I’ve been blessed to have really smart, wild-minded and powerful women around me my whole life. I have many mothers and friends and sisters. When I lived in Seattle I was in a group of entrepreneurial women who met monthly. And Kathlyn and I would meet each week and go down a list of stuff we’d need to accomplish in the personal, professional and creative realms, and then report back to each other on status over a cup of tea and giant muffin at Irwin’s Bakery.
Over six years, Kathlyn and I moved to Los Angeles, got jobs, got boyfriends, got shacked up, and got married. Our little formal accountability system faded away. Recently we started up again with a small group that includes an artist/gallerist, a writer/educational consultant, a chef/journalist, a public affairs consultant/strategist, an executive director for a nonprofit/art historian.
I wish with all my heart I could be one of those “stay at home bitches”* who spends the day doing art projects with the kid and hitting the zoo and figuring out how to cobble together dinner. When I was on maternity leave, I had a lot of guilt and fear and distress at the prospect of returning to work, as people would come over with their offerings of homemade blankets and adorable baby clothes and baked goods and tell me how stressy everything was at work. The anxiety was worse than the re-entry, though. I slid right back into it.
Last night the group of entrepreneurial women met at my house. It was my turn to take 10 minutes to talk about my situation and I explained that where I work now is undergoing a reorganization. There has been a lot of anxiety over a year about how it will play out, and in a way, I’d be disappointed if there were no change to my job at all. Meanwhile, I have had three very decent companies (and even a recruiter calling about my OLD job!) come calling to see if I am interested in talking to them. I am certainly interested in hearing what they have to say. But nobody is making any sudden moves.
It took sitting in this group, with my baby falling asleep into sweet breathy little dreams on my chest, to help me realize I am standing at a proverbial fork. There is no strong wind or blinding neon sign to guide the way. There are no omens. Only pros and cons and known vs. unknown.
So I will wait patiently at the fork until the breeze picks up and pushes me. That way I have time and space to watch my baby sleep.
* I know a lot of these women and they are not actually, personally, bitches. I know they have made a lot of sacrifices to stay home and it’s hard work. It’s the jealousy talking.