Forever and ever, my life was consumed with trying to become pregnant. I did not think much at all about what would come next. And I don’t just mean the medical and science-y stuff that happens to the body and a growing baby. I mean, like, how my job would be effected.
Well, actually, my grand rainbows-and-sunshine-and-fairy-dust plan was that I would freelance part-time and care for the baby part-time after giving birth. To that end, I have been pretty actively freelancing in my spare time over the past couple of years (weekends, nights after work) to try to keep up contacts, etc.
So now I find myself in a slightly messy situation. Hubs is a 5th year graduate student and as he burns the midnight oil finishing his dissertation, he is becoming concerned that the changes and improvements his professors will suggest will be so dramatic that he will not be able to immediately go on the job market this fall/winter, as we had always planned. And that, in fact, he very well may be TAing and re-working his dissertation for a 6th year of grad school, and then entering the job market next fall/winter and beginning work in the fall of (gulp) 2012. Which means we will be without a legit income and/or benefits from him next year.
Which means I will have to go back to work after we have the babies. [Caveat: I feel really, really, really weird writing that, as though it is actually happening. Eeeeek. Please don’t strike me down, baby Gods.]
The complicated thing is that I got a promotion at the beginning of the summer. I won’t receive my title change or salary increase until January (yes, annoying), but the new job has many more responsibilities and later hours. I often don’t leave the office until 8pm. The thought of missing most week nights with the babies, plus working full-time and being away from them, somewhat breaks my heart. Plus, I don’t know how financially possible it is to pay for full- or part-time childcare (assuming hubs can arrange his sked to be home a couple days a week) on my somewhat crappy salary. But, the job has insurance coverage, and for the whole family, and I know how valuable that is.
There is a new job being created at our office and it begins in January. It’s part-time (two days a week) and if you choose benefits, the salary sucks. But it sounds perfect to me. I could be VERY happy working two days a week and being home with the babies the rest of the week. Plus we save money on child care. They begin interviewing candidates next week, so if I want it, I can’t think it over for a month or two—I’d need to act somewhat fast. (I don’t even know if I could snag that job, but possibly.)
Hubs doesn’t like the idea of me ditching my high-level job, which I’ve only just gotten and won’t officially be recognized for until January, for a lower-level gig. He thinks I should ask my bosses to come up with solutions for THIS job within my demands (leave by 530pm every night, possibly work a shorter week, etc). But as nice and kind as they are, there’s nothing my bosses can do about the fact that my new job is more intense and requires more hours….I truly don’t see how I could possibly finagle, say, a four day work week or a leave by 5:30pm sked. It’s not their fault, it is what it is. (STUPID PROMOTION!) But hubs is starting to understand how important it is to me to not come home late every night once we have kids. And that it might be pretty tough for him to manage two infants every week night on his own.
The other complicating factor is that I don’t know exactly how maternity leave works in my office. I thought we were allowed up to 12 weeks unpaid leave with FMLA laws, but something in our employee handbook (which I’ve been reading and re-reading this week) makes me think women who have just given birth might be eligible to have some of their salary for those 12 weeks, due to short-term-disability coverage provided by our office. That would suddenly make switching to the part-time job in January a major liability, as I would be paid at a much lower rate instead of my current/raise rate. I definitely need to talk to my HR manager tomorrow about the maternity leave policy. (And, yuck, by the way. He is a total gossip. I am going to have sternly tell him this is a confidential conversation. I think he’s required by law to honor my wishes???)
And you know what else? It feels like I’m jinxing myself by doing all of this research and considering all of these options and potentially applying for a new job within my company within the month. I’m anxious that something is going to go wrong almost every waking second. But at the same time, it’s imperative to set our (hopefully, hopefully) family up for next year. Ahhhh!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m reallllllllllllly happy to be having this dilemma. Hubs and I are blessed to be given these complicated choices. It’s just messy.