I have been at my job for almost 5 full years. I was the first administrator, and have seen the program grow from a misfit group without a real home, scattered across a large campus, to a cohesive unit, and a constantly growing number of students. Because there is so much going on between student demands, research projects, and new partnerships, I have to constantly be multi-tasking and juggling multiple deadlines.
It surprises me how fast the time has gone, and I have been more anxious about leaving my faculty and students in the hands of someone else (although I am sure Emma will do a great job) than I am about having and caring for a newborn. I have spent so much time learning to read between the lines of the questions people ask, and what they actually need help with, and creating the right network of people across campus to help me deal with the complex situations my students need assistance with. Although I can teach Emma generic procedures and protocols, provide her with timelines and deadlines, I cannot teach her how to understand what a student needs or make her comfortable reaching out to my network in only a few weeks of training.
It feels like I am leaving one baby, that I have nurtured and helped develop over the past 5 years to take on the challenge of a different baby. Jumping into the world of parenthood, a world that I know nothing about, and leaving a world that I am very comfortable in. It is a scary leap to make, but eventually I will get comfortable with my new role, and get back into the office, guiding the next group of students and projects.
For anyone reading this, I would love to know your thoughts on transitioning into maternity leave and parenthood. Was it tough to take time away form your office or business?