(this post is a sequel to what I wrote here.)
………Yesterday was different then I expected. I woke in the morning without a clue as to what I was going to do. I thought that maybe a good night's rest would give me some great insight or miraculous decision but…..nothing. I got ready and as I poured creamer into my coffee, I saw a little figure round the corner. Scarlett was up earlier than usual.
"Mama, I want to cuddle you." She said quietly.
I put down my coffee and hugged her little body. I put her in my bed and turned on The Little Mermaid as she requested. In the master bathroom, I put on my make-up and watched her lay sweetly in my bed, cuddling her blankie. I looked back in the mirror and just stared for a moment. I said a silent prayer, God, just show me what I should do. I can't figure this out right now. I haven't been to church in I don't know how long but still, I feel like I've always had a spiritual relationship. I went about the morning. Scarlett didn't fight me to get dressed as she usually does. Maybe she could sense that I couldn't struggle this morning- that I was a bit indifferent. We ate breakfast together and I felt like I connected with her more that morning than I have in a long time. I actually took the time to watch her and talk to her instead of rushing. When I pulled into the school parking lot, I prepared myself for the screams of fear from Scarlett and the tears that I would fight back again. Scarlett took my hand and walked into school with me. We put in the code to the door and headed to her classroom. We hung up her jacket in the little cubby that held her name above it. I was completely confused by her calm manner.
"Can you say good-bye to Mama?" I asked her. She turned to me, hugged me and then reached her little chin towards me for a kiss. The sweetest baby kiss. She looked up at me, "Bye Mama." and away she went…..
The drive to work was calm. I listened to music and didn't think about a thing. When I got into work and sat down at my desk, all of a sudden the thoughts that were scattered started to merge as one in my mind like a puzzle fitting together. I just knew. I knew all along really. I knew the answer & what was going to be the best for my family & me.
Today, I accepted the job offer on the terms that there will be a full time opening at Scarlett's school. They said to take my time on figuring it out and that they were excited that I was interested. There are so many aspects to my decision. Although I wrote this detailed blog post yesterday about the pros and cons, the guilt and happiness, it still doesn't really touch the surface of all the factors. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with Scarlett for the first 2 years, 4 months of her life. I nursed her for 11 months. I watched her take her first footsteps and cheered when she learned to count. I listened to her sing her first song and captured all of those moments of video! I took photos left and right and I documented everything, (some here on my blog and some on a private blog that I created just for her).
I loved every minute of it. But towards the last 3 months or so as Scarlett became independent, I started to feel a bit lost. I honestly didn't know what I was missing. I just kept thinking, Someday Scarlett will be off to school, hanging out with her friends, Ty will be working and what will I be doing? When you become a mother, a lot changes. But the fact that you are still your own person doesn't. You still have wants, desires, needs and goals. You still deserve to be happy and do things that bring you satisfaction. For some people, raising babies is enough. Everyone is different can't be said enough. For me, I needed some sort of other accomplishment. Something to keep me busy. Life is full of chapters. I loved my time as a stay-at-home mother and that time will hopefully come again, but I was ready for the next chapter. That readiness happens at different times for each of us. I started to look for full-time work. I figured, if I'm going to go to work I might as well get some health insurance for us. (We lost ours when we moved to NY) When I found a 3 day-a-week job that I really loved, I was ecstatic! I got the best of both worlds; minus the insurance of course. But I was willing to take that since I got 4 days a week home with Scarlett. God had answered my prayers. I was content with this. That is until Scarlett started getting chronic ear infections. We were paying for all medical expenses out of pocket. All of a sudden, the reasons that I took the job seemed useless. My income was going to medical bills. Mind you, I think I am compensated well with this wonderful company, but without heath insurance and the price of childcare, we were taking in the same amount of money with me working and Scarlett in daycare, as we would if I stayed home with her. That was when my contemplating on giving my notice came into play. Part-time just wasn't worth it.
This job was never about the money. I know that money plays a big part in why a lot of mothers work. We are fortunate enough that Ty does just fine in supporting us. I simply work because it gives me a sense of happiness and self-worth. I enjoy it. If it were some unappreciative company that treated me poorly, I wouldn't have even contemplated this. I really love working for this company. They reward me, they appreciate me and they compensate me well. The new job offer completely surprised me. The first thing that I thought of when they asked me was: Scarlett.
I know by the amount of responses that I've received in the last 24 hours that this situation effects many women. Let me tell you my mind-set today after all of those pieces started to come together in my head:
Ty and I would love to have more children. Preferably in the next couple years. But honestly, the no insurance thing was really playing a factor on us having more. This new full-time position offers full 100% paid for insurance. Pretty impressive. Say that we do have another baby in the next couple of years; I will, without a doubt, want to take some time with that baby as I did raising Scarlett. And if I was home, I'd keep Scarlett home with me, too. So now is the time for me to do the things that I might not be able to do then. Scarlett used to love going to school. It's only been the last couple of weeks that she has seemed to despise it. Today she showed me that she can go to school and have fun like she used to. It reminded me of her first day of school. She cried that she couldn't go because her Doctor hadn't signed a paper. As for her ear issues, I've started to research pediatric chiropractors for ear infections and we have a couple of consultations with them and an ENT specialist. We'll figure it out.
No, Scarlett and I won't have as much time together. I might miss her doing some new things that I wouldn't miss if I was home with her. But I got to spend 2 1/2 amazing years at home with her, witnessing her firsts. That's more than a lot of mothers get. I've also realized that when I have less time with her, the quality of our time increases. I listen more. I play more. Kind of like when I moved to New York. I see my Massachusetts family more now then I ever did when I lived there with them. You make the effort. Yesterday morning when I was thinking about how little time I was going to have with Scarlett if I accepted, I made those moments count. And I think quality time is more important than quantity time. Choosing to go back to work does not make me a bad mother. It makes me a great mother for knowing enough to know that my happiness will make me a better, happier mother.
Here's the thing, if I choose to take this job, at any point, I can change my mind. Maybe it doesn't work out. Then I go back to part-time and nothing has changed. But if I say no, and keep going down this road thinking, what if? I know I will regret it. Maybe you think that I am selfish, but I really want this. I want to go to work and accomplish things. There is no right or wrong decision for mothers faced with this debacle. Each family, story and situation is different. If you are in a similar place, you just have to do what is best for your family. I think that the answer lies inside each one of us whether we see it right away or not. As mothers we have an amazing intuition that is usually spot on. We should allow ourselves to follow it more often.
***I want to Thank you all for the thought-felt words, comments, emails and messages. Every comment gave me a different outlook and really helped me see things from different perspectives. It's so amazing that there is so many people out there that care. Thank you all. xoxo