It's week two of my new (old) job, editing a fairly unglamorous monthly publication, which I have returned to after two months overseas and one year working elsewhere.
Despite being absolutely exhausted; despite working from approx 9am until 1am every day for a week (with parenting breaks in between); despite the fact that adapting to a new publication design has meant lots of fiddling and readjusting and completely replacing every single image in the document after finishing them all; despite the fact that a change to the scheduling is resulting in a part of the publication being finished the weekend before we go to print (Monday!), at a time when I should be home with my son but instead will be bringing him to work - despite ALL these frustrations, I am really really pleased to be back.
Deeply pleased, in a way that convinces me, in my heart of hearts, that I have done the right thing.
In my previous job, despite the fact that they tried to be flexible, it was a full-time, 9-5 (okay, 8-4) office job, and I was the member of a tiny team charged with holding the office fort. There's only so flexible an employer can be within those constraints.
Even though - strictly career-wise - that previous job was a leap forward and this one is (comparatively) a step backward, this one is the right thing for me, right now.
I had always wanted my old job. It satisfied what I thought was the place I wanted to be in the world, where I wanted my career to culminate (or nearly - culmination is pretty final). But the day after I accepted it, I sat in bed and cried - really sobbed as if my heart would break. (Giving myself an enormous headache into the bargain.) I felt sick. I felt as if I had betrayed my son. Deep inside, right at my core, I felt as if I had given a part of him away, or decided to neglect him in some meaningful way.
I'm not saying anything about what women should or shouldn't do. It's just how I felt.
This week, I feel good. That deep core of me is at peace. My heart is glad.
I know this sounds very flowery and cliched, but - pah! - I'm too tired to do much more than type what comes to me.
In my new (old) job, I work bloody hard - ridiculously hard - for one week, relatively hard (but not quite full-time) for one week, and barely at all for the other two weeks of the month. I'm in the Bad Week now. But, because I've done this job before, I know how the cycle will settle in.
And apart from all the lovely picking my son up from school AT 3.30PM and taking him to his classroom door in the morning, the being able to bug him to bring home his reader and chat to his teacher about his behaviour, the watching how he interacts with other children and with school staff ... apart from all this, I am also very, very happy to do be doing the actual job again. I love the fact that I know everyone. That people are glad to see me back. That I really like and respect my colleagues. And the work is deeply interesting - to me, anyway.
I am tired and delirious and incredibly overworked today. But I'm also ridiculously happy.