By the time it’s half over, you find yourself playing the pro’s and con’s game of whether or not to return to work. And if you do return, the list turns to the best childcare options for you and your family. Add in multiple children with differing schedules and your list grows…along with all the costs.
When I returned to work from my first leave, it wasn’t long before people started asking the question “When are you having another one?” In fact, during an interview for a promotion, my manager – a woman – asked the very same question!
Female co-workers support each other, right? Nope.
A little background. My office is very female dominated. Director, manager, Supervisor, co-workers – almost all women. So you would think that it’d be easier to deal with things as a woman of child-bearing age like maternity leave, career advancement, and multiple pregnancies. Well, it wasn’t. I don’t know if it was the fact that most of the women either had fully grown children or were too young to start thinking about starting families, but there was a sense of “she’s going to leave again anyway, so why bother”. It’s as if they had forgotten what it was like to have small children and attempt working a full-time job.
When I finally decided to stay home with my 2 kids and quit my job, my next task was to inform my employer. To be honest, I had some anxiety with this part. I wanted to try to convey my enjoyment with the company (whether true or not), and try to keep a door open incase I ever decided to go back – you never know in this economy. I wrote a long, heart-felt email to my supervisor thanking her for her support over the years and indicated what a difficult decision it had been. The response I received was short, to the point, and referred me to HR for any further information. I don’t know what I expected – they weren’t supportive during pregnancy or leave, why would they be supportive now? I hoped I would at least get a “good luck with everything” or “we understand your predicament”… lofty assumptions.
But, at least that part was done. I am officially a Domestic Engineer (previously known as “Stay-at-Home-Mom”)!
Then Reality Sets In
And that’s when another thought came to mind: If I’m staying home all day, does that mean I’m expected to have a clean house, freshly cooked meals, and crisply ironed laundry every day?! If you ask my mom, the answer is simple – YES. No excuses, no substitutions. Just yes. She’s pretty old-school when it comes to home-making. But I get tired of folding laundry, and I like daytime tv! Should I feel bad about having leftovers for dinner? Or if there are dishes in the sink? If the kids are napping (Dear God, make them nap!), I’m more inclined to make a cup of coffee and actually drink it while watching Days of Our Lives than vacuum and cook dinner and scrub toilets. I am what I am.
So, how is being home with two boys under 4 supposed to work? Stay tuned.