Thursday, June 18, 2009


After an eight year hiatus of being in the "working world" (isn't that a crock? stay-at home moms are the hardest workers I know...) I have made my re-entry. It's been almost two months and I have a few thoughts on the matter...

The first several weeks were rough. I often thought of the space shuttle and how it loses tiles as it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere because of the intense heat. I felt like I was losing my mind and my sanity... it isn't to say that NOW I'm a model of composure or organization, but I feel like we've found a better groove and are in pretty good working form.

My job itself is great. I still don't enjoy leaving my kiddos or being gone... but I like what I do and I feel like I'm doing good for others which makes me happy. I feel mentally stimulated and gratified with the work I do.

Returning to a job very similar to the one I left eight years ago doesn't mean that I have been able to skip the learning curve that comes with new (or renewed) employment... a few observations about that process:

Working (even part-time) doesn't remove any responsibilities or feelings of obligations that a mom has. There are just much fewer hours in the day to complete your list of things to do.

Some things go undone. (So what if my bed isn't made every day, but could the Tooth Fairy please remember my sweet toothless Coleman tonight? He really needs to feel the love and get a dollar or two under his pillow.)

Our computer system at work is extremely dysfunctional... yet I still look like an incompetent fool several times a day... and it really IS the computer's fault.

Many times my incompetence isn't the computer's fault.

My Spanish needs a serious overhaul. My vocabulary about nutrition related topics is seriously lacking. That said, I love speaking Spanish. One cute mom gave me a hug after I was finished "counseling" her.

Some days I feel like I'm sitting down with friends chatting about our kids and sharing great ideas for feeding them and other mom stuff.

Other days, not so much.

Commuting with or without traffic SUCKS.

Listening to audiobooks has made commuting much more tolerable.

David Sedaris is really funny (but has a potty mouth).

Barbara Kingsolver has some very intriguing points about the virtues of eating local organic foods and growing as much of your own as you can (I'll be heading to our farmer's market this weekend and trying with even more effort to keep my garden alive and producing food that our family can eat).

No matter which way you look at it, I didn't pick a great time to start working for the public health department... H1N1 anyone?

(As a side note, if you are symptomatic and believe you have the Swine Flu... please STAY HOME... do not venture to the nearest public health department because you heard they have free TAMIFLU... they don't. Call your doctor!)

There seems to be a never-ending list of requirements for orientation meetings, training modules, and check-off lists of things to know and be able to do. These offer countless opportunities to learn and grow, which have greatly enriched my life. Really. Some gems I've gleaned from this:

The symbol below is an actual chemical hazard warning symbol. It does NOT stand for the song "Ring of Fire" which is permanently emblazoned in my brain, not from the song performed by Johnny Cash (although that's catchy as well) but from Adam Lambert on American Idol. It's especially well known around our house because Coleman hums or sings it for entire days at a time. I'm not joking.Despite it's genuine value as a warning symbol, it still makes me smile when I see it.
In my workplace safety orientation I learned that if you want to be safe around dogs, just make sure you can run faster than your sister (or whomever else you might be with).

Also from my workplace safety orientation I learned that if a bomb threat is called in, I am supposed to get the name, address, and phone number of the person making the threat in addition to the location of the bomb. There is actually a form for this, if it's convenient to fill out.

(Another side note from workplace safety--if you plan to stalk me, please don't do it at my work location, there is too much paperwork involved.)

And finally, a deep thought from a training module on critical thinking:

"Critical thinking is the art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better...." (Paul, Binker, Adamson, and Martin 1989).

**What do you think?


Linn said...

I feel exhausted after reading about it all. I cannot imagine how you must feel.

Sally said...

This was a thought provoking post for me. It's so enlightening to hear all the things that are on your mind and in your universe right now. What a lot of things to keep in mind. The bomb threat protocol made me giggle. What bomber is going to provide you with his name and address and phone number!? Who writes this stuff? At least there are moments of hilarity, right? And it seems that your dinner time conversations are probably all the more rich with your work contributions. I often stay quiet at ours because I don't have anything novel, anything that the whole family doesn't already know about. I would love to have something funny or surprising. I'm glad that overall it's going well, though, and you don't feel so upended anymore. I still wish you could counsel me. :) May I drop in?

Benjamin Gerritsen said...

I am so glad that more than just me can relate to working just part time and then being full time mommy and wife! Somehow we do it!!

Cheri said...

I really admire you - you have so many commitments outside your own home and that takes a lot of balance and drive. Way to go, and way to make things work for your family.

emilyw said...

Ditto on the rest of these comments, and I add the question, "When do you find time to blog?" I so totally admire you in so many ways! You are amazing!

Janene said...

I'm glad you pulled your thoughts together -- you make time to still cover so many bases! I've been wondering how you're doing. Hugs to you. :o)