Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Staying at home...

Here's the deal folks. I love the comments on this blog. ALL of them. And since this is sort of my pregnancy journal, I am super brutally-honest-Wednesday about all of the stuff rattling around in my head. Keep commenting, even if you disagree with me. I live for it. <3

And now to continue this string of discussion inducing posts about Mayjah Life Decisions.

One of the swiftest thoughts to pop into my little noggin' when those two lines turned pink was this, "Will I continue working? or will I stay at home?"

Of course, financially this is a decision that all families have to make on their own, and I feel privileged and blessed in a  thousand different ways to be able to even entertain the choice. That isn't to say that we are banking my salary every month (my shopping and eating out habits contribute to that), or that it wouldn't be hard, but we know we can live without my salary. Right now. 

We also know when A's promotions come up, and the exact date we will see increases in pay, and exactly how much they will be. Thank you military pay chart tables. This is certainly a unique situation for most people (so long as A stays in the military and has no hiccups in that direction - knock on wood, since he wants to be a lifer). 

So, financially it would be hard, but doable.

What this means is...it comes down to my choice. Thanks to the fact that my husband is an awesome and supportive person.

Had you asked me when I was 18, my little feminist feeling self would have said, heck yes I will be working! Career woman, huzzah! All those women worked so hard so that we could have these careers! Burned their bras! How could I not fulfill that charge?...and, I will be making more money than my husband, so there. 

Had you asked me in graduate school or now, I would say that I still have that feminist zeal in my heart, but I now truly believe that women fought so that we could have the choice. That was the difference. These women wanted the opportunity and the choice to do the things they wanted to do. And to be honest? I want to stay at home with my kids (at least when they are little). 

Whether that is actually my choice or is a product of mass media and socialization intervening in my life is a discussion for another time. Duly noted.

But Courtney, you may be wondering, why the heck did you go to graduate school and go into all that student loan debt if you really want to be a SAHM? Well, at the time I made that choice, I knew that I had a passion for working with students and wanted to fill my mind with the best brand of knowledge that was calling me. Graduate school was an amazing experience that opened my mind and provided me the opportunity to meet many interesting people. That decision was one of the best I have ever made. I got into a competitive program and I knew that it would challenge me in a hundred ways intellectually and emotionally, and it did just that. I would never take it back.

With all of those feelings, I still have had an ongoing war in my head about staying at home vs. continuing to work when Baby G is born.

My mom stayed at home with us while we were young. She was available to be involved in all sorts of aspects of our lives...Girl Scouts, Boy scouts, President of Little League, you name it, she did it. And I loved that. You don't get those moments back.

On the other hand, I am a pretty independent person, always have been, always will be (first child syndrome). When it comes down to it, will I actually be able to handle the monotony of staying at home with kiddos, or will I want to go running for the hills (or the nice quiet of my office) after a few weeks? And that money honey. Though we don't need it (in a technical we can pay all our bills and eat and such sort of sense), I certainly will not be indulging in J.Crew anymore when that paycheck stops coming.

Ongoing debate.

I was leaning one way more than the other, based not on the money that my job brings to me right now, but the worth and value that it brings to me. Let's just say that if I had a job where I felt inspired every day, and was able to have the relationship that I want to in partnering in student development, it would tip the scales of worth in a completely different way. It's not that I don't appreciate my job (especially in this economy), but for my own sake, I have to consider...

When I begin missing the moments that I inevitably will miss when working full time, will I be able to reconcile that sense of loss with the sense of value obtained from whatever I was doing at that moment?

I am reserving the right to make my final decision until I am actually holding Baby G in my arms. I am humble enough to know that I can even imagine what that will feel like, and I am hoping that the experience of mothering a being outside of my body will make my decision making process a little easier. Luckily, I have the job flexibility, and maternity leave, to be able to do that. 

Yay for procrastinating on Mayjah Life Decisions. 

Oh, BUT WAIT! Did you hear that?!?! 
That was a wrench being thrown into the works.

A few days ago, I was offered the opportunity to interview (this Friday) for a position I applied for in....AUGUST

Pre-Baby G, Pre- rolling the dice, Pre - Italy. 

This position would definitely be a step up into a role that I have wanted since obtaining my graduate degree, or even before then. It is still at the same place, and there are a lot of questions to be answered regarding flexibility/salary/support from the institution, etc. That being said, it is an interesting evolution in this whole process at a time when I was starting to feel like I was settling into a possible decision.

All that I can do is put my best foot forward and give myself the chance to explore this opportunity. No "what-ifs" for this mama.

And if I happen to be offered the job, well, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

And if not? Well then it may make my decision that much easier.

Stay tuned.

21 weeks, 5 days along

...and there is nothing quite like having all these MLD's come at you in a quick fire span of 9 months. 


  1. I think we are in similar situations. If I didn't work, we would still be able to pay our mortgage etc, but we wouldn't really have any extra money for anything. Which would be kinda sad quality of life.

    I'm not sure of the specifics of your job but is it possible to keep your job but cut back on hours? That way you are still getting some adult time and staying relevant in your field. Maybe your choice doesn't have to be all or nothing?

    That is what we are doing. We are lucky that my husbands job has totally flexible hours (as long as he gets his 40 hours in a week he's good, no matter how he goes about it). I think we are going to have him work two long days a week, and three half days. On those three days we will swap places midday and I will go work three half days. If we can fit it in that way, then we will still have Saturdays and Sundays as a family without anyone going into work. While the two long days would stink for both of us, I really like the idea that we would both get alone time with the baby as well as time all together on nights and weekends. Also we wouldn't have to rely on any day care or babysitters so we would be parenting completely. Food for thought! You will figure it out and make the best decision possible, I know it. : )

  2. it is so tricky. I love working a job I am passionate about, but it is so freaking hard to leave your baby. I really struggled when I went back to work (Henry was 9 months).I loved being at work and doing my job, but every time I had to step out of the car I dreaded it. absolutely dreaded it.And that was with Mike watching him! Imagine how I would have felt if it were a stranger. I never thought I would be that way. I always thought I would go right to work.

    my sister, on the other hand, feels just fine going to work and sending luca to day care. Different strokes!

    You have to consider what going back to work would mean for your sleep, your breastfeeding, and your stress. I have a friend that doesn't get off work until 4. She picks up her son at 4:30. Her husband doesn't get home until 6 then the kiddo goes to bed by 8. He would go to bed earlier, but they keep him up so they can see him more. That just makes me sad. Parents do what they have to do, but I would be so sad if I only saw my kiddos for 2-3 hours a day.

  3. I think you should take the longest maternity leave possible and then decide. It's easy to say you want to stay at home or you want to work full time before the baby comes, but you need to see how you feel. I wanted to stay home full time no question while I was pregnant with Izzy, but now by the end of summer break I am ready to go back. I love my family, but I also like my job and I like having a balance of an adult life and a mommy life. Luckily for me my mom watches my kids so I don't have to feel so bad about leaving them. It's such a personal choice so just keep your options open and do what feels best. Maybe part time or volunteer work would be a happy medium for you if you decide you don't want to stay home all the time!

  4. Ahh MLDs are always fun when hormonal right?

    There's no perfect answer---there are pros & cons no matter what you do. How flexible is work? I was fortunate that Ava came with me when I taught and was right down the hall & we only worked 4 days a week which was great. Can you have a flexible schedule? or work from home days?

    I don't think staying home necessarily makes you a good mother the same as working doesn't make you a bad mother. Everyone just does what is best for their family. I adored staying home with Cole & Ava for Cole's first 8 months but we weren't putting a ton in savings and we wanted to do family trips, house upgrades etc so it's a trade-off. {plus no trips to Coach :( }

    If it helps, I honestly have never felt like I've missed out on things. I attend events for Ava's school, I'm involved with the parent committee, I take her to dance & gymnastics, birthday parties, play dates, the park etc. We are very family oriented so when we're home we're giving quality time to the kids and each other, we have breakfast and dinner as a family and we make weekends family time. I know you & A are family oriented too and you'll make your time quality time.

    You also have to consider cost of nanny/child care and is it worth it? When I had Cole he would have added an addition $1400/month on top of Ava's tuition so it didn't make sense for me to work and not bring much home. Child care and early childhood programs can be truly wonderful experiences though so don't be too scared of them :) I was very proud of where I taught and where Ava goes to school so there are great quality options if you do go that route.

    I wish I had an easy answer for you but just know you're not alone. I really want to head back into the Infant development field but that would mean giving up my public school job and vacations and summers off--boo. There is no easy answer {besides moving to Canada where you get a YEAR off!} As long as it's the right choice for your family then you made the right decision :) Good luck!