Monday, November 1, 2010

The Bottom Line

I can definitely get used to this, this stay-at-home mom thing.  I get some time to slack off  and tweeze my eyebrows while Yuna naps.  Not that I'm a huge slacker.  In fact, before I entered motherhood, I had a career.  A real one.  I was a real estate senior portfolio manager, and no, fuck you, I didn't make that title up.  To explain it briefly, my job entailed for me to manage a portfolio of commercial and residential properties on behalf of  property owners.  I was in charge of overseeing the performance and daily operations of each property and just making sure that nothing's fucked up.  It's basically  just like baby-sitting, except that the babies I cared for were tenants.  Not just your average apartment tenants though.  I was baby-sitting for lawyers, doctors and accountants.  Far worse than looking after a toddler, if you ask me.

Real estate is the only industry I've come to know.  I started as a receptionist for a small property management firm at 21, worked my way up the career ladder, and somehow managed to become a portfolio manager at 24. Now you might be thinking what the fuck I did to jump straight to an upper management position within 3 years at such a young age.  Just to make it clear, I didn't sleep with the boss.  I did this all with Shi right beside me (we ended up working together in the same company after I recommended him to my old boss).

Former boss and his wife.  The most awesome couple ever.  Please don't forget to give hubs a raise, thank you.

At 21, I was a fresh college grad, young, ambitious and very competitive (I think I already made that part clear here in my blog after having been suspended from Top Mommy Blogs).  I was eager to make it to the top at the least amount of time possible, and lucky for me, my former boss' brother, the company's real estate legal counsel, took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know about the business.  So from there, I struggled to soak in everything I needed to know in all facets of property management, from accounting to construction, and devoted 3 years to the same company being the all-around employee before gathering the balls to apply for the portfolio manager position in a much bigger investment firm.  I landed the position and hence, the start of my days of toxicity and 3am email exchanges.

I was given 22 properties to manage by myself, which, in the property management world, borders on suicidal. I guess the best way I can explain this to you guys is this:  Imagine a building with about 20-50 tenants, most of my tenants being business owners.  On a daily basis, I deal with these tenants and their "issues" (ranging from something as mundane as getting locked out of their own unit, to something as tragic as their warehouse burning down), meet with potential tenants, draft leases, get on the phone with brokers, replace a fucking light bulb, schedule construction and maintenance projects, do the billing, etc.  Now multiply that by 22.  Now go shoot me.   But before you do, please tell my babies to pay their rent.  It's due on Monday.

Suffice to say, I was a walking zombie.  Sure, the job paid me very well and it allowed us to indulge in plenty of extravagances, but I vividly remember taking a couple of days off to go to Vegas for my birthday.  Amidst the city lights, decadent food and bigger-than-life attractions, I spent most my time responding to emails, answering phone calls and doing a spreadsheet  using nothing but my Palm Treo.  On top of that, I walked around with that familiar hollow feeling in my stomach, similar to what most people feel when returning to a toxic job straight from a vacation, only mine was about a hundred times magnified.  My weeknights were spent in a makeshift home office, working on piles of paperwork while simultaneously answering emails and sorting out my work calendar until 3am.  Perhaps the only driving motivation I had for sticking to the profession was the money.  Never mind the stress, lack of sleep and the fact that there's nothing more I really wanted but to drop dead on most days.  At least if the fatigue really killed me, my family could buy me a nice coffin with all the money I made, and possibly get  Ari Gold to give my eulogy.

I did the same old shit for several years until I got pregnant.  They say a lot of things change when you're pregnant, aside from your expanding body parts.  You sift through imagery after imagery, taking bits and pieces here and there to carve up your ideal future.  My ideal future still involved a desk job with lots of money, and perhaps, a nanny or two to keep my brood in check. So that divine intervention that's supposed to change my worldly and materialistic views because I had a fetus growing in my stomach?  Pfffffft.  Horse shit.

You see, having a baby doesn't automatically change you, nor alter the delusions you've set for yourself.  You don't wake up in your hospital bed the next day, brimming with maternal tendencies, just because you are now, at least biologically, a mother.  Having a baby, just like starting a new relationship, is not a 4-step program process. Once you get past the the first couple of dates, you devote time getting to know each other to see if your quirks could possibly mesh in a harmonious coexistence.  The more time I spent with this spitty, squirmy but fucking adorable kid, the more tangible motherhood became to me, and the less selfish I became.  I fell in love with this little being, and very slowly, my priorities shifted to a different direction. I found myself at her mercy.  

So though my sleepless nights go unnoticed, my exhaustion unrewarded, I am breaking up with my old career for now.  Because more than the recognition my career brought in my life, this child brought fulfillment. 

And that, my friend, is the bottom line.

In other news, I got a root canal today and hurried home to give Yuna a bath.  It was a hoot doing baby talk while the left side of my face still feels thick and paralyzed.


mades said...

Can you believe how much things have changed???

You are still the same though, the executive of that household with a cutie cute client....... and STILL a few Vegas trips on the side :-P

Gwen said...

LOL! The last two sentences caught me by surprise!

You're right, babies change everything. You focus on them completely, and they would sooner throw up on you than thank you!

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

I love this post. I love that you let your baby change you organically. That's what happened to me. I have always been super driven career-wise. I always planned to keep working 60-hour weeks, on weekends, at night. And then I had my baby and I realized, know what? 40 hours a week is enough. Being a B+ employee is okay. Being a D+ mommy wasn't okay for me. I constantly work to balance, but it definitely changes you!

Tina@ said...

Mades: It's weird, this client doesn't evan pay me squat, yet I'm still happy to oblige. Watch out, you're next babe.

jillsmo said...

You made that title up, didn't you?

Tina@ said...

Gwen: 100% agree with you. It's actually worse than the most dysfunctional relationship I've ever had, at least the bastards I dated before didn't puke on me.

Tina@ said...

Stephanie: I like how you used the word organically. Also, I admire you for cutting down from 60 to 40 hours. It takes detox and rehab to do that.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Tina@ said...

Jill: Yeah!! You like? Feel free to copy!

kitten said...

Things definitely change. Now if we only knew that we were going to end up this way, we would not have bothered working that much, lol. I hear that moms usually get back to their normal self 2 years after giving birth (unless she keeps having babies, then thats a different story), so if you have no plans of having another one soon, you might find yourself craving for a career by then.

Ana said...

Hey Tina,

I found your blog a few days ago and have read almost all of it.

I love this post. My husband and I are starting to seriously think about trying for our first baby. And I am absolutely sick tired of cute mommy stories that claim they changed overnight after motherhood and went from being clueless to being part of the club of the chosen ones endowed with this secret motherhood power.

I want to still be me and learn to be a mother. I want my life to grow and I want to grow with it. That makes me feel that maybe, if I can take the changes slowly and as they come, I may be ready for a baby =)

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