Long before I ever got pregnant, I imaged myself as the kind of woman who would want to be a stay-at-home mom. When we decided to have a baby though, it was with the understanding that I would have to return to work. The bottom line was that we needed my paycheck.
I wasn’t prepared for just how difficult that would be for me and how sad it would make me when the day finally came for my return to work. I was lucky to have four months at home, but I still wanted more. I am acutely aware that this time in Annabel’s life is so fleeting, and I feel like I’m missing so much of it by being away from her all day every weekday.
So ever since I returned to work, I’ve been planning and scheming and discussing with Nathan how we could make changes that would allow me to be home more with Annabel. We discussed having me leave work altogether at the end of the year and that was our tentative plan for a while. But then I started to feel a shift. As much as I wanted and needed more time with Annabel, I also found myself enjoying feeling a little bit like my old self, my pre-baby self who could go out to lunch with friends and socialize a bit during the day. I started to fear being home all the time and falling into a rut of sorts, where Annabel and I stayed in our pajamas everyday and never left the house. It’s hard for me to admit that because it makes me feel selfish and like a bad mom. But there it is.
That’s when it occurred to me that going part-time at work might be the best of both worlds. I thought it would allow me time outside of the house, with adult interaction while also giving me twice as much time at home, with Annabel. More time to get stuff done around the house, so that when we’re all home on the weekends, we can actually do fun things and enjoy ourselves without having to rush around to get all of the “chores” done for the week.
And so I approached my supervisor at work. After he had approached me about some changes they were hoping to make to my position, I threw it out there. I fully expected it to be thrown back at me, and in a way it was. But then a funny thing happened. This supervisor of mine, who is approaching 70 years old and always intimidated the hell out of me, began to open up about his experiences raising his two kids. We had a lot of personal conversations where he told me about all of his regrets. He said that if he could go back, he wouldn’t have worked so much. Either he or his wife would have stayed home with the kids. He told me how important he now knew that to be. And in those conversations, we forged a bond. And I knew he was on my team. He would do what he could to make my request a reality, because if he couldn’t go back and fix his own mistake, he wanted to at least help another family not to make the same one. Those conversations also served to give me the confidence to know that we were doing the right thing, that even if money was tight for a few months, the long term payoff would more than outweigh any sacrifices that we would make now.
And from there a position was created. It’s not at all what I was originally envisioning, but it’s quite possibly much better.
More important than the position itself though is the fact that, beginning in July, Annabel will only be in daycare on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wednesday mornings. The rest of the time? She’ll be hanging out with me.
At the pool.
At the park.
In the backyard.
And I can’t wait!