Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Only Constant in Life is Change

"We can no longer accomodate your current schedule. The company is making some exciting changes as a result of our growth. Unfortunately, telecommuting will no longer be an option. We would prefer if you could work full-time in the office 5 days per week but will accomodate at least 3 days per week in the office. If you choose to go part-time however, your health insurance, vacation/sick time, 401K and other benefits will be withdrawn."

I nodded in compliance, taking in each word and letting its meaning swirl around in my head. By the end of the meeting, the blabber began to resemble the incoherent voice of the teachers of the Pea.nuts comics. Wa Wah Wa Wah Wah Wah.

Although I was caught off-guard, I was not angry. I was not emotional. I was surprisingly at peace.

I have been struggling with balancing work and motherhood for months. Notably ever since the New Year with our company restructuring. My workload tripled from what it had been in 2008. Of course, my pay remained the same. While my job performance has not been lacking - I honestly work harder now than I ever have before - I spend most of my days feeling like a complete and utter failure. I sit Nate down on his playmat surrounded by a lovely array of toys, hoping that would make up for our lack of personal interaction while I worked on media plans and made phone calls. As he becomes more and more mobile, I am simply unable to give him the attention he craves. Case in point: one day, I put Nate down so I could free up both hands to work on a project with a tight deadline. I peeked out of my peripheral vision as he rolled across the floor over to my pump bag. I saw he was sucking on the strap. I didn't think much of it and continued hammering out my proposal. Another minute passed and I looked up to find him chewing the cardboard box of zwieback toast that had fallen out of the bag. I rushed over to find pieces of cardboard scattered on the carpet. I checked his mouth and did not see any remnants but that incident forever haunts me as one of my many "bad momma" moments. Several times, I found myself working at 11pm just to feel like I could get ahead for the next day. I am barely keeping my head above water in the sea of work.

I knew executive management wanted me to come into the office more but I didn't have a solution better than my current arrangement. So, I procrastinated. This meeting was the ultimatum I needed to make a move. My kick in the pants.

After discussing the idea ad nauseum with DH, we decided it was not in our family's best interest to stick Nate in full-time daycare. We vowed from the beginning that we didn't want to bend our family around our jobs so we were staying true to our beliefs. We also discussed the possibility of me working part-time (3 days/week) and decided that the bulk of my salary would basically be paying for childcare. Plus, DH would have to pick up the benefits anyway. Would it really be worth it? After much consideration, we decided no.

I found some side work for DH shortly after our move doing networking and tech support in the evenings and on weekends. He is also working on expanding his own consulting business, which has been in a bit of a lull lately. All of this is sporadic right now, mind you - certainly not matching my monthly contribution - but is looking promising as he has several partnerships in the pipeline. He wants me to use my marketing and advertising talent skills to help get it off the ground.

SAHM-land, here I come. On Monday, I will be putting in my two-weeks notice. My last day of being a working mom will be March 27, 2009.

I am excited yet scared. I've always been a go-getter. Determined. Motivated. I haven't NOT worked since I was 16 years old. I worked full-time and went to school full-time (12+ credits) simulatenously while maintaining a 3.91 GPA so that should speak to my willfulness. It will be a welcome change to have more solo time dedicated to Nate and the housework I've neglected for years. To focus on things in which I am personally vested.

But on the heels of my enthusiasm, I am scared about longevity. I worry about how this employment gap will affect my career opportunities in the future. I worry about making sure I get the adult interaction I need to be fulfilled. I worry about DH burning out from working two jobs and how it could affect our marriage. Would he resent me? But most of all, I'm concerned about our finances. We have enough savings to last us for months but what if DH's side business doesn't live up to our expectations? What in God's name will we do? Maybe I could go back to school or get a home daycare license. Perhaps learn a new trade like crochet or crafts (I did all of my wedding invitations, programs and favors myself!) and start my own little business. Worst case, I guess I could waitress or work retail. Not the greatest option considering my credentials and gargantuan student loans, but it would pay the bills. I would do it for the greater good of my family. They will always come above all else.

If everything works out, as I am hoping and praying, we can even work on TTC #2 this winter without wondering how to afford childcare x 2. Of course, we'll need to ensure our stability before diving in headfirst. But being a SAHM could make family planning more simplistic. See, there is simplicity hidden in the complexity if I dig deep enough.

I'm not entirely sure if this is the right decision. Things could end up being really really good or really really bad. We could end up looking back on this chapter of our lives as being one of the happiest times or being a pennypinching, stressful time we beg to forget. There's really no way to foresee how this will turn out.

I'm putting my faith in the man upstairs. Life as we know it is about to change forever.


Fertilized said...

i am sorry about the ultimatum. I have been there. I did quit. I worried about the same. 1 month out, I feel more confident about my decision than I did when I actually made the decision. If you ever wanna chat - or via email. Shoot me a line.

Holly Crosley said...

I know its a tough pill to swallow, but this will be wonderful! I am about to hit month #3 of SAHMhood and I am just finding my groove and routine, and while the budgeting and pennypinching can be annoying, its worth it for the wellbeing of our family and my baby girl. Please call me and we can chat as I felt and still feel many of the things you mentioned in your post. Also, if you do decide the SAHM thing is not for you, I would be happy to watch Nate for you. But in the meantime, Play dates are a must!!! I love you and please get in touch with me and we can chat about all this. Congratulations though!

Mommy Shoes said...

I know it's scary, but I think it's a great decision. I honestly don't think you will regret it.

Melissa said...

I think you're making the right decision about being a SAHM. I recently gave up my full-time, high-paying career to stay at home with my daughter. It's a huge sacrifice, but I always feel that family comes first. I won't lie - it's definitely a big adjustment (the lack of adult interaction during the day is by far the worst) but it gets better. Congrats on your decision! Don't sweat the small stuff; everything will fall into place. You'll see. :)

Rachel said...

What an awful ultimatum. You sound so calm about the next step - I really hope that it works out well for your family.

eggorchicken said...

Wow, that is a big change.

After my daughter was born I was hysterical when I had to go back to work. I had always loved my job but being forced to go back and leave her (she was 9 months old when I started work btw so it's not even as if I can complain!) and I was devastated.

I spent my days telling anyone and everyone that I just wanted to be a SAHM.

The day that my dh sat me down and showed me that it could work, the day that he told me to resign I suddenly freaked out and was hit by many of the same fears as you.

I've been a SAHM for almost 2 years now and I. Love. It.

Yes, there are times when I miss my job - a lot. There are also times when I want to throttle my kids (lol) - but the minute I even start considering trying to find work again...I suddenly realise just how much I'm taking for granted, and how much I would miss if I were to go back to work.

I know this SAHM business is not for everyone - but I won't go back to work, by choice, anytime soon. THIS is where I belong.

I really hope it works out that way for you too!!

Good luck, it's a wild ride..and I have a feeling you're gonna love it ;)


deanna said...

Geez, do I ever know how frigging hard it is to work with a baby. Always feeling like a subpar mom and a mediocre employee. I'm sorry you were pushed around by your company, but I'm also excited for you (and jealous as hell!) Wishing you the very best on your new journey.

Katie said...

OH MY GOSH!!!! Welcome to SAHM-land! If you have been reading along over at my blog, you know that my husband and I recently came to the same decision. I have had many mixed emotions on the matter, but the bottom line, I think we made the right decision and it sounds as if you have as well. When I get extra cuddles with Will in the morning and am not always rushing around to get out the door, it just starts the whole day out on a different note.

That being said, my type A personality still has plenty of plans for us during the day and I always have a to-do list a mile long. Knowing you, the same will also be true in your house.

Good luck, Sweetheart, and lots of hugs through this transition. Now, I just wish we lived closer so we could playdate!

Elizabeth said...

Wow, that will be a big change! But you are so thoughtful and careful about it all.

docgrumbles said...

Wow, good luck with the big transition. I am sure you will not regret your decision.

Fiddle1 said...

I made the decision to be a SAHM before pregnancy. That said, it was not easy leaving my job as a wildlife biologist. I loved my work, and getting such a great job again will be next to impossible. I'm only 12 weeks into motherhood, but I know it was totally the right decision. I loved the extra income and the outdoor adventures, but I know now that I'm where I'm supposed to be. Look at it like this: you got to have the job for X many years, now you get to do something else for a while. Once you get into your routine at home, a WHOLE new world will open'll be amazed at the things that you will enjoy. Congrats!

Katie said...

Just checking in on you . . .

Katie said...

Still stalking you. I saw your twitter updates that you had a loss. You are in my thoughts.