Thursday, February 09, 2012

Nothin' to prove...

I wrote this months ago but never published it for some reason... probably because it felt whiny. But it was authentic, too. I know that people who are waiting for a baby will feel like this is a stunning display of ingratitude, but just because I love my life doesn't mean parts of it aren't hard. And I've been letting fear of looking ungrateful keep me mute. So, muzzle off, I got nothin' to prove... Being a full-time mom is a darn sight different from working for the money. Any fool could tell ya that. I was expecting a full-on bliss-fest, reveling in my freedom from deadlines, elated by the utter absence of time sheets from my weekly routine, and never having to scramble to assemble a demo because somebody else failed to prepare properly. And, honestly, all of that has materialized and I bliss out about it, for about 3 minutes at the end of each day.

I spend the rest of my day catering to an audience who shows no glimmer of approval for good work but screams bloody murder her disapproval. And in my zen moments, I know she's not so much screaming disapproval of the quality of my work as screaming her discomfort, boredom, and digestive upset. But I lose such mental clarity in the midst of the screaming. So, working for a baby is all about tradeoffs. I rather expected this, but I'm surprised at how much I miss the positive feedback I used to get.

One of the things I liked most about my ex-boss is that he always passed along positive feedback and doled out plenty on his own when he saw us doing good things. The other thing I liked a heckuva lot about him was that he stayed out of my way until asked to intervene and didn't make my job any harder for me to do. If you ever find yourself in management, I think you should replace your WWJD wristband for a "Is this making my employee's job suck?" bracelet, if only for the duration of your work day. As it is, I'm working for a boss who never gives positive feedback, who gives tons of negative feedback, and who gives negative feedback whenever her mood sours. I know I'm really the boss, but again, I refer you to the bit about losing my mental clarity when the screaming gets loud.

The only way to keep my head glued on straight through this is to disconnect from it sometimes. On really good days, that means I go out for a little exercise while baby Z naps, or I go grab dinner with a friend (eating with both hands and an empty lap, woo!) On bad days, I call in pizza and let her scream at me from her playpen while I fend off the pizza-loving dogs with my feet and snarf two slices.

I'll let you guess what sort of day today was... at least the dogs didn't actually eat any of my food tonight. Last night they got half of it while I was up dealing with the screaming boss baby.