Polar bears and puffins: Back home with the kids

Since I hadn't worked for seven years it is unclear what exactly my first contract has taught me other than that I can do it: Arrange the childcare, hold it together, arrive on time, enjoy myself, get paid well, make a contribution to the work of a large office.

Perhaps I should have lounged around today - gone shopping, sat on the couch with Oprah, read, enjoyed how much prettier my home is than my cube at work.

But this week our annual book fair starts. Since I volunteered to run it (again) with my favorite team of ladies (last year) I will not be sitting (at all) until more than $15K worth of $2.99 children's books are sold by Friday evening.

How's that for a healthy transition and giving yourself room to stay in the present? More like what happens when two fronts meet...

On the bright side, it is amazing how we moms can (and do) express aspects of our identities by sequencing in and out of various roles.

Last week I was polishing data, this week I am hauling an enormous polar bear skin and skull in my trunk. They are props for the World Wildlife Fund's polar bears and puffins presentation at Book Fair (Blizzard!) kick-off.

Last week I wondered where to have lunch with colleagues, this week I am wondering what to pack for lunch.

Last week I worried about my colleagues in transition, this week I am worrying that my kids are going too fast on the cool new pedal car our Dutch neighbors loaned them.

It is unexpected that as I write this post, I feel my tone shift from viewing my at-home mom work as part folly, to viewing it, more rightly, as just as good a place as any to practice my talents and interests.

No, I am never paid. I will never like that. But when I arrived at school yesterday and friends that I had only seen in passing since last year stopped to catch up and give me hugs, I felt so lucky to be a part of both worlds. Even my kids came running toward me with arms outstretched when I surprised them by being there at pick up.

I think it is just fine that I am back here for a while.

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