How I Spent My Shower Vacation: I Promise This is the Final Installment

OK, so I realize that this whole chronicle of my trip to Memphis has gotten a little longer than we all hoped, but I can assure you that the slideshow is wrapping up and pretty soon I’ll be refreshing your drinks/ offering you a piece of strawberry shortcake/ allowing you to escape.

Sleep did not occur Monday night. Just didn’t. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions the entire time I was in Memphis, and they were in high gear that night. That, along with my relative curiosity about my job interview on Tuesday morning and my anxiousness about flying back to NC later that afternoon made sleep rather elusive.

I don’t think I’m too different from most of the population of humanity in my morbid distaste for going on job interviews. I’ve had a handful of ones that went extremely well, but the countless others were just awkward and a tremendous waste of my and the interviewer’s time. The factor that set this one apart from all the other job interviews that I’ve ever been on was my level of confidence going in and my lack of focus on the task at hand. In the past, when I went on a job interview, I NEEDED a job. Like, BADLY. Or at least I felt like I did. Our scenario now is that B is gainfully employed and we’re not hurting for me to work. At least, not yet. It would just be nice to move to Memphis. Therefore my confidence was somewhat high because I didn’t feel like I’d have to pawn my string of pearls if I didn’t nail it (true intimation from my past.)

Then there’s the whole “lack of focus” thing. I really wish I could be one of these people who can balance their personal life and their career and separate them when necessary. But it turns out that at 33 weeks pregnant – which I was at the time of the interview – I just couldn’t. Or, more likely, I’m not wiling to or I’m just too tired to. This is my life and I owe it to myself and Bebe to be authentic. When the interviewer asked me why I wanted to move to Memphis for the job, I couldn’t feign excitement over taking a new step in my career; no, I was honest and told him that yeah, that’s a nearly full-term baby strapped to my abdomen and yeah, I’d like my soon-to-arrive friend to be closer to her family in Memphis. In my defense, she was kicking me throughout the entire interview, just BEGGING to be alluded to. Guess she had gotten used to all that attention at the shower.

Similarly, when the interviewer (who would also be my boss AND who I didn’t really seem to have a rapport with) told me about how the job requires devoting extra time on the evenings and weekends to totally innovating his department, I realized that a year or so ago that would have been something I could have sacrificed my time for and felt enriched about. It’s a great program and it’s doing great things. But the time just isn’t right for me to do that now. I want to know my Bebe. I want to know every single thing she does, every single thing about her.

She will only be an infant once, so she will get my evenings and weekends. I did the interviewer and myself a favor and recognized that right away and told him that I didn’t think I could provide the kind of service he would need. I think it came out a little more diplomatically than that, though. I AM indeed a born and raised girl of the South and I can sugarcoat things and drop some bless-your-hearts like a motha.

After the interview, I was a little upset with myself that I had allowed my lack of rest to get the better of me and make me be so frank and open with the interviewer about how I’m clearly not the ideal candidate for the position. I reflected on myself on the drive from the school to the hospital to visit my mom and thought, Who IS this person who didn’t even try to suck up just a little and play the interview game? Who IS this person who, in the past, could wax eloquent at interviews about how awesome I am, but today just “gave up” the instant I walked into the office?

It was me. Just me. I’m about to have a baby, and as much as I would’ve liked to muster some energy and pretend that the passenger strapped to my midsection doesn’t faze me, she is my number one priority and I can’t separate her and my role towards her from my intrinsic identity. That’s not to say I’m giving up and resigning myself to this new motherhood station in my life and allowing it to engulf me entirely. Not at all. But it is to say that at least for right now, I will be staying with my baby full time for her first year.

And I’m over-the-moon about it and I DON’T have to feign excitement over that. Authenticity – especially when coupled with love for my baby – is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.

So I met up with my amazing mother-in-law Sidney and we went to the hospital to see my mom once more before I took off that afternoon. She was feeling a whole lot better and was later discharged that day (yay!). Sidney and I went to lunch at the Paradise Cafe* and just talked and ate and relished every second of it. Not joking, I have the best MIL in the history of Mother-In-Laws. She is such a blessing in my life not only because she ushered into this world my sweet B but because she is so purely her. She makes me want to invent National Mother-In-Law Day, even though it would probably be me and like 10 other people celebrating it :/

*Guys. SERIOUSLY. SO good. Promise me you’ll check it out if you’re ever in Memphis. ‘K? K.

After lunch, she shuttled me off to the airport where I hit the skies and got back to NC that evening. At the airport, Sidney embraced me and said, “Next time I see you, you’ll have Bebe.”

I know I’m on the record for making some pretty harsh statements about the wielding of quotes, but I’m going to go back on everything I’ve said and end with one that neatly summarizes my life these days:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller

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21 comments

  1. I am so glad that you didn’t feel pressured during your job interview. And you’re right. Having kids changes the equation for many of us. There are sacrifices I’m willing to make, and those that I am not.

    1. Thank you. Your words are very encouraging to me. Possibly because you are my hero :)

  2. I totally think you you made the best decision, and I am most assuredly with you on the separating career and personal life thing. I suppose if I were better at it, I might be teaching a room full of undergrads the mysteries of genitive plural in Newfoundland, but there’s no job on earth that would compel me to leave my husband behind. I am so glad you and B are in the position you are in, and I don’t think there’s anything in the world worth trading for that precious time with your little one. I love you. PS: I will definitely join you in MIL Day celebrations:)

    1. I had a feeling you would join me on on MIL Day crusade! We are indeed very blessed!

  3. By being honest in an interview you would be the first person I would think of if a job came up that fit your time constraints. So refreshing and honest.

    1. Thank you. Sometimes exhaustion is good because it prompts honesty.

  4. We pawned other things (I couldn’t bear to part with the pearls! bless your mettle), as well as our lifestyle, expectations, careers, credentials and other sundry assumptions about ourselves and our futures. All for the kids. Never a regret. And now that they’re able to feed and bathe themselves (more or less), we discovered new lifestyles, expectations, careers, credentials and assumptions. And I need a new strand of pearls, anyway (#3 liked to suck on them like teether beads when I carried him on my hip). Bebe was kicking because she was worried your attention might be divided. She intends to be your employer, full benefits, with bonuses, corner office/best view of the world.There is never a question when it comes down to baby or job. Consider the interview a score! For Bebe. And that’s what’s important right now.

    1. I think I’m going to print that out and tape it to my mirror. Very well said. Thank you for your sweet words.

  5. So it went well, not in that you got the job, but in that you fell good coming away from it and about your plans for the future. So, win!

    1. Amen! I agree.

  6. “drop some bless-your-hearts like a motha.” AND Ferris. Oh man… I hope you get to Memphis…. but at least one girl in the Cackalackey is gonna miss you when you go, mama.

  7. After reading this I am full of good feelings ! ” Just me ” is an amazing woman, who is already becoming an amazing momma and will always stay an amazing wife. You know DIL doesn’t fit you or me. You are so much more than that . You are this exciting, kind, loving, honest person that came into my life and lives in my heart. and BTW, good decision about the job..you know you could have played the game and won if you wanted to !!!

    1. Oh, I just love you!

  8. Job interviews are hard – you gussy yourself up, actively listen, attempt to exude confidence, and sometimes end up with a job. The same job that is celebrated when won can become the source of much stress and unhappiness.

    1. I know, right?! I remember celebrating one such job with such pomp and fanfare only to celebrate harder when quitting it a year and a half later.

  9. You never know – that kind of honesty about time constraints can really work for you sometimes. Instead of promising the world and then regretting it, your next potential employer could also have a kid and say “maybe you should work from home and only come in one day a week.” Because that happened to me when I admitted the only time after work hours I could “work” was after bedtime and during naps on weekends. Sometimes they appreciate knowing what you feel comfortable with. But sometimes these dream jobs only last a couple of months…mine is about to end next week!

    1. I really need to find a way to work from home, doing something creative. I’ve wanted to for a long time and I think now is the time to start thinking about making that happen.

      1. Working from home is the best, as long as you can ignore the dishes, laundry, and whatever other chores might distract you “for just a moment” and then end up eating your day. I speak from experience on this one.

  10. I like how this post sums up in a very personal and eloquent way how pregnancy divides women (divides their own selves). My mum recently edited a book on this subject. It explored thirtysomethings’ career choices and the imbalance in career “success” that gets suddenly amplified between genders at that time of life. Whoever thought up the phrase “having it all” and applied it to mums was definitely experiencing a psychotic break. Mums really can’t always get what they want. But sometimes they get what they need… ;)

    1. You and your mum are both wise indeed, LB! I think at the end of my life (hopefully a looooong time from now) I’ll look back and see that I really did “have it all” whether or not I believed it was so at the time. Right now I’m just in the midst of the illusion of the waiting. You know, it’s the hardest part ;)

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