Friday, June 19, 2015

Know when to fold em

I am facing a dilemma. As maternity leave draws to a close, my future as a working mom hangs in the balance. I am at a crossroads. I applied for a management position and didn't get it, based on two specific areas of experience, so my options are to stay in my current role and most likely gain no more experience in those areas while paying the cost of full-time daycare for two children, or leave my job and stay home for the next year and two months until The Babe is in Kindergarten and childcare costs drop dramatically but it creates a hole in my resume, or leave my current role and begin full-time job hunting for something where I can continue to gain the experience I need and want and if found, decide whether or not to put the kids in full-time daycare or have my husband stay home until school begins. No path is right or wrong, black or white, and each has its pros and cons.

To say it is consuming me would be an understatement. I play out each scenario as I am brushing my teeth, flipping the laundry and planning my next few weeks. I am creating budgets, reading articles and consulting a few people who have been in this scenario before. On the one hand, I read somewhere that if you have been lucky enough to receive a post-secondary education, you owe it to the institution to follow through and use that education. Which to me means working in my field. On the other hand, countless people have taken me aside over the last year and told me that you don't get this time back, your babies are only babies once. That if I have the opportunity to stay home for a little while, I should seriously consider doing it.

I am reading article after article about the mass exodus of educated women leaving the workforce after becoming mothers and I feel a kinship to this unnamed mass. With no family nearby to take care of our girls during the day, daycare is the only choice. Our daycare is on the more expensive end, but it works for our lives and we have a bond with the staff, which is worth the money. Changing daycares to save money so I stay in my current role is not the way my priorities work. I have yet to explore the freelance and contract world, this is on my task list for next week.

I feel as though I have spent the last two days in a fog, not entirely present for my husband and the girls. I am sad and confused. But perhaps this is a good thing. It is forcing me to sit down and work out exactly what my priorities and goals are. It is forcing me to write about it, always a cathartic process. As I go through this weekend, Father's Day weekend, I will be thinking about my own parents and the decisions they made. I will spend the weekend with friends and family and then I will approach next week with clarity and a positive outlook.

If you have found yourself in a similar situation, please feel free to weigh in with your process and outcome here.

~ H


  1. Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  2. When I look at making a life decision, I find it helpful to do two things. First, I write down my vision of the ideal life, situation, job and anything else I want in my life. I leave aside the challenges, worries, finances (for a moment), opinions and guilt.

    This isn't just about brainstorming, it's about a full on brain vomit of ideas. Just write about what would make you feel happiest and the most fulfilled.

    That's your starting point for change or your goal. Don't think in terms of just this year, think in terms of 5 or 10 years. That's the time frame for real/large change. Let it sit for a while. Digest it. Add to it.

    Second, choose the best scenario from 5 or 10 years out and backtrack to today. Fill in the things you want, need, education needed, family time, funding, emotional preparedness etc. Instead of starting with obstacles, or giving them equal weight, you are starting with your goals and coming up with ways to meet each challenge.

    You have a fantastic, brilliant, mind. Your family and friends will support you and offer feedback. You have education which, in addition to providing opportunities in your field, should be proof that if you choose more education, you can do it. You're a mom and you love your children; You will continue to make them important in your life.

    Heather, you're fantastic. The path just opened up to many options. Go for it!