Before Andrew was born, Kyle and I talked a lot about my work schedule and what we were going to do. I’ve mentioned this before but we decided that I would work 3 days a week. I was okay with our decision but never felt completely happy or comfortable with it. Fact is, I didn’t really know what I wanted.
I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and I always saw myself as a stay-at-home mom someday. I guess I just always expected it. I know that might sound bad but it’s true. I never really thought about working after having children. As many of you know, adulthood brings about a new set of obligations and stress, so staying home full time wasn’t going to be easy. Finances are the biggest issue but there are other issues, too. One being that – I love where I work. I’m so lucky to work where I do and I love the people I work with. Having some “adult-time” is nice but it’s really mainly about having something of mine, something I can be proud of and I feel accomplished at the end of the day. I also like bringing in some of our family’s money, it just makes me feel better. I also didn’t want to lose my job – how could I give up working somewhere so amazing, especially when I want to go to work full time when my children are in school? So again, there are many reasons to work, but the main downfall is losing precious time with my baby.
It seemed like Kyle and I would re-discuss my work schedule once a month or so, and we always tried to figure out if it would be best if I stayed home with Andrew. Kyle has always been supportive and has always told me to do whatever is going to make me happy. The problem was that I didn’t really know. I didn’t know what I wanted and because of that, I was stressseeeddd ooouuuttt. I finally had a huge meltdown a couple of weeks ago and realized that I needed to make this decision on my own and once and for all. What did I want? If I stayed home would I be happy? Would it be worth pinching pennies for the rest of our lives (or at least for a number of years)? Then I started thinking about preschool in a couple years and I really want Andrew to attend Preschool – I want him to have the social aspect of it. He also loves going to daycare, he never wants to leave! So would it be worth it to stay home for just a few years? I finally decided (after an entire night of crying and panicking) that I wanted to work 2 days a week. Kyle thought I was a little crazy. How can working one less day make such a big difference in my happiness? It just does. I just feel right about it.
So I decided to talk to my boss. It was really up to the company whether or not I work 2 days a week. I was confident going into the conversation because I decided that even if they didn’t go for it, I would be okay with 3 days a week….finally actually be okay with it. I walked into the office and just lost it. I couldn’t keep it together. I cried and tried to talk my way through it but it was hard. I was a basket-case! Fortunately I work for the best company in the freakin’ world and they went for it! I’ve never been so relieved in my life. I talked to our daycare provider the next day and she was okay with it, too! Yahoo!
For the first time since having Andrew, I feel good about our situation and our future. I feel right about things. It’s such an amazing feeling, a feeling that took me a year to grasp but I just had to figure things out for myself. Andrew still gets to go play with his friends, I get to feel accomplished – even bring in a little money, finances are still pretty good (still have to cut back a bit though) and I get 5 full days with my child. When we have our next child, I hope to keep this same plan and I feel good about that, too. The only issue is that they might want me to come back full time before I’m necessarily ready, but I guess that’s not a terrible problem to have right? I mean, they’ve told me they want me full time and want to give me more responsibility, so when they need someone, it’s up to me if that person will be me or not. Again, not complaining or anything, just worried that it might happen before I’m ready…but we will cross that bridge later!
I guess I have a hard time making decisions. I’ve always believed that I’m a fairly independent person and definitely stand by my decisions when I know what I want. What I learned about myself is that when I don’t know 100% what I want, I panic. I can’t always rely on other people helping me make decisions because I’m the one who has to be okay with things, and although that’s hard, it’s doable. I did it. I decided for myself and I feel wonderful! Awhhh. I also feel lucky, so incredibly freakin’ lucky. Seriously.
When it comes to your kids and your family, make a decision that feels right. Use that instinct! Of course many factors always play a role in your decision making process, but you have to feel right. If you don’t feel right, it will eat you alive. It did me – and I learned my lesson.