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Tuesday, July 30

The Decider.

It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. 
[Roy Disney]

At first, quitting my job felt like a difficult choice. It was one thing to wish I could stay home -- but quite another to turn in my resignation. For a few days after I gave notice, when people came to chat with me about it, I said it was a tough decision.

But the more I chatted, and the more I perceived different reactions to the discussion, the clearer it became that this choice was the right one for me. The only one I could feel good about, really. So I suppose it wasn't very difficult after all.

Several women said they did the same thing and never regretted it. They did freelance work and came back to the office when their children were older. Others worked full time and knew it was the best option for them, but were encouraging and supportive of my decision. Talks like these were enriching and positive. I felt inspired by smart women, both those who worked in the office and those who brought up babies all day, every day in their homes.

But more than once, I felt little pricks of negativity. It was almost like sitting on the back patio with a glass of wine and chatting with friends on a beautiful summer night -- I still got a few mosquito bites, and a fruit fly died in my merlot.

I've decided to ignore the bug bites and drink the wine anyway. After all, my glass was nearly full. It still tastes delicious.

Life is the sum of all your choices.
[Albert Camus]

I'm not going to apologize or feel guilty about it anymore -- I'm thrilled at the prospect of being home. I can walk into Jack's room with a smile in the morning. I can have some fun picking out his outfit for the day. We can take a walk around the neighborhood when the sun shines. I can drink my coffee and watch the news while he beats up the toys hanging from his jumper. I can take him to doctor's appointments and play groups and the grocery store. Those things are really important to me. That is what I want to do right now.

I still plan to write, probably more than before. I still have professional dreams and aspirations. I know I have a career in my future. But right now, in the present, I have a baby -- and I want to see him during the day. That's really what it comes down to.

There is nothing wrong with going back to work. There is nothing wrong with staying home. Period. Everyone has to make the choice that feels right. 

And some distant day in my professional future, when a new mom in the office tells me she's leaving, I will remember the good discussions I've had these past few days and the good advice I was given, by moms who chose to stay at work and those who chose to stay at home. 

I will remember how it felt to walk away from a paycheck and a professional circle, but also how it felt to walk toward a time when my son was just starting to discover the world. 

I will tell that new mom to cherish this time with her baby, to keep her eye out for good professional opportunities, and to be brave and confident in her decision. It takes guts. It's a leap of faith. But it's not a hard choice when it's the right one. And that's what it is right now, for me and mine.

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
[Flora Whittemore]

3 comments:

  1. You've made the right decision for you and your family and have to ignore the naysayers. I'm so happy you get to spend these precious moments with Jack and Kyle. Work outside that area will always be there waiting. Though I don't want to see you go, I'm glad you can have the life you want now. You never get that time when your baby is discovering everything back. Carpe Diem! :)

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  2. Good for you Carrie! I had both experiences in the last 9+ years. After Sarah was born I went back to work full time. I hated having to leave her every morning and could not wait to arrive home. I was lucky enough that my parents watched her and didn't have to leave her with strangers. We made the hour commute to Highland Park together everyday, then on to downtown to workThen I got laid off when she was 7 months old. I was thrilled....the bank account not so much. But after my unemployment and severance ran out, I had to go back to work. Again, I hated every morning. Then I got laid off again...YAY! I was off for three years with her, not so nice on the bank account again. Now I am only working part time and it while she is in school. I still get to be homeroom mom, take her to dance class and never miss a recital...filed trip...class play...etc. Still not so good on the bank account but we have made sacrifices so that I don't miss out on her life. Enjoy your time with Jack, there is plenty of time for you to return to a career when you want to go back.

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