They say you should be careful what you pray for.
A few of you know that I’ve been searching for a paying job for the last few months, in amongst the steady stream of visitors and birthday parties we’ve had.
So I’ve tried baking cookies – twice, and tried baking lemon currant loaves – twice, and made my own pizza dough – twice, and tried making a passionfruit and blueberry slice – once, and none of it bombed, and so I thought, “Hey. I actually don’t suck at this after all. Let’s try and make passionfruit melting moments for tomorrow’s afternoon tea, so I don’t need to run out and buy the ones from Aldi.”
A bridge too far, that. For I bombed spectacularly.
And while I was initially heartened by a kind friend’s assurance that “a good chef always blames the recipe”, it turns out that the actual quote is “a good chef NEVER blames the recipe”. So I got all geed up to explain to everyone how the butter-flour ratio was totally off in my book, only to realise that just confirms how REALLY bad a chef I am. Poo.
I’m at the stage now where I feel quite comfortable with the whole mother-of-a-baby shindig. Got a lovely routine going, me and my girl get along swell, got a bunch of lovely new mums to swap notes with… And so what do I do? I whip out my list. And try to add to my routine, of all things, an advanced diploma.
Velle BC – Before Child – was convinced that it’d be rather near-sighted to emerge from a year-long maternity leave without accruing at least one new qualification. So she had decided, among other things, to gun for an advanced diploma in program management because hey, it wasn’t enough that she delivered two major projects ahead of schedule while heavily pregnant. And while she didn’t quite promise herself that she’d go through with it, she had her heart set on finishing off the diploma before the year’s end.
Until she gave birth.
Velle AD – After Daughter – is starting to realise three important truths.
ONE – she wasn’t going to accrue one new skill or qualification after maternity leave. She was going to get six. At least. The learning curve of a new mother is steep as, and includes the study of physiology, psychology, diet and nutrition, and the ability to Facebook, cook, watch BBC bonnet drama re-runs, do the laundry, organise Mother’s Group, AND answer the door to get the mail (online shopping!), all while breastfeeding.
TWO – there is an opportunity cost to finishing that list. In exchange for quals that might pretty my CV if people actually cared to read it, I might have to give up precious time playing with my chica. At the risk of sounding like a sop, I love watching this crazy creature grow and change right before my eyes. She is such great company. It seems a rather obvious thing to say, but I’m not lonely when I’m with her. Hanging out with my baby is turning out to be my favourite spectator sport – just watching her figure out the world around her. Who would have thunk.
THREE – all the mothers that laughed their heads off when they first read my good-intentions list? They were right. I wouldn’t be able to get through it. Not because I lack the time – although the days are flying so quickly it scares me. But chiefly because I lack the will.
I have changed. When I wrote that list, I didn’t realise how much I would change. And I have. I am BAKING, for crying out loud. And my house is neater. And I am fatter. And I am happy. Cerebrally, I know there’s going to be another switch some time down the road, where I might suddenly wish to be back at work again. Where I’ll be ready and say, “Enough. Let’s pay the mortgage.” Where I’ll want my body back. Where I’ll crave the opportunity to create in a world where grown-ups live.
Here’s the catch, though – would I have evolved into another creature by then? Wanting to accomplish different things? Part of why I’m mulling over this is how I tried this evening to summon the enthusiasm to do my assignment – which is based on the two major projects completed this year. And a large part of me is seriously bored with it. It’s been done – rehashing the details of an old project feels like I’ve stayed back a year at school. This material has been covered. It is FINISHED. Why are we still talking about it? Next better thing, please.
Or is it all excuses?