To Work or Not to Work…

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September 30, 2011 by Gina

I work part-time.  I mean VERY part-time.  It comes out to 1.5-2 days per week and the other 5-5.5 days, I’m a stay-at-home mom to two boys.  Before becoming a mother, I worked full time as a sales representative for Pfizer and really enjoyed being a successful career woman.  Transitioning from a career to being a mother was really difficult for me, at times.  Much of my identity and social life was wrapped up in my work life.

When I was pregnant with our first child, my husband also learned that his U.S. Army reserve unit would be deploying to Afghanistan soon after our son was born.  So, we made some decisions – one of which was that I would stay home with our son. We just felt it would be too difficult to have a newborn and work full time with my husband thousands of miles away in a war zone.  It turned out to be a great decision and I can’t imagine missing all of those moments with my son because I was working full time.

At the same time, a former customer of mine had a part-time opening for a pharmacy technician position and asked if I would be interested in working for him.  I thought it might be nice to maintain some work history and also have some adult contact.  So, I took the job and I really like it!  I’ve been there for 2 years, have great co-workers and have learned totally different skills.

So, when my new boss called me the other day and asked if I wanted to work more on a regular basis, it really threw me for a loop.  Yes, it would be nice to work more often, but we now have two kids (our newest is only 3 months old).  We just break even with two kids in daycare, instead of one and it’s a lot of work to get everyone out of the house with lunches, extra clothes, the breast pump, etc. I feel like I bring my whole house with me when I leave for work those mornings.  I ultimately told my boss that I wouldn’t be able to pick up more hours on a regular basis but would be able to help out for a while if he needed it.  It’s a good compromise.  I’ll work a few more days while they find a replacement for the person who quit and my boss was thoughtful enough to offer me those hours before he officially opened up the position.

I guess this offer of working more days really boiled down to the old struggle I have with myself sometimes.  Am I doing enough raising my sons?  Do I contribute enough to the household bottom line?  Do I miss working full time and having a successful career?  What’s more important to our family right now? Will I ever go back to a career in the future that I really like and want?  What is that career?  One question just snowballed into so many other questions I hadn’t thought about for awhile.  That was the bottom line – it made me feel anxious and worried about the present and the future.

But, in the end, I made the decision that works for our family right now.  That’s really the only thing I can do and the only one that makes sense.  So, I will just keep my 1.5-2 days per week of working and bump it up temporarily to help out.  In a few years, I’ll revisit all of this on a more grand level when opportunities will surely still be out there for a mother who chose to raise her family and take a break from a career.

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