Remember Snow White and her little friends, the Dwarfs, who sang all happy-ish while they marched off to work? I can't remember what job they had -- some sort of manual labor -- but I always wondered how they could be so happy about their jobs.
This past week I Hi-Ho'd myself back to work after 8 weeks of maternity leave. I can't say that I whistled a happy tune or sang on my commute to the office. Instead, I just cried and yawned a lot thanks to being hormonal and not getting any sleep. That is, until I got to the office, and then I put on my happy face and my serious let's-get-to-work facade and jumped back in the game.
My boss is glad that things are back to normal. He's glad that everything is the same as it used to be before I left. He sees the same girl who has been working for him for years. I am parking in the same spot, sitting at the same desk, wearing the same pre-maternity suits that I did before. I run the same meetings and have the same goals.
But I am not the same girl.
I'm a mother of 2 now.
I've welcomed a second girl into our family.
I've had 8 weeks off from work to readjust my priorities and remember that the most important things in life are the man I sleep next to at night, the baby I feed in the middle of the night, and the sweet girl who for the past 8 weeks has gotten off the bus at 3:14 and run home to tell me about her day.
Don't get me wrong -- I love my job. I love the work I do and the people I meet every day. It is a privilege for me to get to help someone find a new job and share that excitement with them. It is fulfilling for me, and I love the company where I work.
But in the past, it's been my focus. Sometimes I've gotten so excited about success at work that I've lost sight of what's waiting at home. Sometimes my priorities have gotten a little out of line, and I've put my job before my family.
It's amazing what an 8 week step back will do to remind you of what's important. It's amazing what 6 pounds 8 ounces of baby can do to turn your life upside down. It's amazing how a family of 4 sitting around the dinner table makes me rush home at the end of the day.
I know it will get easier to get back into work. The goodbyes in the morning won't be quite as hard. But nothing will ever be the same.
And that's a good thing. Enough to even make me whistle a little bit.