Aug 9, 2011

working + parenting.

NPR is having a series right now, The Baby Project. It's amazing and inspiring!! Nine expectant mothers have come together to discuss birth, parenting, and right now the topic is childcare.

Childcare. Ugh.

You guys, this is going to get a little more personal than I'm used to, but this has honestly been on my mind for about 15 years. And a little more so in the past 5 months. I never knew what I would do when I had a baby - continue working or stay home. I never made the decision because I think it's innately personal and requires a decision made at the point in your life you have children. I never knew the point I'd be at in my career when the babies came along. Now that the time is drawing near, I'm planning to continue working. And it's painful to even think about it. It's all so new to me and thinking about leaving my baby with someone else for 8 hours every day, not to mention learning how to work a breast pump and hoping baby takes a bottle, and all the worries that come along with that - gosh! it's so exhausting!

One of the most comforting things for me is to hear others experiences. Not that I'm clamoring for others advice on how to parent and juggle the work/life balance - but it's helpful to know that other people do it every day. If they can do it, I can do it, too. I'm really looking forward to the series today as it continues talking about childcare. Yesterday the Swedes talked about their parental leave - the parental unit combined gets 480 days per child (to take until they are 8 years old). Per Child. I get a fairly generous maternity leave (16 weeks), but that pales in comparison when you think you could stay at home with your baby the first year of its life.

Can you tell I'm conflicted about this? How do you working moms and dads out there handle the pressures of balancing work and family?

6 comments:

Clint and Jinger Miller said...

I totally know and live your conflict. I really don't have the option to stay home, but nor could I really do it. I love my maternity leaves (I got 12 weeks, 16 is awesome!) but I was so ready to return to work. I am not cut out to be home all day. I need my adult, me time. I feel that I am a better mom because when I am with the kids I am fully invested in our time. I totally trust the people who watch my children. You will always have the struggle in your mind. It never goes away. And you will always have people who judge you about your decision to work. It comes with parenting. Everyone has an opinion about what is best. What is best is what works for you!!! Hope that helps.

Amy said...

I work part time. It's good for me. But now that my youngest is two, I'm ready to get back into more hours.
I love our daycare provider...my kids love her, too. They get so much out of their time with her.
Any one who says I'm fooling myself can screw themselves and worry about their own kids.

Bbells said...

ugh! I am with you. I was out for 5 months. Stay out unpaid as long as you can, I still wish I had one more month it was worth every penny I scrimped and saved to be home as long as I could and then if possible ease yourself back in, I came back to work last week and my boss allowed me to be part time this whole month. I never thought I would want to stay home and if we wanted to make it work financially we could, although it would be risky. I am not going to lie I want to be able to stay home so badly but after the first week back I am feeling better about it. When I think long term I know that continueing my career on a smaller scale is a good thing. In just six more months he will be old enough to really be learning things that I know a preschool teacher will be much better at teaching than me. I just have really preapared myself to be able to devote every minute after work to him and when he goes to bed it's me and my husband time. The worst case scenario is that you go back to work for a few weeks (give yourself a few weeks) and decide that you are going to stay home.
oh, and, I tried to pay the least amount as possbible and ended up paying more for someone I really like and trust, that will make you feel so much better too. good luck on your search, I know how hard it is! just know its normal to question your decision everyday.

The Sullengers said...

I only worked a short while after Hudson and then decided to stay at home but he took a bottle okay and pumping at work was a nice break every two hours :) it was a little easier working because I had two dear friends watch him so I knew he was in good care. But honestly you have to do what is best for you! Now that kash has a job I'm going to start working from home 10 hours a week for him and I'm looking forward to my mind thinking about other things than diapers and toys! Key is to find balance! Good luck it is really hard those first weeks back at work but it gets easier!

communikate. said...

i've thought long and hard about this for years. i'm really getting close to thinking about wanting a baby, and i worry what i'll do for childcare as well. i've always been one that planned on working at least part time with kids, but i get major anxiety about thinking about someone else being there all day with a brand new babe instead of me.. yikes, basically i have no great input just a lot of fears..

good luck with this lady!

modestmuse said...

A nanny. And being able to go home at lunch time. I know those might not be relevant for you, but that's what makes it doable for me. Knowing that Nile is in the comfort of her own home and can sleep in as long as she wants makes it easy to keep her up late playing and go to work in the morning. Being able to shoot home at lunch time is great, especially when I was still breastfeeding. Also, when she is napping, nanny does all the housekeeping, so I get 100% Nile time when I come home. I will definitely stay overseas if I have another baby just so I can have a nanny. Your maternity leave is awesome. Try NO maternity leave with the US gov't! Yeah, the FMLA requires they give you 12 weeks off, but how you finance that -- or not -- is up to you. I maxed out my sick and annual leave and then took leave without pay. It was worth it, but if you eventually go back to work, just do what you have to to ease yourself into it. It is hard, but I personally would go crazy staying at home -- weekends are joyous but can also be very frustrating with the baby 24/7. I am just not a naturally maternal type, and I am glad I know that about myself and am not hitting my head against a wall trying to be something I'm not. I love the stimulation of the workplace. I love my child. EVERYONE obviously has their own opinion and plan. I hope what you decide will work, but remember, be flexible, too!