Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Challenge - Day 6.

Day 6. Your most embarrassing moment.

Oh, boy.  Here we go.  Most of my embarrassing moments have to do with not holding it together, or not putting myself forward in a way I can be proud of.  It's not very significant, but the first one that comes to mind is from fifth grade.  There had been sort of a nasty smell in the classroom for a while, and somehow someone decided it was coming from my desk.  I was sort of a geek, and fifth grade was probably the height of my torment - my classmates were pretty open in their scorn of me.  This is one of my greatest fears for my kids - that they'll experience the kind of bullying and misery that I did at that age.  This was before bullying was a hot topic, and the school did pretty much nothing about it.  Honestly, I probably shouldn't worry about the kids - they seem to get their social skills from their Dad's side of the family, and it's a pretty social gang.  My sister in law was a queen bee of sorts; the girl I would have been PETRIFIED of in school, and the whole gang was pretty popular.  I like to joke that hubbie never would have married me if we'd met before I escaped that school and was able to stand on my own.

Anyway, you've probably guessed by now that the smell WAS coming from my desk, and was some ridiculously old sandwich I'd stashed in there to save at some point.  I'll never forget how it looked, or the outright nastiness of my classmates, or the feeling that somehow I had now confirmed everything uncool they'd ever thought of me.

Ugh.  I hadn't thought of that in a really long time.  Thanks for the uplifting post today, me!

We all probably have many, many answers to this question.  I also have a more topical, recent one, which I'm still living down.  I've grown out of my awkwardness, and people who meet me in college or beyond have a hard time believing the level of nerd-dom I once acually achieved.  These days, I have a somewhat stern, polished exterior at work, and it's hard to get me to show any kind of weakness.  It's a product of the environment in the office - no excuses.  I actually find it sort of exhilarating to always be on my toes - best game forward.  It's served me well, and I've been promoted quickly and become well respected there. 

But that attitude is not exactly compatible with being a working Mom who always feels like she's hanging by a thread and would rather be with her kids at any given moment of the day.  I've been a Mom for almost four years now, and I still really struggle with not being able to give all of myself to kicking butt at work.   I figure there's only 24 hours of me to go around, though, and any extra time work gets can't go to the kids.  I don't have a hard time making that call at all, so work gets what I have to give it, and no more.  I've definitely become smarter with how I use my work time since becoming a Mom, and hopefully it makes up for the fact that I now refuse to work the significant overtime that is considered status quo. 

Anyhoo!  That's my context setting for the embarrassing moment that bothers me far more than the great sandwich incident of 1980-something.  I was a few weeks back from maternity leave, and Lion had yet to sleep through the night.  (That's actually a nice foreshadowing to the next challenge question about whether I believe in cry-it-out sleep training, but I'll leave you in suspense for now.)  So with a solid 6+ months of sleep deprivation under my belt, my show-no-weakness attitude wasn't really holding up.  Although it was never diagnosed, I'm fairly certain I was also struggling with late-onset post partum depression. It was a real rough patch.

Things were starting to fall through the cracks, and I knew it, and I just could not bring myself to do anything about it.  Not only was I not doing an amazing job, I was totally missing deadlines without batting an eye.  I didn't care, and it was entirely unlike me, which scared me even more.  One afternoon my supervisor came to ask me about the status of a project and I guess it just became too much and I couldn't stop the water works.  It wasn't a huge dramatic moment, but I did cry, and it clearly made him incredibly awkward.  Which made me even more upset.  In one fell swoop I erased over seven years of hard work and transformed myself into a weak, crying, woman.  And I don't think I'll ever be able to erase the way I've changed in his mind.

I'm back to my old self these days, getting some sleep and back on top of my game, but I know I've lost my boss' trust.  Not just because of the tears, although it was almost funny how unable to handle them he was.  I wasn't the person he knew for several weeks, and I'm not sure I'll ever get back the full measure of his confidence.  I've thought about telling him what was going on, but if he couldn't deal with one teary incident, I can't begin to guess how he'd respond to the word Depression.  Not to mention *post partum* depression.  It almost makes me giggle to imagine it, but somehow I don't think it would be a positive move professionally.  Holy cow.

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