Well, I've made it through my "90 day probation period" at my new job, so I guess I can officially blog about being back to work.
This year has come full circle for me. Four days before my 30th birthday, I left my career in the TV news business, thinking I would never return. Forty-seven days before my 31st birthday, I am back. This past year has been a whirlwind. I learned a lot about myself. The things I thought I wanted in life, ended up different than I had envisioned and the things I had run away from were exactly what I needed.
Clarification: This blog is not a comparison between a working mother and a stay at home mom. This is how it felt (for me) to leave the one thing in my life I had built completely on my own, my career.
Last summer I felt liberated. I walked away from a job I felt stuck in. I felt the company I was working for saw no future in me. I had been working every single weekend for over two years. I had missed out on life with family and friends, for a job that only saw me as a number...a number they were constantly trying to reduce. Leaving WBRE wasn't a hard decision. I was ready for more time with my family and more time for myself. I had sacrificed so much for my career, and Mike's new job offered me the chance to break free. So I did.
The first few months were great! I was enjoying all my time with the boys. I was attending events I was never able to go to. I was seeing my friends and family on a regular basis. I had so much free time on my hands I didn't know what to do with myself. The boys and I were doing everything I thought I wanted to do. I felt like a housewife on Bravo (minus the millions of dollars) meeting up with my friends and having lunch dates and play dates and shopping trips. I had time to go to the gym and I started to cook. Gosh, I even started this blog! Like I said, the first few months were great...then it slowly got harder and harder.
Staying home with my boys all day was exhausting. I would rarely get out of my sweatpants. Many days, I wouldn't even leave the house! Getting twins ready and out the door some days was more work than it was worth. I felt like all I did all day was yell. I lost my cool way too often. I missed having adult conversations. On top of that, Mike was traveling a lot so I was home alone almost every week night. I couldn't wait for nap time each day...and then I would countdown until bedtime at 7:30pm. I no longer looked forward to Fridays, because everyday of the week was the same. I feel absolutely horrible to even say/write this in black and white, but sometimes I dreaded my days with the boys. I remember telling Mike I felt like I no longer had a purpose. I felt terribly guilty for even saying those words, but I couldn't help it. On top of that, I missed writing. I missed going into work everyday. I missed being on TV. I missed dressing up. I missed putting on makeup. Sure, I'll admit it, I missed the "glamour". I missed working hard towards something all day and having the chance to put it on display. I missed the praise. I missed helping people. I missed pulling up on a scene, adrenaline pumping, and figuring out what was going on. I missed being recognized. I missed Shannon Murphy.
But not only did I miss all those things, my attitude was changing. I started resenting Mike. He would come home and tell me about a new project he was assigned or a "pat on the back" from his boss, and I was jealous. I no longer got that anymore. A mom rarely receives a "pat on the back" or a "promotion". For seven years, I had put all my effort into becoming a reporter. It's who I was. They say a job doesn't define you, but in a lot of ways it does. I would talk to Mike all the time about my feeling of loss. I think he was about to lose his mind because I changed mine everyday. He has a lot more patience than I ever will, because the conversation would always end with, "Shannon whatever you want to do, I'll support you." I know if it was up to him, he would have chosen for me to stay home, but I think he also knew who he married. I am forever grateful for a husband who allows his wife's career to dictate so much in life. There are plenty of guys who would never stand for that.
My daily struggle was, as much as I missed Shannon Murphy, I still wanted to have my Cunningham life. I wanted to have weekends off. I wanted to tuck my boys into bed each night. I wanted to be there in the morning to pick them up and kiss their chubby cheeks. But I also wanted to feel whole again. I kept thinking to myself, "Good Luck. You'll never find a job that gives you the best of both worlds." That's why, in my mind, I had written off the thought of getting back in the biz. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to.
But now, I can say I am one of the few lucky ones.
Back in April, I got an offer to work for a company I had already worked for in the Poconos, but this time it was in my hometown of Lancaster. It's a small cable station...with huge benefits. I was hired at the News Director (I STILL can't believe it) and I also anchor our 5:30pm show. I work...wait for it...9:30am-6pm Monday-Friday. If you know anything about the news business you know this is few and far between. I have every weekend off. I have every holiday off. I get to wake up and spend a few hours with my boys in the morning. I get to pick them up from school everyday, feed them dinner, give them a bath and put them to bed. I look forward to every minute I have with them. The time I spend with them now, I'm not yelling. We are laughing, snuggling, tickling running and usually rolling on the floor or jumping on the bed. Yes, there are still hard times and plenty of battles, but I don't see them anymore. Instead, I feel like a happy, crazy, mommy whose boys actually WANT to be with her. There is no better feeling then two little boys running your way with open arms yelling "mama!" when you walk into their classroom. They love school. They've made friends. Every morning I ask them if they want to go to school, they yell "Yes!" and run to the door. I used to feel hurt that they didn't want to stay with me, yet didn't I feel the exact same way? They are making art projects, playing with sand and Play-Doh and learning to share. They also love their teachers...and a little girl named Emma. They are happy. The one and only wish of a mother.
All signs point to the boys being happy and now that I am back to work, so am I! I'm learning everyday. I've never been a manger before and its not easy. I'm being challenged. I'm contributing financially to my family, which has always been very important to me. I don't feel guilty anymore when I do a little (let's be honest, a lot) of shopping. I'm helping young reporters learn the ropes and I'm making big decisions about the newscast. I'm writing. I'm making changes to a show and everyday watching it get better. I have adult conversations and joke around with my co-workers. I get giddy again for my Friday, which is actually Friday! I feel important again. Are there bad days? Well I can't say I've had a "bad" day yet (just give it time...I'm still on my TV high) but I know there will be days I will question my decision and that's when I will sit down and re-read this blog.
Being a mother is the most important job in the world, but everyone needs a balance. My mom told me the money she made from working when I was little was just enough to cover my daycare expenses, but the freedom to work and have her career was priceless. At 61, my mom still works part time. She's been a nurse for 40 years. I guess I'm my Mother's daughter.
P.S. I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacccccckkkkkk!!!!