Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Well, how about that

I was all set to write one post this morning, and then things changed. For the better, so that's good.

But here's what had originally happened. It's a long story, but I realized last night that of all the women close to my age that I know who have had babies in the last year or two (and that's a pretty big number), all but two of them left their jobs to stay home. In some cases, they were fairly high-powered jobs: one was chief of staff for a congresswoman, one was a successful accountant, one has a Ph.D., and so on. It never really occurred to me before that so few people I know, and no one I'm close to, has gone back.

This came to a head last night when I was at a fairly new friend's place with another woman I don't know that well. It was hard to begin with because they both had their baby sons with them - one is 19 months old and one is 8 months - and so the conversation was starting to be All Baby All the Time. Then it turned to work, and they both started talking about how great it was that they've stayed home, how well-adjusted and perfect their sons are because of it, how non-well-adjusted their sons would surely be if they were working, and so on. I think at some point one of them realized that I hadn't said a word, because then they started falling all over themselves to point out that some babies, and some mothers, do just fine with working/daycare. I still didn't say anything, so the conversation just died. But it bothered me all night.

I have absolutely no problem with anyone choosing to stay home - I think it's great. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about it. And financially, we probably COULD do it, but it would be a bit of a stretch. But there's so much I worry about - what if something happened to Andy, or to his job? What if I took some time off and then could never get hired again? What if I got bored? What if I wasn't patient enough to be home with a baby? So for me, it makes sense right now to plan to go back. My job has tons of sick/vacation time; they're probably going to let me work a day from home each week; we have a wonderful daycare lined up; I never work more than 9-5. It just doesn't seem like it will be that bad.

Anyway, I was sad today because I was just wishing I had enough confidence in my own decisions not to feel inferior in conversations like last night's. I also wish I had more friends in situations like mine so I wouldn't always feel like I had to defend myself.

Then my manager called me into her office. And...my promotion finally came through! And it comes with a 30% raise, retroactive to January 1. I guess I'm doing something right, career-wise - and if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm putting money ahead of my daughter. Obviously this is a decision I can't really make right now - I have no idea how I'll feel when she's actually in my arms. Maybe I'll completely change my mind. But to me, when I think of being the best mother I can be to her, that includes making sure her future is secure, and if I can better do that by working, then so be it.

9 Comments:

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 5:06:00 PM, Blogger Julian's Mom said...

Congrats on your promotion! 30% increase? I'll take it!

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 5:24:00 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

Opinions are a dime a dozen...and that's all that they're worth.

Congratulations on the raise! Now can you tell me how to get one?

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 8:10:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Wow! Congrats on the promotion! You know, I don't have any experience yet--but I'd say that a good mama is a happy mama. Your job sounds so great and flexible--you shouldn't feel inferior--a LOT of women work. It's important to keep your identity as well. You'll be "Mommy" but you need to do what you can to stay "Kitty", too.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 11:06:00 PM, Blogger lauralu said...

congratulations!

you know, women who have advanced degrees and choose to stay home feel society-induced guilt about their choice, and so they have a need to justify it. i'd take their comments with a grain of salt. or maybe a bucket of it.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 12:02:00 AM, Blogger the ockers said...

wow, 30% raise, you go girl!

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 3:47:00 PM, Blogger Mrs.X said...

Ugh! Welcome to the Mommy wars.
It's a simple matter of doing what works for you. There are pros and cons to everything and I hate that you had to get subjected to that nonsense.

But yay for you and the raise!

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 5:27:00 AM, Blogger Jill said...

There are too many women who stay at home being miserable because of financial worries and boredom and they really aren't wonderful mothers, their kids aren't more secure (because they are the reason their mum is so unhappy)and they have no real, logical reasons to claim the higher ground with regards to their decisions. Not all, but enough.

To me, it sounds like you have thought really hard about this and your decision sounds perfect to me.

Congrats on the promotion and raise:)

 
At Saturday, April 29, 2006 10:15:00 PM, Blogger vixanne wigg said...

Oh, the whole "mommy wars" thing is so dumb. If you are happy, your child will be happy....well, okay I don't know if that's entirely true, but if you are unhappy you will make your child miserable! Don't let them make you feel bad about your choices. There is nothing wrong with wanting a life outside of babyland.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Josefina said...

I think there's nothing wrong with your decision right to the moment.
It's really upsetting when you run into those people who consider their opinions as a fact, without stopping for one second to say "hey, but that's just what I think". They feel so superior and that's really annoying.
I understand you perfectly well, and I think your decision is YOURS, don't feel inferior, I think I will continue working also!
And wow, that's some promotion!!!! Congratulations!!

 

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