Working Motherhood and Where I Am Now

When I started drafting Crosby's 15-month update, my commentary on working motherhood was so long that I felt like it needed its own dedicated post. In case you're unfamiliar with my family's current situation, here's the background:

For three years, I worked full-time for a nonprofit located an hour away. In that time, I got pregnant with Charlie, took a 12-week (unpaid) maternity leave and returned to work full-time when he was just shy of three months old. Fortunately, my sister-in-law who had just had a baby, as well, watched him during most of this time.

As a full-time working Mom, I spent 10 hours away from my baby five days per week (with my commute). I basically got him ready, dropped him off, raced to work, and then got home in the evening just in time to put him to bed. I pumped and struggled to keep up my supply for 11 months, until I got pregnant with my youngest, Crosby. It was emotionally taxing, but financially necessary.

When I left for maternity leave with Crosby, the intention was always to return to work after 12 weeks again. But around the eight-week mark, I realized I couldn't do it. (Read more about my decision to become a stay-at-home Mom here).

Shortly after becoming a stay-at-home Mom, we hit a major financial speed bump. For reasons I won't go into, income we were counting on suddenly wasn't there. I knew I had to figure out some way to supplement what Chuck was bringing in.

A friend asked if I would like to co-manage our local Farmers' Market for a small stipend. It wasn't going to help much financially, but it was an opportunity that was too perfect for me to turn down. I also returned to my former employer on a seasonal, part-time basis. I more actively sought out opportunities in which I could use my blog for some cash. Then, in June a friend reached out to tell me that a part-time marketing position had opened up in her two-person office. It was the perfect scenario.

Not only do I get to work in my own community, but I genuinely like the work that I'm doing. My friend's daughter was born on the same day as Crosby, so she clearly gets the working Mom thing and gives me so much grace when things come up with the boys. My schedule is flexible, I get to flex my writing muscle, and I get to work alongside a really good friend. I knew when I signed up that this job could be a really good opportunity for our family, but I didn't anticipate just how much I would grow to love it.

Which brings me to today.

My professional life looks nothing like I thought it would at this point in our lives. I had assumed when I resigned from my full-time job last November that it would be for a year or so. Mostly, I wanted to take the first year of Crosby's life to breastfeed, to get him sleeping through the night, and to just nurture him during the most vulnerable time in his life. I figured that once we hit the one-year mark, I'd return to full-time work.

As it happens, my current situation is kind of ideal for us right now. Recently, I was offered a second, part-time position. The job was perfect in so many ways, but in the end, I had to turn it down. After weighing the pros and cons, factoring in childcare expenses, gas and wear-and-tear on my vehicle, and taxes, I would be bringing in very little. Plus, I'd only have 2 days/week with my boys which is what I hated the most about working full-time.

Not to mention, despite the fact that Chuck and I swore up and down that we were done having kids, we've both come down with a minor case of baby fever. At this point, we honestly don't know whether we'll remain a family of four, or if maybe there's another Stuckert destined to join our little clan. And if that's the case, I don't know how much sense it makes to go back to a full-time position and be faced with the impossible decision of "do I or don't I go back to work after the baby's born?!".

Working part-time is just what works best for us right now. Maybe if we had family who was able to watch our boys during the week and relieve the burden of childcare costs, or maybe if I had a car with less mileage on it, or maybe if my Dad wasn't experiencing serious medical issues that necessitated me being available at a moment's notice, or maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe...

The "what if's" are endless. But right now, Chuck and I are just trying to do "the next right thing." And the right thing for us is me being home with these crazy kids of mine. 

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