Before I had my daughter, I imagined it would be easy to go back to work. In fact I didn’t really understand how people stayed home full time. However, when my daughter was born I fell into an all consuming, love affair with the precious little life that was mine to care for, to guard, to love, to … well be everything to. Luckily, until my daughter was about 10 mos. old, I was able to stay home full time. After that I was blessed with an extremely flexible and well paying job where I was able to either work from home or bring her with me. Unfortunately, this past June, due to changes in the insurance industry I was laid off. We lasted about a month without my income before it became imperative for me to find another job.
To say I was not thrilled is an understatement. I do not want to leave my daughter, period. There have been lots of tears, lots and lots. The economy has seen fit to deal us three solid blows, which in turn left us at a far different place financially then we were or ever anticipated being when we began to try for a baby. It’s easy to get angry, to rail against how unjust it is that, “we waited till we were ready,” “we did everything right,” etc. But that changes nothing. I am blessed that I only HAVE to work part time. Of course we’d be in an even better situation financially if I worked full time but this is the sacrifice we choose to make so that I am ultimately still raising our daughter.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with has been the transition in my friendships. The well meaning but unintentionally hurtful statements made by friends who don’t fully grasp the necessity of me returning to work. Statements such as: “Well I certainly wouldn’t put my child in preschool so young but I’m sure she’ll be fine.” Really? No kidding, I don’t want her there either but I DO NOT have a choice. “Are you still working?” Um, yep, we haven’t won the lottery yet and considering I just started working a little over a month ago … “Don’t worry, its only temporary.” Hmm … well that sounds great and I sure hope so but what if its not? You know what is only temporary? My daughter being two! Imagine how this is killing me to have to leave her.
I work part time, maybe twenty hours a week. I can only imagine what the mom’s who work full time must hear and I feel terrible because I used to judge them and think that they had a choice … This has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as a parent, it is indeed a necessary evil. I wrack my brain every day for other options and if there is anyway we could pinch a few more pennies to make this work out differently. So far though, this is where we’re at. Some days go smoothly, like today where we had no tears while getting ready and no tears at drop off. Other days, we both cry.
Let me clarify a couple of things: First of all, the only credit card we have is a Target card with a low minimum balance. We live on cash only. Sounds great, but it’s sure not easy. Secondly, we have nothing new. My car is a ‘98, my husbands is an ’05. We do not have huge car payment to contend with. Our TV is so old you can not even buy one like it in stores. This is just a short list, to show you that I am not working so we can spend money. Lastly, I love what I do as a Preschool Teacher but I love my daughter more. So if you think I want to stay home because I don’t like working that is not the case either. I am torn, I am sad, but I am doing what I need to do to keep food on the table and the mortgage paid.
I decided to blog about this to vent a little for sure, but more than anything to help others understand what it’s like as a mom when you have to work as opposed to wanting to work. I used to think I would work because I wanted to; it has become the exact opposite. I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to stay home with my daughter for so long, it was a privilege I took for granted. Now I am soaking up every little moment we have together when I’m not working which is why I am currently laying next to her in bed, while she naps. So for now I’m a working mom, but of course if the opportunity arises for me to be home full time with her again, you can be sure I’ll take it!