should just remember that not everyone discovers what they really love, even after 30 years, but it feels so painful to see people in their teens create masterpieces that show obvious commitment not in skill, but in love. Or, perhaps I’ve already created these things filled with love, but have overlooked them because I felt I was ready to move on to the next thing? (I’ll have to dig up some old work and discover!).

I think a part of finding the feeling of creating something you love, might also stem from outside perception. Oftentimes, you can’t perceive how much love you put into something you’ve made without input of others. It’s that outside eye that helps you discover that you love something… sometimes…? Or maybe they just ‘knew’ it was the right thing for them?

Maybe this is where I start to invest in a life coach?

Art by Laura_the_gal