Professionalism, I have it.

I’m starting to get ready to go back to work. I’ve been applying for jobs and last week I had 2 phone interviews. While prepping for the first one I experienced a wave of hot white rage washing over me. I had not had time to shower that morning while trying to get everyone successfully out the door. Gabe had not picked up his toys from the morning, there was still half eaten breakfast to be put away that was still sitting on the kitchen table. Kamel had taken his sweet time in the bathroom while I was still in yesterdays nursing tank and was wrangling an obstinate toddler to, “C’mon Gabe, we need to change your diaper. One… Two……….” When Kamel and Gabe finally left for the day I surveyed my mess of a domain and recounted my plan of attack for the first phone interview I’ve had in over a year.

First up, ignore that I was in maternity yoga pants and a dirty nursing tank.

Second, plan to nurse Fae an hour before the interview.

Third, plan to strap her into the lillebaby where she would be guaranteed to fall asleep so that I could…

Fourth, stand in the corner of the room where we get the most reliable* cell service.

But, as I was pacing the floor with a PISSED Fae who was having none of being strapped into the lillebaby, I began to bubble up with frustrated indignation.

How many men are home trying to apply for jobs and stage interviews while juggling childcare? Did Kamel ever have to consider the feeding schedule of his infant as he considered how to ace the first stage of getting a job? I wonder who has to start off an interview with, “oh and I apologize for the baby sounds, I have my infant home with me,” men? or women?

At work I try to not wear my mom hat. I don’t want to be seen as a MOM, I want to be seen as Professional Lauren. Lauren Who Is Competent and Awesome. Talented Lauren. Funny Lauren. And especially in an interview of ALL PLACES I do not want them having in their minds: MOM. I want them to be thinking: Experienced and an Asset to Our Team.

I enjoy my time away from my kids. It makes me a better parent when I am home. It makes me awesome. At work I am not the one blaming lateness on a sick child, or making excuses for my frazzled appearance with the fact that I had to switch shirts three time due to spit up. It may be true, but I don’t talk about that at work. As much as I would appreciate a more family friendly work mentality, the choice to not wear a loud and proud mom hat at work is not out of fear, it’s because I need to have a space where I am not mentally or physically attached to my kids. I need a space where I am viewed as Lauren.

The truth of the matter is: women do most of the child rearing, women are most often the primary care giver. In many, many households it is the woman who takes a career hit to handle sick days and doctor appointments and the inconveniences of parenthood. That’s not even talking about the career hit of actually birthing a tiny human, but that’s like… a monumental post that has no resolution in the foreseeable future. Weee!

I try very hard to maintain equality in my house. I have no interest in being a stay at home mom. I do not want to be the primary care giver. I want a partnership in all house things. I, unfortunately, have to remind Kamel fairly often that he is not “helping me” with the kids or the chores or whatever. I am not Parent 1 and he is backup Parent 2, I am not Home Caretaker 1 and he is back up Home Caretaker 2. We are Parents and we Share a House. Done and done. But things don’t always shake out that way in the real world of my life.

I would like to think that we take turns. And for the most part this is actually very true. Sometimes Kamel is peacing out of work in order to run the kid(s) to the doctor or working from home to deal with a sick one. Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes he has on his housemaid mental uniform and is moving the couch to vacuum and mopping the kitchen floors, sometimes I’m baby wearing and doing 3 loads of laundry.

Currently, though, things are not even. And the argument could be made that it’s because I’m not working. But – fuck that, fuck it so hard I don’t even want to talk to the person who is saying that right now. I had a fucking baby. And at 6 weeks postpartum I started frantically applying for work, while also being the primary caregiver of that baby. While also being the primary food producer of that baby. While also, because somehow it became some annoying default, being the primary house MAID for this goddamn house. Laundry and breakfast dishes and restocking diapers and wipes and picking up toys and shoes and napkins-a-plenty. And this explains my white hot rage while I was transitioning into PROFESSIONAL LAUREN while living in the world of exhausted, sore, and unwashed MOM LAUREN.

And what happened with that phone interview, anyways, you may be asking…

I nursed on time as previously discussed, I lillebaby-ed, but Fae would not stand for that shit. She would not stand for it at all.

So 10 minutes until interview time, with a crying baby, I took her out and held her with one armed and bounced and she quieted. But how sustainable is holding a baby with one arm? Until said arm falls off? Not so very sustainable.

Fae refused to fall asleep.

I apologized initially for any baby sqwacks, explaining I was home with an infant.

Within 15 minutes I was completely covered in sweat, spit up had splashed on my leg, but I had no time and not enough hands to remedy it. Fae started to fuss again. I tried to switch arms, but that just pissed her off even more. While trying to stay as composed as possible on the phone, I managed to put my interview on HOLD for a second while I shoved a boob into Fae’s mouth so she would STFU.

Overall the interview was a total cluster fuck.

Total emergency nursing moments: 2

Total dropped calls: 1

Total spit ups: 4

Total time of interview: ONE HOUR.

Total moments of sleeping baby during the interview: 0

Total beers consumed post interview: 758475. No, really: 1

Total jobs torpedoed: probably 1.

Towards the end of the interview the lady actually asked me: So…. is that….. YOUR baby? YES, YES IT IS.

Did she think that I would decide to babysit while also trying to convince people to hire me for work??

Professionalism, I have it. Allegedly.

 

*Still not super reliable.

10 thoughts on “Professionalism, I have it.”

  1. Oh, that sucks. That sucks so badly. I just want to hug your spit-up covered, unwashed self and tell you that Professional Lauren will return. I’m not sure about the 50/50 parenting/housekeeping, but that’s a battle I think I’m losing, too. I think at one point you mentioned that Kamel reads what you post before you post it–how did he react to this one? Does he see the lopsidedness? I truly think that my husband can’t see it at times. I don’t know how to remedy it.

    1. It’s partially because he was just like “oh, Lauren’s home, she’ll handle it.” and partially because of his crazy work life that has been plaguing us since May. But I’ve had a few conversations off line about the state of affairs and so there have been renewed efforts!

      Also I think it will go back to even once I am at work because there is no person to let things fall to. We will both be scrambling just to survive the week.

  2. Last week I was two weeks postpartum and I had a wave of resentment wash over me as Bob headed back to work and I stayed home. My life had changed 1000% and I felt like his life had only changed 60%. I was with the baby all day and then because I am the sole food source right now I am with the baby all day. For that reason even when Bob was home he was quick to let me have the baby because he was nervous and “I knew what to do”.

    That has already started to change because we are supposed to be 50/50 and so I nipped it in the bud as soon as I could.

    I love my child. I have loved our time together. I cannot wait to go back to work.

  3. Sorry you were having a rough moment- new people in the family, especially new babies, take so much adjustment. I find posts like this hard because as a pragmatist I think that 50/50 is a full picture goal. Which makes it much harder to define, harder to see imbalances and harder to feel like you’re not being stepped on.

  4. I think the 50/50 split is so hard and we don’t even have children. Sometimes I feel like fighting for the 50/50 split because I’ll be damned if I pick up those boxers / shirt / etc. and sometimes I feel like I’ve spent more energy seething at the boxers or “counting” what we each have been doing and it would be easier if I just did it. And then I feel like I’ve let all of womanhood down….. And then I talk to my husband and he picks it up and maybe sometimes points out that the couch is littered with my shit but he hasn’t said anything for a week and I feel shitty AGAIN

    1. Oh, same, same, same, Ana. Sometimes the fight and sometimes the seething and sometimes the guilts because I’m as much of a mess in other areas.

      Sick preschooler this week has thwarted all our important plans – work meetings for Lovely Husband and new school placement for me (and two assignments due, and two jobs to manage online, and MIL inviting herself to stay). I had scraped together enough leave days and days in lieu to balance everything – and then sickness. Lovely Husband took the hit yesterday so I could do day 1 of placement, but today it’s my turn. And I so wish I could be work/study me today.

  5. Since you know Jesse Tavizon I was going to volunteer to stay with Fae while you interviewed but then saw the fateful word . . . Seattle . . . I’m in San Francisco . . . Sorry. Jesse would have given good references, I’m his mom and pretty much went through the same routine!

  6. What a difficult situation. I’m on mat leave with number two too and interviewed for a new job while on mat leave with my toddler so I really get where you’re coming from. I had similar difficulties calling up to discuss the post – I was home with my baby (~6mo) and she would not sleep. I was really worried it would damage my chances of getting the job. To be honest by the time I got to interview I think they had forgotten about the sqwarking baby on the phone or I’m not sure I would have got the job. If I did it again I would ask my husband to take time off to look after her while I made the call. My career benefits our family too. I really hope things go well with your job hunt.
    Also, I text my husband with things we need (or update our ‘wunderist’ on the app) so he picks it up on the way home. We also have a list of jobs that need doing – we both add to it and we both do jobs when we can. We’re still 50/50 in the house even though I’m off. I do bits in the day when I can, he does bits in the evening when the toddler is in bed and I’m cluster feeding the baby

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