Friday, November 16, 2012

Changes around the bend

A little over a month ago I looked at my fast-growing children, at my ever-messy house, at my piled and cluttered desk at the office and realized I wasn't making it work. On the surface it seemed like I was doing a great job at it all: I was complimented on my ability to "balance" working and motherhood but on the inside I was floundering and falling. Juggling Noah's visit to the neurologist with the unknown of the diagnosis (at that time) coupled with an expected raise not coming through made me stop in my tracks and re-evaluate what exactly I was doing.

What I was doing was barely treading water. And because this is my place to be my honest self, I'll tell you that I didn't spend eight weeks in actual therapy to not learn anything. I learned that I Cannot Do It All. I can't. No one can. And when you finally realize that you can't, you have to make changes. My kids needed me more than I was available. My house, our haven, was looking rough around the edges and poorly cared for. My work was suffering because I couldn't give it the full attention it deserved. Some of you can make it all work and work WELL and I deeply admire you for it. I am just not that person. I admit it and now I own it.

I am lucky though because I now have a choice. Three years ago I didn't have a choice: it was go back to work and help Tim support our family or risk losing too much. So I went back to my former job and it was fine and we made it work and Tim found an amazing new position. We had another cute baby and hired a nanny and chugged along. But it didn't feel good, it didn't feel right, it wasn't working the way I wanted it to work. Tim and I had many a conversation under the cover of night when the kids were quietly sleeping. Do I stay at work? I'm barely making enough to cover our childcare costs (remember: big city=big childcare costs). Do I WANT to work? Yes. All the time? No. Am I doing what I love? Eh. Not really. But it's a great company with a great staff and I wouldn't get the same thing at another company. I fought it and wrestled with it but the decision was made: I had to quit, the numbers just weren't making sense, and it was time to take a break to figure it out.

So I did just that. On Wednesday, October 10th, I quit my job. You would think it ends there, right? Oh no, no, no. My boss refused to accept my quitting at face value. He told me I wasn't allowed to quit, I was too valuable, they weren't letting me go without a fight. I believe I responded with "so...we're negotiating?" and his answer was "give me your best case scenario and let me see what I can do". Believe me when I tell you there is NOTHING like being told you are too valuable to lose to put some pep in your step.

Long story short(ish), I negotiated my way into a part-time position (Mondays and Wednesdays in office, Thursdays from home) and for a higher pay rate. Yes, I lose my health and vacation benefits (Tim's able to pick those up, yay!) but for what I give up I get back in more time at home with my kids. Plus this means I'll actually start to make money instead of throwing it all at our nanny. You guys, I'm really, really excited. THIS is what I have wanted for so long. THIS (hopeful) balance of work and home, me and us. THIS melding of all my responsibilities into something that works FOR me, not against me.

I acknowledge that we are incredibly lucky to be in a position to make this decision, that this is a choice and it's not a choice everyone gets to make. And on the eve of our thankful holiday, I am grateful, oh so grateful. I think these guys will be too.

Me in my fancy Blathering outfit...way outside of my comfort zone but I loved it so much (plus fake eyelashes! Who am I?!?)
Blathering recap to come soon.