I'm having a time of difficult decisions at work - well, primarily one major one, a secondment which I shall post more about later. Interestingly though, it's made me realise that although I work hard, and sometimes find the actual work stressful at times, I spend far less 'worry time' on work than I used to do. I think the key change has been this whole parenthood thing! I clearly only have a quota of worry time (at least whilst functioning on a sane and rational level), and it's taken up with anxieties about parenting.
I hadn't really recognised this until the secondment came up. But now I'm tossing and turning mentally about whether I should go for it or not, what the consequences could be, etc etc, I have suddenly recognised the absence of such career anxiety thoughts over the last 2.5 years. It's not even that I've not made decisions - I've chopped and changed about enough to drive my boss to distraction (except he's too good for that). Honestly, I was going to return to work full time, then three days a week as a social worker, then 2.5 days as a job share team manager, then increased my hours whilst my job share partner was on sick leave, and now increasing them again temporarily whilst she's on a secondment (at least until I decide what I want to do about the secondment I've applied for). But I made all these decisions - well just by making them! I thought through the pros and cons (what I wanted, the financial implications, the stress levels of each course) then just made the decision. There was no tearing myself in two, no constantly revisiting to be sure I was making the right choice, no seeking everyone's advice, no comparing myself to how others might handle the situation. I just got on with it - and that isn't how I used to be about my career.
But, I can definitely recognise all those signs of anxiety in thinking about how to be the best parent I can be to Ellie. Leading to my conclusion that I must have a limited quantity which I have transferred from work to parenting.
On the other hand, I'm doing well at work. Not constantly self-examining has not made me less effective (that' s not to say I don't take stock of what I'm doing and how well I'm doing it at work from time to time - I have to, it's part of my role - but I'm not going round in circles like I used to). Maybe there is a lesson to be learnt here that I can transfer to parenting...!
(but what would I worry about then?!!)