Thursday, February 12, 2009

Decision Postponed

Okay, okay.

Yes, I know that I haven't posted the update that I promised. I'm so sorry. We made a decision only to unmake it again, then remake it, then unmake it. I'm so tired.

Here is the quick and dirty version of the ongoing saga titled: Should I go back to work or not?

The thing is, we can make it on just one salary, but it's going to be tight. We have savings, but we are definitely the type of people that like a "back up plan." We can't find daycare that we feel comfortable with and the ones that we have liked have waiting lists months long. On the other hand, I do have a great job, with a stable company, and it seems foolhardy to be giving up my salary in the face of these uncertain economic times.

I find myself wrestling with the decision far more than I ever thought possible. Just when we have made our minds up one way or the other, something else comes up and changes the scenario. I won't bore you with all of them, but suffice to say, it's been an interesting rollercoaster.

The final example of this was yesterday, when I tried to call and give my notice. I had expected it to be a brief conversation with my boss saying, "Okay, send me your letter of resignation. Thanks for playing."

Instead, he talked me into extending my leave another couple of months so that we can find suitable childcare and feel better about me coming back to work. Ultimately, I am not sure that this changes our mind, but it does buy us a little more time to think about it.

Honestly, I am not sure that I want more time. We have been torturing ourselves over this decision and I hate dragging it out even more. But part of me just doesn't want to close the door on working. . .

So, there it is. There are many layers, many things to think about. What would you do?


Anonymous said...

I was in this same position three years ago when my son was born. I went back and forth and back and forth, and ultimately went back to work when he was five months old. I was only gone about 10-15 hours a week, and my husband or parents watched him while I was gone. This was still too hard for me, and after a year of trying to make it work, I quit completely and have been home ever since. It was the best decision I ever made.

Everyone says it gets easier as they get older, but that is absolutely not the case. My son will be three in March and he needs me more now than he did when he was an infant. When he was a baby he needed me for survival reasons, now he needs me to teach him how to be a good human being. Every second is a learning opportunity, and I don't want anyone else doing the teaching at this point.

Another factor is that we have fertility issues, and now that we have our babies, I want to have all the time that I can with them.

AJ - (I've been reading your blog for some time, finally got the guts to say something!)

Anonymous said...

I don't know what I would do because we don't even have that as an option right now. I have to return to work after leave and right now, I'm really ok with that. I don't think I could hack being a stay at home mom, but I would really like to entertain the idea of working from home and having B with me at least part time to do that. Obviously it's hard for me to make that decision without him in my life yet.

I think this is one of those gut instinct moments, you have to go with what your gut is telling you, even if it seems muddy right now. There's probably no clear-cut answer but there's probably one that will be better than the other for the short term. And if it doesn't work you can always change your mind later. Though getting a job in this economy might be tricky. Thinking of you!

GibsonTwins said...

I hope you can find peace with whatever your decision.

For us the path was relatively paved in this area. We had two newborns at once therefore making daycare not an option. Hubby and I both worked 45 miles (about 1.5 hour commute each way) from our house. It meant leaving at 6:45am and not getting home til 6:45pm. Thinking of it now, if it would have been even one baby, I would have stayed home. If I lived in the same town as our families, maybe I'd work part time.

Because I am home with them, they have been sick a total of 2 times total and nothing major at that. I know I would miss far too much work if they were daycare kids and then would in turn end up staying home afterall.

It's not an easy decision for you (or anyone) by any means, but it's a crucial one. Good luck in the decision making process, thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

For me it came down to this... At the end of my life, I may regret missing something in my children's lives but I will never regret being their mommy as much as possible. Being at home is the right decision for me. But with that said, it is not the right decision for everyone. I had a working mom and she is the best mom in the whole entire world! I bet I didn't help much ;)

Abc said...

In my situation I can't make enough to cover daycare costs, so it's not even an option. (So glad I got that masters degree! lol)

DS is 18 months and has only been sick one time (I'm no germaphobe - you should see my house!). He's very needy/demanding though and I don't know how he'd be in a daycare setting. AJ is right about how as they get older, they need lots of teaching and discipline. I don't know if I would like how that worked for DS in daycare.

On the one hand, I have the freedom to do whatever errands need to be done, take him to appointments, etc. or just stay home. On the other, it gets OLD. There are days when he's driving me nuts and I am desperately jealous of DH who is away at work.

No, we don't have a ton of money but we've made it work.

Tracy said...

Well, you know what I would do, because I'm doing it. Scott and I decided that there was nothing more important we would do in our lives than raise our children, and we would do WHATEVER we could to make sure WE were raising our children and not putting them in daycare. I think that's the right decision, and while this is the hardest job I've ever had and I sometimes daydream about going to work (and taking lunches!) I wouldn't change a thing. I get to see EVERYTHING. Smiles, laughs, rolls, everything.

BUT, I know that there are lots of great options out there as far as daycare goes, and if you can find one that you think would work for your family, then it's OK to go back to work. I think it's very nice of your boss to give you this time, and I hope that it allows you to come to a conclusion that you are at peace with.


Anonymous said...

I went back to work January 5th. 32 hours a week with wednesdays off.
I never am away more than 2 days. It is perfect for me. I miss my baby but I love being back at work.
My aunt watches her so I know she is in good hands.

Mazzy said...

I wish I had the option to stay home, I would take it immediately. It is a hard and rough place to be in, but you ultimately have to do what feels right for you guys. I think this is probably the hardest decision any of us face and I pray you will find peace about it. ;)

HereWeGoAJen said...

That is a tough decision. I'm glad your boss gave you extra time to think about it.

Amy said...

Just walk away and never look back....that's what you have to do, no matter how scary it is! Will will be out of dipers in a blink of an eye and you don't want to miss a SECOND of me! I love you and we will hire you in 12 why worry???? The timing will be perfect, you will see!! xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I did this five years ago when my second child was born. I had just gotten a big fat raise, but quit anyway. We made it on one salary, and yes, it was tight, but absolutely the best thing for me and my kids. I always wanted to stay home with my kids and putting my older child in daycare at 9 weeks old was hard, not even counting the money I spent to do so. I think you'd never regret staying home, even in a lousy economy. You might miss work, and you'll miss the money sometimes, but you can't replace the time spent with Will. It's priceless. Good luck with your decision!

Nancy in Redmond, WA

Rachel said...

Reading the responses to your post, I was both surprised by the civility of them and the overwhelming endorsement of staying home. I had decided long before getting pregnant that I would not quit my career path, and I'm glad that I have stuck with that decision (even though it is rather a hassle at the moment). I hope you find a compromise that works for all of you - and one that also works for the future. I am proud that my mother always worked and I find that we have a lot more in common now because she worked and is still working (oh, my mother's stories of pumping at work). All I want to say is I'm sure your little guy will be proud of you either way.

Kathy said...

So glad you checked in Katie! I was starting to worry... (((HUGS))) That is very cool that your boss gave you more time to think, though I get that also prolongs the stress of ultimately making the decision.

I understand that whether or not to return to work is a very difficult decision. Bob and I had discussed our thoughts and plan for this before we even got engaged. So we planned our life going forward accordingly. We bought our house based on only his salary and banked mine the entire time I was pregnant to Sean to have a bigger savings and to start getting use to living just based on his.

I know this isn't a possibility for everyone, but it is what worked for us. Having been a stay at home mom for over five years now, I do highly recommend it. That said, I appreciate that a lot of women really like to work in the professional world and/or need to to help support their family. Also with the current economy I get that you want to be responsible and not give away a stable job with a good salary.

Also, even if you decide to stay home, that is not to say you might not do things part time in the years to come before you would return to full time. I never set out to have part time jobs as a SAHM, but over the years ended up training/becoming a certified group fitness instructor and also have been a Tastefully Simple consultant for a few years. Anyway, I guess I am also saying it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Though I think especially initially and/or if you go on to have more children, that if you do stay at home, it is good to start out slow with not many commitments. I know I am babbling, but I hope it is helpful.

You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as you discern what to do. (((HUGS)))

RBandRC said...

If money wasn't an issue I would probably quit to be home with her. But there is a part of me that really loves working, so I would have some reservations. It's easy for me to say I would work though as my parents take Lemy every day, so daycare isn't an issue and they live literally 2 minutes from my job.

I know how hard this decision must be for you. I'm thinking of you and hoping that whatever the outcome you find peace. ((HUGS))

AwkwardMoments said...

You know I hemmed and hawed over this decision. and then When I would finally make the decision - there was always a monkey wrench thrown into the mix. I HATE THAT for you. I am sorry that you thought it was resolved.

I have to say - go with your gut. what feels most right, most ok within your soul. Parenting means so many different things to everyone. What does parenting mean for you.

If you really need the extra time to make sure you make the best decision for your family - Take this wonderful opportunity that presented itself to you.

Hang in there I amjust an email away! Saying prayers for us both

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

Honestly, this is one of the scariest part of infertility for me. I want to have a baby....but dread wrestling with the decision one day of "to quit...or not to quit".

Best wishes to you in making the right decision for your family...

Mrs. Piggy said...

I must say I am jealous you even have the option :) I say go for it, because you can always get back into the workforce, but you can never get time with your kids back! I would so do it if I had the option.

Joy said...

I think it is very nice of your boss to give you an extension! They really want you back. And of course it does give you more time. Who knows what might happen in a couple of months?

I'm secretly rooting for you to be a SAHM because I know you can do it, but if you get to go back to work that'd be great, too. Such a difficult decision but don't do something unless you feel at peace for doing it. Being a SAHM is just as much work and your benefits are snuggles and seeing all of his milestones yourself, firsthand. But being able to make money in, as you said unstable times, also provides for Will in another way. Good luck with your decision! Take your time, sweetie. Be at peace with what you decide.

Anonymous said...

i'm with Rachel up there. almost all of the comments seem one-sided. of course, this decision is very hard to make and its awesome that your boss gave you more time. i hope whatever choice you make works for you and your family.

for me, it was never even an option. by that, i dont mean that its not an option financially - we would have done very well on just my husband's salary. it was just never an option for me to quit working because i really like having a career (not just a job, you know?) i put a lot of work behind it and got a masters too, so i feel like quitting completely would have been a waste of my education (and the student loans!!)

of course, i do sometimes think that it would be nice to quit working in general. but i have never regretted going back to work and i honestly think my son thrives in daycare. he loves going and smiles every morning he sees his teachers.

again, good luck with your decision. i know my point of view is different from others, but i thought you might like to hear a different view. =)

Lauren said...

Thank you so much for your comments....their story has made me see life in a whole different light...

Debby said...

Katie - this ones an easy one for me. I say stay home for sure. I don't have that option at this moment because we require 2 incomes to make ends meet. (Our own fault really - we have acquired much stuff that requires much bills). I am blessed in that I do love my job. But...i would in heartbeat leave it to be able to spend all the wonderful growing moments of Grayson's life with him. If you can afford it, stay home. You won't regret time spent with him.

My 2 cents...but, ultimately you have to do what's best for you guys.

Joy said...

Katie- It's Joy again! Remember about three months ago I was your first Memorial Monday because I had a threatened miscarriage and ended up miscarrying? Well I am pregnant again! Totally unexpected but soooo welcome. We have tried for a long, long time for a third baby. Please pray that this little Jelly Bean (as I've dubbed them) sticks. *HUGS* So far, so good!