Decisions is a series dedicated to the choices we make in our lives and the factors that led us to our given resolutions. We welcome guest posts to this series to hear about how you’ve tackled a life decision. Email your story ideas to email@example.com.
A little over a year ago, I quit my job as a consultant to stay home full-time with my daughter. It’s incredible to think it has only been a year. The stress, the joy, the sleeplessness, the firsts, and the snuggles: they all blur together. They’re muddled in my mind as one big, gooey ball of my new life. Since my co-blogger has returned to work after the birth of her second child, questions about how to balance work and family still come up as we talk to each other and navigate our lives.
Here’s the blog post I blissfully wrote when I quit my job. It meant only worrying about home and baby for a while. Now, that I’m on the other side of that, I’m ready for a change. For myself (mostly) and for others who are at this point or going to be, here are some of the reasons why I’ve accepted a full-time position at my library. (I had previously been working part-time, 3 days a week.)
I know that I need more sleep. I know that I need to eat healthy, stretch, exercise, and rest. I had no idea that I would need to take mental breaks from life at home. It wasn’t on my radar. Work for me is that mental break. Everything at the library is somewhat in my control; solutions are to be had, mysteries are easily solvable, there is a schedule, and my patrons are great to be around. At 17 months, my daughter can be unpredictable. What she liked yesterday, she doesn’t like today, and then I am searching through the cupboards trying to fill her belly with something she will eat. At work, I don’t have to worry about this for 8 hours. I push it from my mind and take a break. It is absolutely crazy that work gives me that break, but it does.
We play with the alphabet magnets, we sing songs, read books, and I talk up a storm with her. But quite frankly, I am too pooped from a long day of just watching her to do activities or make plans for educational play beyond that. That is why I am happy to send her to daycare. With other kids she can paint, go in the sprinkler, play with sand, squish play-dough between her fingers, learn social skills, and gain a little independence from mama. I’m totally committed to giving her every learning opportunity I am capable of, but there is no sense in making myself crazy. I’ll take the help where I can get it.
I didn’t actively seek going back to work full-time. It just happened that a position opened up at the right time. It’s a move upward and a pay increase. Not to mention, finding full-time work in libraries is difficult, so when an opportunity presents itself, you take it. I’m looking forward to taking on more responsibility and continuing to create a great library experience for every patron that walks through the door. I also like that my career journey continues. I made a personal master plan seven years ago, and while the details are different than what I imagined, I’m continuing to move and grow.
I can’t help but come back to the most important reason why this all makes sense for me; I got a year home with my daughter. I am incredibly lucky that my husband and I were able to make that happen. In the United States, we’re not guaranteed paid time off after the birth of a child. More than one friend has told me about how horrible it felt that first day back: thinking of the baby, being uncomfortable, not being able to concentrate on work. I fortunately only experienced two weeks of that before I quit. But having a year to adjust and get used to life with a child made going back to work full-time an easy decision.
Tell us your experience going back to work. What was it like for you? Is there any advice you would give to those who are returning? Post a comment below, on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.