After two years, today saw me return to the world of gainful corporate employment.
Last night, the prospect was paralysing. After all, the world at large hadn't been put on hold these past years, even if mine had. Would I remember how to do my job? Would that even matter, given the significant changes in the industry while I've been away? And why was I worrying about any of that, when I knew the whole of my first day would be spent re-attaining my door key and remembering where the toilets are and arguing with IT about when, precisely, they'd have my logins sorted out? (For the record, not quite yet.)
There was also the guilt. Worries that I'm abandoning Squawk (or rather that she'll feel I am); that I'll be too distracted and preoccupied by mothering to do my job justice and too overworked and time-poor to do my family justice. The bittersweet realisation that I have been with this child, night and day, since before she took her first breath, and now I must miss whole days of her life. And the fears, great and growling and relentless, about my ever-shrinking time for writing. Squawk already takes up my everything, and if I have to squeeze the corporate world into the spaces left behind…
But today, there were whole swathes of the day where, not only was there no one staring at me and mimicking my every movement and facial expression, there were people not even looking in my general direction. And when I saw some of my upcoming work, and realised I would get to spend uninterrupted hours not having to change nappies or argue with my tiny overlord of a daughter about whether and how much she and/or I should or could be eating right now…It's a heady thing, people.
And when I turned up to fetch Squawk home, I found her standing in the centre of a circle of rapt toddlers, singing Baa Baa Black Sheep at them. Yeah, she's gonna do just fine.