It was exactly two years ago that I started my current job, director of marketing at a fast-paced startup in a relatively new yet traditional industry. It was also exactly two years ago that I was finished with the mandatory paid maternity leave with my third child. I was coming off a full time marketing consultant position, something I had been doing for almost three years from home.
Newly minted director, newly commuting to an office, newly minted mom of three. It was also a war, it was also the heat of the summer, it was also a major reckoning which basically came down to: what the fuck am I doing?
It was the start of an impossible quest. For the first nine months, I resolved to uncover someone exactly in my position, but 5-10 years later – someone working a full time manager job at an intense company, whose partner also worked full time, who had no time for late night TV show binge watching or running or taking the kids out after tzaharon to anywhere further than a nearby park. Someone with a super intense job, thrown into a managerial position with no training. Someone who was a mother of a three, living in an apartment, no hired help, no parents in the country, no family support nearby. Not native Hebrew speakers, new to every step along the way. Someone who was hacking it to the finish line.
Me. But in 5-10 years, having lived to tell the tale.
I’d ask the female partners at my company. But they’d be disqualified, lacking these criteria or those criteria. I’d scope out women at conferences – my seeming peers. But, no – not full time, or full time less kids, or Israeli partner with parents in town, or some other thing. I’d look around on career oriented Facebook groups. I’d ask people outright.
I’d get a lot of ‘Ooooh I also need that! When you figure it out let me know!’
I honestly thought I could find that person. Surely she exists. Surely someone’s done this. Lived this life. Surely she’d mentor me. Tell me it’ll be ok. Laugh with me and cry with me.
That person does not exist. Not two years ago, not now.
But she will in 5-10 years.
As I look around, having added more to that plate – four kids seven and under, four different drop offs and pick ups next year, two doses of private daycare tuition, same full-time demanding jobs for both parents, still no parents within 30 minutes, etc etc – I know and accept there is no such mentor. No one has my life. No one has your life.
Unique special snowflake shit.
So I’m left to figure it out. I have no idea what the next 1-2 years will look like. I know that I am not limitless so we’ll figure out where that line gets drawn pretty soon.
I will say this: holding a two-month old in one arm and cutting cherry tomatoes with the other is possible. So at least there’s that.