Back when I had Harrison 3 1/2 years ago, I decided that I would go back to work after my maternity leave ended. I hadn’t really established solid career experience yet and I felt that it was important that I gain more so that if I ever did decide to stay home that I’d have a decent resume later. It was something that I really struggled with the first year of Harrison’s life because there were just So Many challenges with that kid and everything was so stressful and we had a stupid dog that was just too much bat-shit-crazy. I can’t even verbalize how hard that first year with him was, but we all made it through and it got easier. Then Bennett came along and I thought about career vs. being at home again, and again decided that I should return to work but for other reasons. This time it was because I wanted to keep my kids in their school – Harrison thrives at the school we have him in and he has really wonderful friends, and because of Harrison’s great experience I wanted Bennett to have that too. I just couldn’t imagine myself being at home and trying to teach my kids stuff like colors and the alphabet and songs and stuff all day long while also trying to keep the house from falling down and my sanity. Not to mention the financials of it – I still have college loans that I’m paying off.
As far as my career goes, I’m fully established at this point and in that respect I know that I made the right decision. Both of the kids really enjoy going to school 4 days a week and they enjoy seeing Nana and Papa 1 day a week. Nobody cries at drop-off and everyone is happy to come home at pick-up. For the kids, it’s really a good balance. It’s expensive as hell but that’s really just how it is for us – it’s a good school that couldn’t get any more convenient in location.
The other day, someone came over my house and this woman likes to talk. A Lot. We have an arrangement so she comes and cleans our house once a month. Anyhow, in the first 5 minutes of her arrival she was living my biggest fears. She stayed home after having twins 16 years ago, never worked at all, and now Needs to get a job for various reasons and she has no resume, no skills, no experience in any kind of work place and is in her late 40s. There are so many things working against her. She’s going to lose her house, she’s in the middle of an ugly divorce, and really she lives in a weird alternate reality where she thinks she can just get like My Job. Literally. Her father knows someone who works high up at a competitor of ours and she’s just kind of talking to them about becoming my job description. So I sat there and gave her a background of what she would need to do etc., and by the end of the conversation it was completely evident to me that this woman was in serious trouble and the worse part is that she really had no idea. I suggested that she take some classes in Microsoft Office so she can at least get up to speed and be able to reference that in an interview or a resume, and she kind of shot that down – but she’s never used Excel before… I don’t even know, like I’m not sure what kind of skills she plans on presenting to have. But really, that’s my fear that I’d be out of the work place for so long that I’d be too out of touch and out of skill to get back in. I mean what if something happened and I didn’t have a resume or any skills or experience and I had to support my family somehow? That’s scary. Clearly, I could get an entry level job and try to work my way up but can that support a family? I don’t think so. OMG my anxiety throbs for this woman.
So anyhow, now I work full time and the kids are in the care of others from 8am-5pm during the work week. I don’t really have that “mom guilt” that others seem to experience but like I said, we love their school, they love their teachers and their friends, so really everyone is happy at the end of the day. I get to bring home a paycheck and I’m somehow still able to juggle laundry, grocery shopping, dry cleaning pickups, and the multiple doctor’s appointments that kids seem to need. It’s a crazy life, but right now it’s the right one for me. I’m probably lucky that I don’t have those pulsating regrets of not being there for my kids. I mean, I’m there. I’m there in the middle of the night when they need me, I do breakfast and dinner and bath time, and story time, and building houses, and finding monsters, and playing storm troopers, and applying eczema medicine, and changing peed on sheets, and keeping the house full of snacks and yogurt, so really I’m like THERE. What’s not really there is my own life – I don’t see friends that often or get out of the house all that much or go on vacations, but I think I don’t care that much about that stuff either.
Truly, I know that everyone does what is best for them and their families. I’m just glad that I made the choices that I did.