A DINNER plate in our mismatched collection at home is illustrated with the words, ‘Give me work to last all my life’. I smile each time I use it.
Do you remember the thrill of getting your first job? Mine was at a local supermarket, age 14, and that feeling of independence that came from earning my very own money was pretty great.
I’ve gained a deeper sense of vocation since then and feel lucky to be passionate about my work. But, of course, earning my very own money is still what pays the bills.
On June 22, 2023, when my husband Zac and I became parents, we signed up for the most expansive, consuming and permanent job of our lives.
This job of caring for Rosie Hope, who we nicknamed ‘HB’ for heartbeat from our first pregnancy scan, doesn’t earn us any money, but the value she brings to our lives is priceless.
I officially returned to paid work on January 2 and it’s lovely to be back, working with great people and sharing stories via these small local newspapers that mean so much to me.
In past jobs I would have waited longer but the loyalty I feel as a business partner, and the knowledge I have a flexible and supportive working arrangement, drew me back sooner.
Time is a funny thing. In some ways, I feel like I never stopped working. Then I look at baby Rosie and can’t quite remember what our lives were like before she came along.
In the words of Slim Halliday from ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ by my favourite journalist Trent Dalton, “One thing you learn is how to master time, don’t ya? Slow it all down by focusing on the details or you can speed it up by being so busy there’s not enough hours in the day.”
Of course, returning to work is nuanced and different for everyone.
Organising care for Rosie a few days a week so I could return to paid work was one of those times in life where we had to trust our gut, work as a team and let go a little. I expect being a parent will bring many more of those ‘letting go’ moments.
It feels like I’m now simultaneously a full-time mum and a part-time journalist and business partner, just like Zac is now a full-time dad and a full-time teacher. Because you don’t exactly just become a part time parent when you head off to work, do you?
It’s all very expansive, this whole parenting thing.