Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deciding to stay at home

After being a working mom for almost 5 years, I thought for sure I would continue down that path.  I mean we had made it work with Justin, though stressful at times.  I had a good job where I loved the people I worked with and my clients.  I felt like I was pretty good at what I did.  I was contributing to the family finances and we were doing ok and prepared for the extra daycare costs.  So I figured I would enjoy my nice long, 13 week maternity leave and then be ready to get back into the swing of things with adult interaction and what wrong I was.

I think my first misstep was comparing this with Justin.  He was 4 1/2 years old when he came to us so we weren't dealing with daycare as much as pre-school.  He was ecstatic to start his pre-school and play with friends all day. Plus, that was when Don was off Mondays, so Justin esentially had day-long playdates 4 days a week, all while getting prepared for kindergarten. He was stoked!  I will admit it became stressful as he got older and more involved.  Don and I both worked in an industry that required late nights-me more than him.  I worked about 15 minutes from Justin but Don worked about 40 minutes away so getting him by 6 could be tough and lots of times his practices/games could be at 5, so we had to figure that stuff out, but we did. 

I figured with the baby I would just have to adjust and we'd, like always, figure it out. But Piper came and that theory went out the window.  They learn and do so much that first year, gosh those first three months-I was a mess with the thought of missing any of it.  I think our situation with Justin also added to the yearning of being there-I didn't get this with him, I didn't want to miss it with her.  Oh how we crunched the numbers, but boy was it going to be tight-it just didn't seem like we were going to be able to make it work...then Don got a new job.  It moved him from a 40 minute commute to about 10 blocks down the street.  There was some pay implication and with the money we would save on gas, we decided to recrunch...tight just loosened a belt notch and we went into doable range.

As much as my soul told me that being home was were I should be, my work ethic said that I needed to at least go back. I had never not worked and thought maybe I just needed to get back into it and I would adjust.  I mean the extra money would help and we were able to get Piper into a fabulous daycare facility and Justin was in a great after school program, so back to work I went.

Piper's spot at the daycare didn't open until three weeks after I went back, so god bless the grandparents.  My dad, my mom and mother-in-law all took time to come and be with her to get us through those three weeks.  I felt like this was the perfect transition for the whole family and felt pretty good...until that first day.  I went back to work, but my heart wasn't in it anymore-all I could think about was what I might be missing-I had some serious seperation anxiety.  I muscled through it, trying to be a trooper, but the battle was lost.  I knew that I couldn't be the employee I wanted to be and that they knew me to be. The day we dropped her off at daycare was the day I put in my notice.  I was torn because I didn't want to upset my work or the daycare facility but I had to do what I had to do.  Thankfully, both were extremely understanding and supportive.

It's funny.  I had thought that the nine year age gap would make things a little easier to deal with, being that Justin is a functioning child and able to be somewhat independant.  I mean he can feed himself and shower-that kind of stuff.  But in actuality, the age gap made for a big juggling act.  Justin loves sports and participates in quite a bit, so getting him from school and getting him fed and to practice or a game was always a big hustle for us.  Now we had Piper too, who had a schedule that needed to be kept.  We were running Justin here-shoving a granola bar in his mouth to tie him over, trying to spend a little quality time with Piper before bedtime, getting dinner made, picking Justin up, checking homework, trying to get quality time with Justin, baths, showers- on and on-all between the hours of 5:30 and 8pm. The decision was made.

So here we are.  I am at home and really loving it.  I definitely miss some aspects of work, I'd be lying if I said I didn't.  They say parenting is a thankless job and for the most part they're right.  Work provided yearly reviews with comments and critiques and clients would send accolades for a job well done, I felt like I knew how I was doing and got some moral boosting kudos here and there.  At home you're flying blind-doing the best you can with little feedback.  Hoping and praying that you're getting it right.

The Stin just came in to give me a hug-I'll take that as a Meets Expectations review for now. Here's hoping that I can Exceed Expectations one day!

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