Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Taking On a New Role....

I wasn't sure if I wanted to express the thoughts and feelings that have been swirling like a tempest within me lately. But I changed my mind when I realized it may serve some usefulness in the event that my readers wonder about the sudden lull in blog entries that only seems imminent at this point in time. 

To cut a long story short, my 21-month stint as a stay-at-home-mom came to an end last month as I re-joined the workforce. I have been working full-time as a Research Associate in the field of biomedical science (just as I was before I became a mom), but only in a different institute.

First things first - I tend to sit on the sidelines of the ugly mommy wars. What works for one woman might not work for another. There is no right or wrong in this struggle for 'supremacy' and I am inclined to think that every mother has her child's best interests at heart. Personally speaking, I've always known that a break from work would be a temporary thing. Being at home long-term is not a viable option because it'll never be enough for me. I cannot completely abandon that side of me that has studied/worked so hard all my life. I crave the sense of self-worth I get from working, the security of financial independence, the challenge of solving work-related problems and the stimulation of professional interaction. But when motherhood came calling, I made up my mind that come what may, I wouldn't consider getting back to work before my twins were 18 months old. I needed time to bond with my them one-on-one and build a strong foundation of love and trust. Yes, I did worry if time away from work would undermine my career but I put aside my fears and set my priorities in order. In hindsight, I'm so glad I did what felt was right to me. I can sense the impact my constant presence has had on my girls so far in terms of behavioural, emotional and intellectual growth. That was the driving force that kept the urge of my returning to work at bay and made my time at home so worthwhile.  

The past few months have seen a whirlwind of activity. After my little ones turned 18 months old, I knew my self-imposed deadline was up and I had to start scouting for employment opportunities. I had turned a bit rusty by then and went about it at snail's pace, not really convinced that I would land a job immediately. But as fate would have it, I received a job offer right after my first interview (so much for all my worries!). It was unexpected, exciting and a little daunting at the same time. There were so many things that needed to be sorted before I started work but by god's grace, everything fell into place in quick succession. We hired an experienced full-time domestic helper, registered the kids in a nearby playgroup and made arrangements for my in-laws to stay with us for a month during the time I commenced work in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Subsequently, I felt much more at ease and just three months short of my children's 2nd birthday, geared up to take on my dual responsibility.

I've thought long and hard about my decision to return to work. I felt the timing was right and it was the smart decision for my family's future. However, I realized that going back to work would trigger an avalanche of conflicting emotions. When I was at home with the kids, work felt like a distant dream and yet, during moments of sheer exhaustion, I would be eager to get back to my old life. And now, when I have become a so-called 'working mom' (I hate that term by the way), I do yearn for the quality time I used to spend with them at home. Sure I don't miss changing poopy diapers (after changing what feels like a billion!) but I do miss everything else. Why is it that we mothers can never escape the guilt? 

Although far from impossible, I feel like it is quite challenging to strike a work-family balance. I probably have to give myself a little more time to fully embrace the turn of events. I am enjoying my work environment - the people are nice, the project is interesting, the hours manageable and the commute convenient. But there are the occasional instances when my mind wanders off to my kids and I struggle to provide the task at hand my undivided attention. But thanks to the ingenuity of modern technology, whenever I miss the little critters, all I have to do is snap on my phone and check out what they are up to through live CCTV monitoring. Although it pains me that I'm not physically present with them, I do feel comforted to see their sisterly bond growing stronger and the two blossoming into independent little people. I am willingly going to accept that I am no longer who I used to be but now I have a new, more multifaceted personality. The hope is that in time, it will boost my self-esteem to an unprecedented high and in turn make me a good role model for my daughters. 

I'm finishing up this piece, my fingers furiously doing a tap dance on my phone in the car as my husband is driving me home from work (bless him) so my apologies for the perfunctory writing. I'm too preoccupied making the mental switch from 'work' mode to 'mom' mode! We'll be home in a few minutes so I need to wrap up my thoughts quickly. I'll be making a beeline for the door knowing that my girls will be in the process of catching a breath after frolicking with the other children in the playground. When they catch sight of me, their sweet little faces will break into the widest of smiles and they'll come rushing over squealing with delight, showering me with hugs and kisses. Everything said and done, at the end of the day, knowing that they are happy, safe and cared for and they, in turn love me no matter what makes things so much easier! 

So, it is quite obvious why my blog will take a backseat from now onwards, right? Blogging is indeed my passion and I will try to keep at it but it looks like it will be a huge task to maintain the consistent one post per week schedule that was the norm all these years. I do have a few draft posts that should take care of the next few weeks but that is about all the backup I have. I'm hardly a proponent of erratic blogging but right now, knowing my limitations, I'm not in a position to promise otherwise. Let's just see how it goes shall we?

I hope that you will still continue to visit my virtual home and push me to express myself creatively and share tidbits of my life on this platform.

Here's to making it work!


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