Out of the Office Week: First Night Away

by katherine on July 27, 2010

Our first guest post comes to you from Krista over at Not Mommy of the Year. As she puts it…”You know that woman who always has her shit together? The one that effortlessly pulls together a stylish look in 20 minutes, has time to hit the gym, laughs on her cell phone as she waltzes into the office? The mom who dresses her kid in the cutest outfits, takes the best pictures and provides a hot meal and a clean house for her husband. I AM NOT HER.”

And this? Is why I love her. She has a whole blog dedicated to the reasons why she will not be voted mom of the year. Her blog was actually the very first blog I started reading. Ever. Other reasons I lover her: She works in marketing/PR, like me. She is addicted dedicated to her job, like me. She likes wine, like me. She’s funny, like I think I am. Sometimes it takes days for her to put away laundy, also, like me. 

Ok, enough about the reasons I love Krista probably more than I should and onto the good stuff…
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If you know anything about me, you know that I tend to take my job pretty seriously. I think I’m all important and stuff with my crackberry attached to my hand and responding to emails at 9:00 at night. Go ahead, roll your eyes. I KNOW. And I’m getting better, I swear. In fact, when I went on vacation over the 4th of July, I turned work email off on my phone and to date, I haven’t turned it back on. ssshhhh, don’t tell. It’s been… freeing… to say the least.

But, anyway, I digress. When my maternity leave was wrapping up, I was still very much worried about how I could convince my boss and coworkers that nothing had changed. That just because I had a tiny little human at home relying on me for EVERYTHING, I would still be just as devoted and dedicated to my job as I was pre-baby.

So, when the call came two days before my maternity leave ended, asking if I could attend a conference the following weekend, I said yes. And then I promptly hung up the phone and cried. The conference was three hours away and I needed to be there for a hospitality event that would last until midnight. Which meant I would need to stay over.

I quickly devised a plan to take my husband and seven-week-old baby with me. I would get them settled in the hotel room, go meet and greet in our company suite, dashing out to change dirty diapers and give kisses. This would work. I was even a little excited about our first family trip.

But then, my husband got nervous about traveling with the baby and his commonsense voice was screaming to him that maybe it didn’t make sense to travel that far with a baby if I really wouldn’t get to see them much anyway. That maybe dragging her halfway across the state for my benefit was a little bit selfish. (My words. Not his).

So, I agree to go alone. But I was PISSED. I kissed my baby goodbye with tears streaming down my face, biting my lip to hold back sobs, thinking at any minute he would see the pain I was going through in leaving her and he’d say “give me ten minutes to pack a bag.”

But he didn’t. And I cried the entire first hour in the car. And part of the second. And held back tears all night as I looked at the picture of her on my phone. As I crawled into the big fluffy hotel bed, I wasn’t thinking about what a rock star employee I was. I was thinking about how much I missed my baby. How I wasn’t there to give her a kiss goodnight and wondering if she noticed.

I questioned whether I should have turned down the assignment. (I should have.) I wondered how often I would feel conflicted like this. And I promised that I would stop taking myself so seriously. I realized that while I do care about my job, respect my coworkers and want to be the same ambitious person I was pre-baby; I can do that without sacrificing my family.

I woke up at the crack of dawn, rushed home and took the rest of the day off to stare at my daughter and make sure she hadn’t forgotten me overnight.

Since then, in the last eight months, I’ve spent one other night away from my daughter for work and this weekend she is having her first sleepover at my mom’s house. I’m simultaneously looking forward to the sleeping in and recognizing that I will likely wake up wondering how she slept and if she’s OK and call my mother at 6:23 saying “Is she still breathing? You better go check.” I will pick her up two hours before I said I would and when my husband says, “see I didn’t want her to go, you missed her too.” I will have to admit that he was right.

Unless, of course, I sleep in until 8:00am, in which case I will stick my tongue out at him and smile.
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If you want to learn more about Krista and her cutie pie kid, you can check out her blog. And if you’re the tweetin’ type, you can also follow her on twitter. Some of my favorite posts from Krista: Postcards from Vacation, Where she admits work is kicking her ace and where she finally finds something that proves her child is hers.

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