Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I think I'm having a bit of an identity crisis these days. My job, as many of you know, used to be my life, in good ways and bad. It was challenging, it felt significant (most days, anyway) and being the boss was pretty fulfilling. Besides all that, every so often, a publication would appear that I felt almost entirely responsible for.

But the job got more stressful, the rewards less rewarding, and so I pondered finding a new position. My chiropractor told me I wasn't getting pregnant because I didn't have room in my life for a baby. I was pissed off at her remark, but I also knew that she had a pretty good point (about my life; I'm not so sure about the biology). And so last fall I made my mind up to quit my job and freelance full-time. I started talking with editors about how much work they could send my way. A few weeks after starting this process, we found out that I was pregnant. And a few weeks after that, one of the editors started talking with me about a staff position; I ended up being able to set up a part-time schedule in which I work three days a week, two of them from home.

For many, many reasons, taking this position seemed like the right thing to do. It would provide a stable source of income -- something that seemed a bit more important with the bambina on the way -- as well as alleviating some of the loneliness of the freelance life. What's more, I'd always wanted to work for this publication, and I looked forward to both the change in focus and the decrease in responsibility.

The reality has been somewhat different. The new job simply is not as challenging as my previous job... in fact, it comes nowhere close. My co-workers, while very nice, very smart people, are not very outgoing; since I only see them in person once a week, the onus is on me to make the effort to be social when I'm in the office, and to maintain contact via email and phone calls when I'm working at home. And while I thought I would relish the opportunity to write about different topics, the reality is that I'm a little bored.

The other reality, of course, is that I'm totally preoccupied by thoughts of this baby who, with any luck, will emerge in a little more than two months(!). I am consumed with thoughts of her in particular, and the preparations for her arrival in general. And the work of running our household -- doing laundry, grocery shopping, finding a pediatrician and a daycare provider, getting the bills paid, etc. -- has naturally shifted more in my direction since I have more time than D does to get it done.

So somewhere in there work took a bit of a back seat. And that has been somewhat shocking to realize. I have always -- always -- defined myself by my job, whether that job was getting on the honor roll in high school, leading the women's issues activist group on campus at college, or running a magazine (part and parcel of my grandfather's legacy). I still do that to some extent -- the publication for which I work is well known, and well respected, in the area, as are some of the outlets for which I am freelancing -- but something critical has shifted.

These thoughts, which have been swirling around in my head in disconnected and chaotic form for a month or two, coalesced Sunday night when I read "My So-Called Balanced Life" in mamazine. Impending motherhood hasn't exactly made me question the future of my career, such as it is, but it certainly has made me wonder if I made the right decision when I switched jobs at the start of the year. Leaving the old job was certainly the right thing to do. And probably in the long run taking my current job will prove to have been wise, too -- but for entirely different reasons (flexibility, stability, a certain lack of stress) than any other job decision has been.

So what does this all mean about who I am? I'm not sure -- but she is changing. And that is scary and exciting and very, very strange to witness.