Sunday, April 13, 2014

THEE Countdown Begins....

Don't get excited. I'm referring to the countdown for starting back at work the Monday after Easter.

How am I feeling about returning to work after a whole year off???

Well, you see, that depends on the day, hour, minute....

First thing's first: I know that I am SUPER lucky to have been able to take a full year off. I don't know many women that are able to do so. So I had a full year with both my babies.

But like many big changes, I have mixed emotions. Part of me wants to go back, part of me dreads going back.

Things I look forward to: my morning commute (I know, weird)'s just me, my coffee, country roads, and the Elvis Duran radio show; my coworkers (most of them); adult interaction on a daily basis; having more of a routine; using a different part of my brain for the job; the day to day variability....

Oh-and did I mention that I only work for ten weeks and then have the summer off??? Yeah, work ten weeks, off for ten weeks! So there's that!!! I kind of feel like I'm just getting my feet wet this year.  I can handle anything for ten weeks, right????!!!!

Things that are kind of bumming me out: working five days a week and not seeing my girls all day every day! Going into annual review season, which means a lot of meetings for a school psychologist; workplace drama; boss drama (thinking of one boss in particular); being stretched too thin, last minute evaluations and testing; annual review stress.

But of course, the biggest con is that I won't get to see my girls for 12+ hours a day. But I generally like work. I mean, sure, there are days I hate it, days that are a drag, but I usually like my job and think that I am doing something important.

I guess I'm feeling guilty because I know that, if I were really adamant about being a stay at home mom, we could make it work. My husband is fortunate enough to make a good living as a software developer. We could make it work. It would take some changes, but whatever. The thing is-I like the security of working. I don't want to give that security up, knowing that I could support us if Dan were injured or whatever. I also carry the insurance...and our insurance is top notch! But I think, also, love it or hate it, work is part of who I am...part of what I was raised for. And I feel like something is missing when I'm not doing some sort of work in some capacity outside of the home.

Giving up work would be giving up financial and personal security, giving up my state retirement (!), giving up my awesome insurance plan, and changing the way we live. The other thing is, I could go back to work after Hayden begins kindergarten, but by that time I wouldn't be able to go back to the job I have now. The job hunt would start again, I would have to start a tenure track again, I would have to retire later, and it's very hard to get a job as a school psychologist after taking five years off! I would no longer be "relevant"-as horrible as that sounds.

So anyway, I've made the choice to go back. And it makes me happy and sad. And I feel guilty, but I've also resigned myself to knowing that moms always feel guilty about something. My kids are happy, they know we love them more than anything, they are clothed and fed and emotionally/intellectually stimulated. That's all that matters. And daycare/school gives them something I can't staying at home...a world outside of home. New friends, new daily experiences...a balanced life. I know myself, and a strength of mine as a parent IS NOT getting creative with crafts, etc. So this is stuff they get elsewhere. And I'm ok with that.

And I also know that I am blessed to be in the field I'm in. I help people for a living, families and kids. BUT-this is also such a family friendly field. I'm out of work by 3:20 everyday. I only work Monday through Friday. I have summers off, all holidays off and will have all the same school breaks as my kids! I only work roughly 180 days/year-so I have half the year off! So there you go. It's kind of the best of both worlds.

And I know that I sound like I'm trying to convince myself that everything is all good. And maybe I am. All I know is that I AM lucky to have options, to be able to actually choose staying home vs. going back to work.

Now if only they would let me work three days/week...I'd be all over that in a heartbeat, no guilt, no drama!


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