It is that magical hour where Oakland is fast asleep, dinner and dishes are done and I can sit down and put my feet up. To make my night even better, Alee is out at Amity which means I can watch whatever the hell I want! Not many people know this, but Alee and I actually have nothing in common. Like zip! From movies, to music, food, clothing…we agree on absolutely nothing! Do you know how hard it is to raid Netflix and find something when I am busy searching horror and sci-fi and she is in Oscar-winning dramas and romantic comedies (vom!)? I honestly do not even know how we are still together with our lack of commonalities. So when she messaged me late this arvo and said she is going to Amity Affliction I was silently doing cartwheels because it meant I can catch up on Grimm and Vampire Diaries! It also meant that I would get time to write another blog because it has been a couple of weeks.
Well, what a couple of weeks it has been! I received my phone call the other day to let me know I was heading back to work and what my set days would be. Armed with this knowledge, Alee and I set out to find the perfect day care (we couldn’t do it any earlier as we didn’t know what days I would work or whether my mum could help out as she needed to tell her work what days she was unavailable). I spent hours on the phone asking a million questions about food, price, qualifications, routine, what is supplied, what principles the day care follows and booking tours with the ones that felt right. After visiting a few and then sitting down to re-write our budget based on my wage, the 4 tolls a day I drive through to get to work, fuel, day care, Alee taking one day off per week (when quite often she doesn’t take a day) and everything else I actually realised that financially, we were going to be worse off with me working! This may sound surprising to some, but after talking to many other mothers I discovered that this is actually a common theme amongst mothers wanting to return to the workforce after having a baby/babies.
Alee and I had already had quite heated discussions prior about my working. She was dead set against it. She has always expressed that she would love for me to stay home and raise Oakland our way and I think maybe she likes to feel as though she is capable of supporting us so that I can have time at home. I was the opposite and wanted to return to work once I felt Oakland was capable of surviving without me. Well, this little discovery meant that the scales were tipping in her favour. I was tossing up, do I return to work, see very little of my son (by the time I collected him from day care it would be after 6, home by 6:30 which meant dinner/bath/straight to bed), the stress of work, 2 hours driving not counting the drive to and from day care and all this for less money, for the sake of not having a giant gap of unemployment on my resume, or do I just grow a brain and make a logical decision? I spoke with so many other mums and literally every one said to me they would choose to stay home if it meant more money and more time with their child. I spoke with my mum and some other older women and they all said that ‘back in their day’ the government made it hard for them to stay home and they had no choice but to go back to work, even though they all would have loved to stay home. It’s funny how now it is the opposite. It is so much harder and costly to return to work. I honestly do not know how some mums afford to work full time and put their kids in day care five days, but I absolutely give you props for it! What a hard choice and such dedication.
The decision to call my boss on Friday after spending all week sitting and budgeting, brainstorming ways that we could make it work, whether that be changing my days around, changing my role so I could work from home or pretty much anything that may make it possible for me to work was a hard one. I was so anxious to break the news to him. Years ago he did me a solid and helped me break into the child protection industry and I have owed him a debt of gratitude ever since. I ended up chatting with a work friend first and she broke the news to him thankfully. He then rang me and he was completely understanding as a parent and grandparent himself. If anything, I think both he and I were more disappointed at the fact that I won’t be seeing the team again more than me letting anyone down. As soon as I hung up from that conversation I felt this GIANT sense of relief. It wasn’t until that very moment that I realised how stressed and anxious I was about returning to work. I’ve now decided that while I am not working I am going to study part time. I love studying and learning, and while I may not be working in a paid role I want my resume to reflect that I was bettering myself educationally whilst being a stay at home mum. I want to keep up to date with the industry and make sure I continue to upskill.
It’s funny, I was a little nervous about being judged for not returning to work. I know that before I was a mother I used to judge women who stayed home beyond the first year and could not wrap my head around why they didn’t just get off their asses and work. Yep, I was that super judgemental person who was going to be the ‘perfect parent’ when I had a kid and I would do everything so differently. Now I totally get it. Why the hell would I work for less money and less time with my baby if we can survive on one income? Yes, my resume is going to be a bit blank, but I will be sure to write one hell of a cover letter outlining how I am now a queen of time management, rostering, division of labour, patience and conflict resolution, arts and crafts (signage and advertising?), managing and leading a small team, communication and of course social media management. I wouldn’t be lying!