Wednesday, July 20, 2011

10 Simple Pleasures of Returning to the Workforce

A fake date appears above so this post will sit near the top of this blog.
Original pub date: January 29, 2010

After several years of stay-at-home motherhood and work-from-home freelancing I recently returned to the full-time, office-based workforce. (Hence my absence from posting on this site.) So far so good, at the job and on the home front. My three children are school-age now, and unlike in my past career, when leaving the office at 6 p.m. was considered skipping out early, my new job allows me to get home at a decent time.

Having been out of the traditional workforce, I'm finding joy in many aspects of work life I took for granted before I "stopped working" (yeah, right) in order to care for children. I'm listing my newfound pleasures here — while they're still a novelty and I'm appreciative and not jaded, exhausted or burned out from working 9 to 5.

1) The very nice building I work in has a very nice cafeteria. It's such a treat to eat lunch without having to shop for the groceries, prepare food for myself and other people, clean the kitchen, and do it all again 20 minutes later when someone decides he or she is still hungry, thirsty, bored ...

2) I can use the bathroom without someone walking in on me, screaming for me, or picking a fight with a sibling because I'm temporarily out of sight.

3) I enjoy having to get properly dressed in the morning. (Yes, I know a stay-at-home mom and work-from-home person can, and probably should, get herself properly dressed even if she's spending the entire day at home. But since I wasn't being seen much by the outside world, I didn't want to spend money on clothes for me. I also worried about ruining the few nice outfits I had that still fit.)

4) I'm able to concentrate on work without near constant interruptions.

5) I can have uninterrupted conversations with adults.

6) I like being able to spend time in a city (I work in Washington D.C.) as well as in the suburban, rurally beautiful (but sometimes isolating) area where I live.

7) When I commute by car, I appreciate the freedom to listen to my radio station. When I commute by train, I appreciate how public transportation frees me from my minivan and provides me with an efficient workout. (Climbing Metro station stairs and escalators while wearing a winter coat and carrying a heavy purse is exercise.)

8) I find that by having structure and variety to my day (i.e. work and home, not just all home, all the time), I'm tons more efficient.

9) Instead of my children and I being at each others' throats by evening, they're happy to see me when I arrive home and I look forward to spending time with them.

10) In this economy, I'm very thankful to have found a job. And after working so hard, for so many years, with little to no monetary recognition, it's really nice to receive a regular paycheck again.


Stephanie said...

Congratulations! I had a sneaking suspicion you were back to the paid workforce! Your post makes it sound oh-so-tempting to return to work! My girls are just 17 months and 26 months, though, so I will probably be home a little longer. But you make a very good case for being back at work! The thought of grown-up conversations and lunches sounds very nice indeed!

beth said...

I am very happy to hear you are enjoying your new (old) world again!

Whitney said...

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

Good for you and best of luck! Please keep posting and let us know how it's going!

Melissa said...

Thank you all for your kind words. I know some of you but not all. (Anonymous?) I will keep posting, but not as often. And I will keep visiting my mom blogger friends' sites, but not as often. Another thing I've found in my "return to work." Being home with children really is more work. The kids had a snow day today so I stayed home. I'm looking forward to the relative calm of the office tomorrow.


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