Today I am excited and honored to be guest posting over on Julia's blog - My Life In Transition - as part of her "Moms Make it Work" series. I really hope you guys have had a chance to read some of the posts in this series - they're amazing (click that link to see them all). Julia is putting together a collective voice of REAL women/moms, coming from all backgrounds, who have different ways of rocking motherhood. Some of us work full time outside of the home, some run businesses out of their home, and some are home with the kids full time or part time or any mixture of above. Each guest poster has a chance to talk about how they "make it work" for their family. In the constant battle of mommy-wars and who does it best, this series has been a really lovely way to support all moms, regardless of "working" status - because whether or not you're getting paid for it, if you're a mom, you're working your ass off.
I'm thrilled to be able to share my "working" story over there today. As a full-time working lawyer and mama, I'm no stranger to the "working mama woes." I've always known I wanted to be a working mom, but when it came right down to it, the decision to go back to work wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I've included a little excerpt from my post below, but I hope you'll jump over to Julia's blog and read the whole thing (get some coffee first, it's wordy).
"When we finally found out we were expecting, my husband and I had that much-anticipated conversation about what we were going to do for childcare once the baby arrived. Our first choice would be whether I would stay home with the baby or go back to work. Ryan and I have similar jobs and therefore similar salaries; if I left my position our household income would be cut in half. We could definitely make it on one salary, but with a mortgage, car payments, insurance, bills and my (unbelievably high) student loans, it would require a lot of sacrifice and downsizing. Not to mention it would be nearly impossible to save money for private schooling, family vacations, college funds and all the other things we were used to and wanted for our children. I also worried a lot about being so reliant on my husband and his income. I value my independence so much; it would have been a very scary feeling for me to give that up and been so dependent on someone else. Financially, leaving my job didn’t seem like the right move for us. In addition, leaving the workforce (and particularly leaving a flexible job that I loved) didn’t seem like the right move for my career, either. I knew if I left, it would be very difficult to keep up with yearly continuing legal education requirements, bar association memberships and required fees and payments. Plus, I worried about my credentials and experience being outdated if I took years off and tried to rejoin the legal work force later in life. Who would ever hire me? So, back to work it was.
However, I was really torn up about our decision. I never imagined myself as a stay-at-home-mom, but I had a very difficult time with the thought of someone else raising my child. We had tried so hard for so many years to get this baby, going back to work just three short months into his life felt like abandonment. There were so many crazy thoughts running through my head at the time. I wanted him so badly, how could I not then be there for him? I knew a few hours in the evening and weekends with my baby were just not going to be enough time with him. How would he handle being away from his mother all day? How would I handle being at work while he was growing up and doing things as I was missing it? How could I possibly be so selfish about wanting a career and to take vacations that it was worth missing out on his life? I wanted to stay home (or so I thought). So, Ryan and I made the decision that I would go back to work on a trial basis. We’d try it out for three months and if things felt ok (meaning the world hadn’t ended), we’d give it another three months and make a final decision then. If I still wanted to stay home, we’d figure out how to make it work. That would also give us time to save money and give me a better idea about whether I could handle it. Hypothetically assessing the situation while hormonal and pregnant was one thing – reality would prove to be another."
So please head over to Julia's blog and leave a comment. I'll love you forever, ok? :)