It occurred to me last week, as I was talking and apologizing to the Hubbs after our fight, that I am in fact learning how to do two new jobs. Not just the new part time job, the one I've taken after being six years out of the work force and almost ten years out of retail. I'm also learning how to do the new job of Part Time Working Mom. Two new jobs instead of the one.
I was totally prepared to feel behind the curb at my new job. Having to learn a new system, a new data base, new product, new sales material. That I expected, that I anticipated. I knew that I'd have a few days where all I would do was ask question after question. I knew that I'd have to admit to other associates and customer alike that I didn't know about this or that. I knew that I'd have to take notes, leave notes, and weather mistakes. I knew that and accepted it.
I was totally unprepared to feel behind the curb at home. I've been sitting pretty comfortably for the last three years. Once Mac turned one, and once we got a foot hold on school and after school activities, I felt like the bumps in the road were minor. I felt like if I forgot to do something, pay for something, forgot to buy something, I could just do it tomorrow, or the next day. I could stop by after school drop off or pick up. I could just let it slide. Now, that's really not possible. Now if I forget to pack a snack for recess, someone doesn't get a snack. If I forget to send money for snack shack, I have to call someone to drop some money at the school. If I forget to buy toilet paper or paper towels, or turkey for sandwiches, there is no time to stop and buy them before they are needed. There is no dropping in before work or after work, because I'm usually running behind schedule.
I feel like I'm leaving note after note, writing to do list after to do list, setting alarm after alarm on my phone. I feel like one hiccup in our schedule will derail the entire train. I feel like I'm the only person in this house that actually gives a shit about me getting to work on time.
I feel really alone in this.
I knew that returning to work, even part time was going to be a struggle. I've been working a seasonal job that required little commitment, I was able to leave that job at the job. This job is different. This job requires more of my brain and more of me. I knew that too. I knew that I was making more of a commitment this time. And I welcomed that, I've embraced it. When I'm at work, I'm focused, when I walk in the door all the real life mama drama gets checked. And then as I'm leaving, all the to-do lists and notes and alarms start going off.
I feel like I'm starting over a little. Like I have to re-learn the ropes of motherhood, this time from a different perspective. This time I have to relearn how to be a mom that works. That doesn't have an infinite amount of tomorrows to pick up the forgotten boxes of Capri Sun, crayons, poster board for the school project. Now every single minute counts. Less time to wait, less time to squander. I have to relearn how to prioritize the things that matter, let go of the things that don't. I can do anything, but I can't do everything. I read that on Pinterest. I need it on a shirt, but it will most likely be written on one of my many post it notes reminding me of what I need to do tomorrow, and next week.
It's been six years since I've had to keep a calendar, writing my shifts in blue ink. It's been six years since I've worn mascara more than two days in a row. It's been six years since I've had to wear earrings and a watch, pants that button and zip. It's been six years since I've felt this inept as a mother.
The good thing about having six years of motherhood under my belt is that I know it gets better. I know that I can do it. I know that it's hard right now, it's awkward, and challenging. I know that there will be hard days, harder days, and then one day it will feel normal. A new normal. I know that I can let go of things, walk away from them, and know that I'm not quitting, I'm choosing. I'm choosing how I want to live and how I want to be. I'm so lucky that after six years in this mothering life, I know that the next mothering life, as a part time working mom, will yield results just as sweet.
I just have to learn the ropes of a new normal. Whatever normal means.