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Having It All

There were two articles I came across today via Facebook that really had me thinking (here and here). Mostly because the thought has been on my mind since I quit my job a year and a half ago to move across the country. When I decided to move, I started immediately trying to figure out the logistics and looking for new employment. I worked in the health insurance industry and it turns out there are quite a few insurance companies in Wisconsin. I applied for a few positions and started getting calls immediately. One company has been calling to see if I am available since before I moved, and even still now I get a call every couple of months. I just finally had to say that I will call them when the time is right for me. I enjoyed being able to spend a summer with my daughter and not rushing to work and just dropping her off at daycare. Then I came to appreciate being able to take her and pick her from school and being able to chaperone/volunteer whenever. If I was working, things would not be like this at all. I would probably be in that bad mood again. I would have never gotten to develop a closer bond with my daughter.

Even when I am tired and complaining, I am very thankful for the chance to have this time with my child while she is still young. After I had my daughter in 2008, I took my 12 weeks off work unpaid. I saved money during my entire pregnancy just so we would be able to pay the bills. My husband (boyfriend at the time) was doing his part and even was walking to work at one point. We both did what we had to do. Working was still a necessity for us both, so I went back to work and he started a night shift job (that he hated) just so we could make it work. And, we did…we survived it… and learned a lot during the process. Still though.. I had a lot of anger for the way things were. America did not tell me to have a child, I decided that on my own because it was a desire that I really felt the need to fulfill. Still… the way the workforce is set up, you just don’t catch any breaks. I would go to work at 6 in the morning (skip lunch) so I could be home by 2 to get Aida before Denard had to go to work. When he changed jobs, I still did the same because I did not like the thought of my baby sitting at daycare. It was hard.

Now things are different and I am choosing not to work with our second baby on the way. My husband and I have talked and continue to discuss it, and right now, we are both more comfortable with our children being mainly in my care. I may not being able to go on as many shopping binges as I used to but I would not trade it for anything. Without work stress, I am a more patient parent. The other day I found myself creating a “pretend” medical care form for my daughter’s bear’s emergency room visit. We can sit and play hangman together without me worrying what time it is, so that I can be in bed for work. I no longer have to e-mail my boss that I am leaving early if my child is sick or that I am picking her up early because of a possible storm threat.

I used to joke with friends at work that I felt like a slave and that I was only there to do my slave labor. I am not sure if I would feel the same way if I had a job I loved or not, but me being me…. I am not sure. I lose interest quickly… especially when I feel like I am always on someone else’s deadline and my time is not my own. On the flip side of it all, I actually do miss working. I miss having that something to do outside of the house.. it kept my mind fresh, or at least I felt like it. At the same time, I understand that there is no way to have it all. So, I will continue to be thankful for where I am now. A few years down the road there is no telling where I will be. I do hope that one day things will be easier within the workforce as far as parents are concerned.

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