Friday, 30 August 2013

To work or not to work?

(That is the question...)

Whether 'tis nobler as a mom to suffer
The pangs and pain of outrageous guilt 
as I send my baby to daycare
Or to take the plunge in the working world
And by doing so strengthen our future...

For parents and children (and teachers, I would imagine) January first means very little. For us, September is the real start of the new year. New school year, new teachers, new grades, new after-school activities, new sports, new teams, new tryouts, new parents' groups, new daycare arrangements. 

September is the start of a new year with a new schedule for anyone with a family - so it's only natural as summer winds down and I'm busy getting the kids ready for back-to-school and registering for next season's sports that I find myself thinking about my own schedule. Not my family's schedule. Not my "Mom" schedule. Not my schedule as chauffeur, chef, cleaning staff, coach, classroom helper, personal shopper, personal assistant and referee. But my schedule. Me, as a human being in and of myself. Just me.

I'm thinking of going back to work.

I know - I've planned my entire life around being a stay-at-home mom because I don't want to miss my kids' childhood moments.

Here's the thing. My company's largest contract - the one that enables me to work from home and earn an income and raise my kids without missing any of those precious moments - is up early next year. For a variety of reasons and circumstances, it's not likely the current arrangement can continue. As my company's largest contract, I worked at this particular facility myself until my youngest son was born. If I choose to return to run the facility again I am almost guaranteed that the Board will renew my company's contract for another three years - and every three years for the forseeable future.

In an ideal world, I'd stay home until my youngest son started school full-time: two more years from now. The reality, however, is that the world isn't organized to accommodate my personal whims, and if I wait another two years this opportunity will likely have passed me by.

And this job is a dream job for a hands-on mom who wants to be home with her kids. I would work three hours a day, which means only a few hours of daycare for my youngest, and I could still walk the older boys to and from school - as far as they're concerned I'd still be an at-home mom. I'd get Christmas vacation and March Break off and up to five weeks' vacation in the summer. And - I'd earn a full-time salary. For teaching a couple of fitness classes a day while my kids are at school anyway.

It's a perfect job, really. I would never have left in the first place if I didn't want to be home to raise my baby. And therein lies my dilemma.

I want to stay home until all of my boys are in school.

When I go back to work I want to be there for my kids before and after school until they're grown.

This job gives me that opportunity - but this job will start a year and a half before Baby will start kindergarten.

There's no other job in the world that will pay me this kind of salary for these kinds of hours.

Is it worth giving up my dream job for the sake of one extra year home with my baby?

Did you have a tough stay-at-home or back-to-work decision to make? How did you decide? Please share your stories in the comments below!

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  1. Did u end up deciding to go back to work? I have no choice but to go back to work but my job is not family friendly and I will be missing so much of my baby's life. I'm struggling to find something more family friendly. Even though I know there are other moms out there who have to make the hard decision about going back to work it is just nice to read about it first hand like in this post!

    1. It's such a hard decision - and definitely nice to hear other people's stories & struggles. I ended up deciding to stay home - it costs a lot to return to work when it means three kids in daycare and buying & insuring a second car. And when it came down to it the actual idea of returning to work and not being home with my kids gave me panic attacks, so I knew I couldn't do it. It will mean some sacrifices for us for the next year or so - but I'm happy with my choice. And I know I'm lucky to have the choice; not everyone does. Good luck to you!