I had a job interview today. It was for a temp job that could be an interesting opportunity. The job could be a fit for me, or I could hate it. It’s something I think I wouldn’t know until I got in there. And it may not even get that far. But if it did? Well, that’s the thought that had me crying most of the way home.

It’s  a full-time corporate America job. It’s a job that would put my daughter in preschool/daycare from about 8:00 am to 6:00 pm five days a week. And the thought of that just about kills me.

Yes, people do do it all the time, I know. I pick up my daughter and see the preschool teachers pushing buggies full of little ones whose parents are off doing what they need to do to make a living. The three-year-olds in Charlie’s class who are there every day seem happy and just fine. A niece and nephew of mine have been 40+ hour daycare kids since they’re six weeks old– and that wasn’t even out of financial necessity. They’re teens now and really great kids. So yes, people do it all the time. They put their kids in daycare. They hire nannies. They go to work. Every day. I know. But here’s the thing, as a parent I’ve never done it.

Since my daughter has been born, she has never had two parents working full time. When Muffin was first born, I worked as a teacher. I stayed home with her for the first four months (thank you, California, for your decent maternity laws and policies). When I went back to work for the last six weeks of school, my husband had accrued enough sick and vacation time to stay home with her. Then it was summer and I was off again. The following school year I worked part time– every other week day. Since then, I’ve been out of work.

So the point is, for the most part, one of her parents could be there for her. And now? Well, it’s looking more and more like that won’t be the case for much longer. My financial realities are hitting me square in the face– and in the heart. I know I need a job. I know I need a full time job. But man, is the thought of that hard.

I try to focus on the good. I want to work, really I do. I know getting out there in the work force will help me feel better about myself. If my husband and I are both working full time, we can begin to save some money and move toward our long term goal of finding (and affording!) our dream home. (Right now we are operating in the red, and our savings– aka down payment for said home–  is dwindling.)

But then I get these flashes of what our weeks will look like. I picture Muffin’s sad face saying, “But I don’t want to go to school today” and hearing her cry as I drop her off. I see my husband and I taking turns cooking dinner after putting in full days at the office, or playing rock, paper scissors to see which one of us will have to take off work if Muffin is sick. I see the time spent playing with my daughter slashed and stuffed into the mere hours between dinner and bedtime. And because my time at home with my family is so precious, I see me too tired or guilty to spend time on my other goals and dreams.

I see me losing little pieces of myself. And my daughter.

Or maybe it will be great. Maybe it will be a job I love that makes me feel like a professional again. Maybe my family will find a routine and rhythm that suits us. Maybe because my free time will be that much more precious, I will learn to use it better. Maybe because the work is dry, I will savor the creative outlet of my dreams and pursue them with renewed vigor.

Yes, it’s too early to tell any of this. And the job is far from mine. I may never have to make this decision. It’s just that, before I was a mother, I sucked at decsion making– always afraid of making the wrong one. And now, well, it’s just worse because the stakes are that much higher.

My daughter will only be a little girl once. And I don’t want to miss it.

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  1. Lisa Kelly says:

    Very honest. It is hard but you will do it and you will all be the stronger for it.


  2. Irene Landon says:

    Although it wasn’t always the case I feel like I worked most of the time when you girls were little. I went to work when Kristen was 6 wks old. Then again when you were about 2. Then part time, then full time when we moved here. I know it is hard on you emotionally, but believe me it will be harder on you than Charlie. It will just become part of her daily routine that she will get used to. And kids are so adaptable. It will be fine. Really. You will settle into a routine and your life will go on. xxxoo


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