New Baby: New Career?

10.20.08 Baby's 23rd Week


Life after Birth

I've been thinking about my work life for a while but I haven't blogged about it because I'm not sure what I have to say. But you know, blogging is one of the best ways to find out! Here's what I've been thinking:

You know when you stop everything, say to go on a long trip, or to move houses, or—even more completely disruptive—to have a child? It's a strange time to start evaluating your career. I mean, it's kind of like asking yourself if you'd like to go in to the office on Saturday morning, just for fun. But I find it tempting, especially as I get back into work (and read about what the economy's been doing while I've been playing 'where are Leo's toes?').

So here I am, working very part time and getting ready to pitch more articles and cookbooks (I'm a food writer), and I find myself snacking at my desk while twirling a small stuffed frog by its leg and thinking 'hmm, am I really cut out for food writing?' Maybe I could be a professional poet, which would involve wearing a beautiful cardigan and drinking a great deal of tea. Or should I be working with the homeless, or teaching?

Then I remind myself of the years I've put into food writing—and not into any other field, particularly. Yes, I have 5/6ths of a Masters in Literature, a program I started years ago, and which I plan to finish off this summer to tidy things up if nothing else. And last I checked, writing poetry was free, and we have tea in the cupboard, so I could always sit down at my desk some day during Leo's haiku-length morning nap, perhaps wearing one of my old cardigans, to see what happens. Plus, I still love thinking and writing about, cooking, and tasting food. So what's the problem with my old career? And am I some new person now that I'm a mom?

I can't say for sure, I haven't been a mom long enough to have much perspective. But I'm pretty certain that if I'm going to reevaluate what I do for a living I should do it when I'm at the top of my game. You know, turning our great articles that make editors hunger for more, turning in cookbooks as well done as they are prompt, and schmoozing at work events as though the very idea of doing that doesn't make me want to change diapers for the rest of my life just to avoid all those intimidating people out there.

I can probably strive to reach the top of my game for the rest of my professional life. For one thing, I'm the type to always set the bar higher. So is there no good time to sit back and evaluate what I'm doing and where I'm going? I suppose I'm evaluating now. But sitting back? I don't have time for that. I'm a mom. And something tells me that if my work seems a little less riveting, a little less like the one true thing I was put on this planet to do, that's got nothing to do with food writing and everything to do with the tiny guy who opens his enormous blue eyes every morning and smiles so big when he sees me that he makes me feel like the most important person on earth.

Snack Mix