Monday, October 3, 2011

School, work, family, work?

The other day, I had a great conversation with another adult (doesn't happen often) about our career choices, and the family choices we've made that have altered the course of our careers.  We both spent years working towards our education and building careers, then married men we follow around the country, and had babies.

I love my children very much, but I miss my career a lot too, and I make no excuses, I simply can't hack it as a working Mom with my husband in the Coast Guard.  My old job requires the kind of hours that daycares don't handle, and his schedule require the kind of hours/days/weeks/months away that daycares don't handle.  So either I bring in a Nanny (not a huge fan for a few reasons not for discussion here) or work a reduced schedule (aka a normal 9-5 workday), which just barely pays for two daycares, or I stay home and do a better job of balancing the budget than our Congress seems to be able to do.  I'll take the stress of balancing a budget over the stress of getting two kids ready for daycare by 7am! 

I'm still in contact with my old coworkers and the head hunters in the accounting world, which often leads to solicitations for my resume.  They dangle a generous salary in front of me, and promise family-friendly hours (which we all know is a lie) but I just can't bring myself to go back and add the stress of a job to the stress of two kids 21 months apart and a third one scheduled 23 months after the second.  And the other day, after a wonderful conversation about balancing family and career, I had a lovely dream with THE SOLUTION:  Soon Chester will be old enough for pre-school when he turns three, and I can go back part time! 

Umm, until I woke up and remembered I'm pregnant.  Going back to work will just have to wait. 

As another wise friend said later in the week, "The light at the end of the tunnel is really far away right now, but it is there."  She's proof- her lovely children are in high school, middle school and 3rd grade.  It's a different kid of busy, a different kind of stressful, but she's also beginning to reclaim herself.  She can go on dates with her husband on last minute notice because her oldest can babysit her youngest!  She can work part time without paying ANY daycare!  There are, of course, scheduling issues with school activities that we don't have yet, but like she said, it's a different kind of stressful. 

I'm taking my time, trying to enjoy these babies while they're little (which is wicked easy some days and definitely a challenge other days!), and counting my blessings that I can stay home with my babies until they're older and I will re-enter my career (as long as Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan doesn't pass and make my job as a tax professional obsolete).  I can't spend my time worrying that I'll be hopelessly out of date when I prepare to go back.   I shouldn't bother wondering if all those years of school were the best plan when I'm not using them.  This is my role for now, and I just have to remember that I won't be the only one in the applicant pool with a 7 year gap in my full-time employment.

Of course, I might just change my mind and career path midstream, and go back to school for something else, you never know!

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