Eventually, most of us will ask ourselves: should I (or even can I?) stay home with my kids or should I (do I need to) go back to work? Many of us don’t have a choice in the matter—it’s off to work we go. Others can’t wait to go back to work; craving the intellectual stimulation, camaraderie and the paycheck that rewards us for a hard day’s work. For those of us who return to work, we face another question: do we stay in our current profession or do we go out and find a profession that complements the dynamics of my new or growing family?
For me, I’m in this last scenario. Financially, I need to work. Intellectually and socially, I like to work—but emotionally, I want to be with my children…as much as possible.
I’m not a planner. I never have been. To make matters worse, I can’t predict the future. Argh! There was no way anyone could have prepared me for how I would feel about my children. Had I known my love for them would be so strong and that I didn’t want to miss a single thing in their lives, I think I would have found a career that would accommodate my feelings and family’s needs from the onset. Instead, I find myself in a constant struggle between should I stay in my current profession or seek an alternative that better meets my desires for my family? It seems like a straightforward question with an easy answer: find a career that better meets your desire to be with your family! Yes, you’re right! But then I need a plan (please see the first sentence of this paragraph).
Okay, so I have a goal: find a new profession that better meets my desire to be there for my family. The plan: identify the new profession; find out what is required to get there (i.e. on-the job training, a few classes, or completely new degree); start mapping out how to get there (can I afford to quit my job while receiving the necessary education to make the switch? can I take classes and work a fulltime job? will this just defeat the initial goal? will it be worthwhile in the end? Ahh! So many more unanswered questions—it’s overwhelming, it’s scary, it’s paralyzing.
Yes, it is. And right now, that’s exactly how I feel. But, I am sure I’m not alone. And, I’m even surer that I’m not the first woman who has thought about giving up a successful career to be with her family. And I’m also positive that other women have already taken the first steps in their plan to reach their goal. And, I also know there are moms on the other side of the spectrum: they’ve met their goal. Maybe it’s better than imagined or not what they expected. Either way…no matter where you are in your process, I want to hear from you. Are you facing a similar question: “should I stay or should I go?” Where are you in your process? Have you figured it out? Is it going according to plan? Okay, that might be a silly question. Did you decide to stay the course instead? Either way, was right for you and your family?
As you can tell, I certainly don’t have the answers and I know I haven’t even begun to ask all of the questions. What I do know is that I have a goal. I just need some guidance on how to get there and I’m all ears :).