When I first decided to go back to work, there was a major practical reason: family finances. We had just relocated to South Carolina, and we were stuck paying rent for our West Columbia apartment and a mortgage for our house in New York, which had not yet sold.
After about two weeks of bills piling up, I realized how tight our finances were going to be stretched while our house sat on the market. I knew what I had to do. I found a babysitter, went on a total of five job interviews, and after a few weeks, I received an offer from the one company I hoped to hear from the most.
I was nervous to leave Lucie all day at first. After all, I had been a stay at home mom the first year and a half of her life. But the babysitter made it easier by text messaging me photos of Lucie playing throughout the day. When I saw what a great time she was having, the transition was a lot easier for me.
Once I overcame the nerves of leaving my daughter with someone else, I realized I truly enjoy the adult interaction and mental stimulation of working a full time job. I also enjoy my time with Lucie, but realized when I was home full time, I had checked out a bit. I was letting the television be her parent, because I was emotionally exhausted trying to entertain her all the time. I was unable to hold an intellectually stimulating conversation with my husband without discussing the accuracies and inaccuracies of “Dinosaur Train” or what science lesson was taught on “Sid the Science Kid”.
I have great respect for women who have the energy to be stay at home moms, but having tried that role myself and then gone back to work outside the home, I’ve realized working full time is much better for me, my family, and our sanity. I feel like I’m contributing to my family financially (and the health insurance from the company I work for is pretty great too), and my husband and I are more equal partners in parenting. I’ve noticed my self-esteem has vastly improved as well, since I’m realizing my potential intellectually while contributing to the success of my family.
Recently I began working an afternoon/evening shift at work, which leaves me some time in the mornings to spend with Lucie. Because I work nights, my husband has the responsibility of caring for Lucie after he gets home from work, bathing her, and putting her to bed. I’m not there for her nighttime routine, but it’s okay.My husband and daughter also have some special one-on-one bonding time as a result.
I have a one hour dinner break, and I come home almost every night to eat dinner with my husband and daughter as a family. This shift transition has allowed my husband and I to have weekends off together, and we realized we now spend quality time together vs. quantity of time.
If you asked me one year ago before we moved to West Columbia if I was thinking of returning to work full time, I probably would have laughed at you. Since rejoining the work force last June, I couldn’t see myself NOT working full time again.
What started out as my attempt to help with the family finances became much more. In fact, I’m a little worried I’m going to go stir crazy when I’m on maternity leave in a few weeks (I’m pregnant with #2 due in April).
I love my family. I love being a mom. But I also love my career, and I wouldn’t trade this path I’ve taken for anything.