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The Work Conundrum

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
OK, so here's my not-so-eloquent thoughts on the topic ...

Recently, I applied for what I thought at the time was my "dream job," working for an organization I believe in with the ability to work from home. I made it down to the top two, flew to DC for the interview, and after some (surprising and shady) developments, I didn't get it. Which, in some ways, is a relief, because after finding out that I didn't get it that if I had I would have taken a pay cut and had to deal with big financial losses that the organization is facing. Anyway ...

So, I'm currently employed full time, only employee for a small non-profit. Some days I like my job, some I don't, but hey, in this economy I can't complain. I told the person who supervises me about the pregnancy and some initial discussions on leave. My original plan was to return Jan or Feb 2010.

However, as the days tick on, I dread going to work more and more. Particularly because my supervisor will change in Jan 2010 to a person that I just can't work with. Maybe I'm judgmental and harsh, but she totally comes off as someone who thinks everyone around her is less intelligent than she is, and she treats me like and incompetent child. I already told husband there is NO WAY I am going back to work on her watch. She's not even my boss at this point, and already she's trying to put the power play on me.

So, even though I'm 15 weeks along, I've started job hunting. I just applied for a new position - not exactly what I want to do, but potentially lower stress and better pay. But will they hire me if I'm taking leave in a few months? Would I even be able to?

And the more I think about it, the more I become conflicted about returning to work after the baby is born. There's a part of me that loves working, bringing home a paycheck, getting out of the house, and there's a part of me that would love nothing more than to hang out with baby and the dog all day, and chill with husband when he gets home. I'm also hesitant to go back to regular employment, since I've been putting off a LOT of my goals (finishing up certification and becoming a doula, becoming a CBE, working on my writing, etc).

I'm pretty sure we could do it on husband's salary, particularly since he's due for a raise in June. He's nervous about it, not sure if we could do it financially. Also, I don't want to put the pressure on him to be the sole breadwinner for the family. My mom was/is a SAHM with more kids on much less, and she pulled it off with aplomb.

So ... talk to me about being a WOHM, SAHM, WAHM, etc! Tell me what you're feeling about paid/outside work after the baby comes! Talk to me about following your dreams!

I know, this isn't the most drastic problem, but I've got no one in my circle who's in a similar situation, so I'm looking for a little community feedback.
post #2 of 14
I don't know how much help I'll be since I'm really not conflicted (and neither is DH) about my decision to quit WOH once the baby's born.

I have a little general anxiety about change/the unknown, and some worries about DH's expectations of what my "job" will be at home (since he has made a few wackadoodle comments about letting the baby cry so I can get housework done ). But overall this is what we want and what we've planned for since we got married.
post #3 of 14
Well, fortunately you've got a while to think about it. If you became a SAHM and also worked on those other goals, could you place yourself in a better position to re-enter the workforce when your baby is a bit older? That could be a great option. But if you think you might feel isolated or bored or undervalued at home or that your dh might get overstressed from winning the bread, it's probably not such a good option.

Here's my deal:

I work part-time, 20-29 hours per week, at a job I ABSOLUTELY LOVE, which basically pays for health insurance and child care and not much else. I am also in school training for a job that will pay enough to support a family of four JUST BARELY if we're extremely frugal. Dh works 45 hours a week at a job he absolutely HATES that stresses him out to the max and which is in an industry that is about to fall off a cliff, but it pays well, albeit not as well as it did before the economic crunch. I tried being a SAHM when dd was a baby and I do think it was good for our bonding, but eventually it put way too much stress on both dh winning the bread doing something he hated, and me being alone with a toddler all day long (I wasn't very good at socializing with other SAHMs, and all my mama friends worked outside the home).

Now: I love my job and don't want to quit, but, child care for two children would cost more than I make, on top of which I can't stand the thought of leaving a tiny baby in daycare. My mother is amazing with babies and would probably take even better care of the baby than I would, and she's retired and has time on her hands, but she lives 500 miles away and will not move up here. Stay for an extended visit, yes, but not move. Our house is 680 square feet and she is a packrat so she is like 10 people.

My solution: Rent an apartment for my mother, pull dd out of preschool, have my mom watch BOTH kids from the time my maternity leave ends until the baby is old enough for me to be able to leave it in dd's preschool, or about six months total. All of this will end up costing about what I make working, but I do love my job and it's good training for when I get out of school, which I've timed for right after the baby turns 1. Then I can get a better job and dh can quit and be a SAHD and/or go back to school.

I over this for about two months before coming up with my solution, and even now I worry that if my mother becomes incapacitated (she has health problems) and can't hold up her end of the bargain, I'll end up having to quit my job after all, which I don't want to do. Trying not to think about that.
post #4 of 14
Hmm, well I know that as far as getting a new job while pregnant and then taking pregnancy leave it depends on your state I think. Here in California you have to be employed for a minimum of 1 year by the same company to qualify for disability and get the Leave of Absence necessary, so check into your state laws.
I understand the dilemma, I currently work outside the home 2 days/week. Trying to figure out how we'll afford daycare for TWO kids on our current budget is stressing me out and really all I want to do is stay home. I'd love to find a way to work at home, but I'm an RN so that doesn't lend itself to the WAHM thing and I'm not the entrepreneur type, kwim?
Sometimes I freak out and think I need to find more hours, it wouldn't be hard to find a way to work more at my current hospital but blech, I want to be home MORE, not LESS. :
Good luck figuring out what to do, I just keep thinking something will work out, I just don't know what yet.
post #5 of 14
I am the sole breadwinner, and DH stayed home FT with our first son. If DH got a fulltime job, I would quit my job today and trade places with him. (I also trained as a doula and would love for that to be my primary income source, and I heartily recommend pursuing work that you are passionate about.)

Here's my 2 cents on your situation -- your baby NEEDS YOU physically and emotionally for everything that first year of life - food, comfort, interaction. If you can swing staying home, DO IT. You can find ways to pinch pennies, but that time with the baby is so precious, both for the memories and for the baby's development and growing sense of security and belonging in the world. They love being with a parent, and nobody else will give them the same intensity of love and attention that you will. Plus, with sleep deprivation and baby-brain, I was sorta useless at work for awhile after I went back - forgetful, slow, spacey, and sad about only seeing my little guy at lunchtime for nursing. I just didn't want to be at work that much (still don't).

Especially if your incoming boss is being a jerk, I would take that as a little sign from the Universe. And we live in Iowa and get by on about $35K per year, so I can't imagine it could be much different for cost of living in Wisconsin. If you do find and take a new job, the cannot legally discriminate based on family status, but if you are showing, they can suss out that you are pregnant (they just can't ask about it in an interview). If they offer you the job, you can take it, especially if you know that they could SEE you were pregnant at the interview. You won't qualify for FMLA, but depending on their policies, you might still get paid leave or qualify for catastrophic leave donations (if you work at a big enough company/institution).
post #6 of 14
trying to get a job while pregnant never worked for me

if i were you i might try to stick with this job as long as you can and SAVE as much as possible! that way you've got a bit extra to offset things when you don't go back to evil-control-lady in Jan 2010

even if you can only save $500, hey, that's a decent grocery run!
post #7 of 14
In your situation where you are not even sure if you want to go back- I would stick w/ this job until you have the baby and then decide if you want to go back period. I would think it would look better on your resume as well if you decide you don't want to go back to work to have quit after the baby was born instead of getting a new job before and then quitting after. I would not put myself in the position w/ a new job feeling obligated that I had to go back to work- especially if I was doubting it anyway.
post #8 of 14

Feel your pain

Well I feel your pain unfortunately my situation is slightly different. I had a job that I enjoyed some days and dispised others. I'd been working there for a year and a half and let my boss know about the pregnancy at 8 weeks (I'm at 17 weeks now). My plan was to leave at birth and return to work in Jan 2010. But then I found out last week that I'm being laid off till at least Jan 2010, could be permanant won't know till much later in the year. SO our plans to save money until then has been cut. And as of tomorrow I lose my insurance and my current OB (who we love) doesn't accept medicaid so I'll have to find a new OB
I would love to stay at home 2-3 days a week and work somewhere I really enjoyed 2-3 days a week or work from home (which is absolutely ideal). It's been a rough couple of weeks and I hope we can get it all worked out soon.
Just thought I'd share my story.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your thoughtful responses so far!

Juliacat - that's pretty much what I've been thinking. I feel like taking a little time off is totally reasonable, and I'll be continuing my education and doing some work (hopefully) as a doula. Owning one's own (however small) business is still valuable work experience in my opinion.

kcparker - we live right outside of Madison, so it's slightly more expensive than rural parts of the state, but still (like most of the Midwest) pretty reasonable COL. Hearing that you can do it on one income in Iowa is encouraging!

Krystal323, crunchymama - that's the direction I'm starting to lean in. I figure since we're a pretty small family (me, dh, the sprout, and an old dachshund), if we are very frugal for the next few months and squirrel away as much as possible, we'll definitely be able to build up a good little safety net.

deny-zoo29 - I'm so sorry! I just found out yesterday that one of my good friends is being laid off in July. Yikes! I hope you are able to find a good OB and are able to have the birth you want. Like you, I'd love a good, meaningful part time job to bring in a little income and get me out and about a little.

I hashed this out with a friend IRL last night, and I'm bugging husband that we need to sit down together this week and revise our budget, see where we can save every extra bit because I know enough to know that I don't plan to return to this job in 2010. I'm also planning to have a serious talk about me jumping into doula-dom, among other things ... in reality, it was part of the bargain when we move to WI, but it got pushed aside when I moved from part time to full time work to save some extra cash for the down payment on our condo.

I'd still love to hear how others are hashing out the work question for their families, and I'll keep you posted on my plans.
post #10 of 14
We live in Iowa City, so I imagine it's pretty similar to Madison in terms of COL. Regarding working as a doula, my experience was that I didn't feel like I could be away from DS for births until he was about a year old, so maybe factor that into your doula-income equation. First births especially can be long, and there were a few times when DH would bring DS to me at the hospital (we only live a 10 min. walk from the UIHC) to nurse and then I would go back to my client. I would get really engorged as I never took a break to pump (silly - take the break!), and it was quite uncomfortable. Think about doing postpartum doula work in addition to/instead of birth doula work, at least at first. Postpartum work is more regular - you can schedule it, you wouldn't be with the mamas for 12-24 hours straight, and it's not as physically demanding as birth work can be. And of course, CBE work is also very predictable and fun too! The couple we took a Bradley childbirth ed. class from are doing such good business that the wife was able to quit her job and now just does the classes. It has only taken them about 2 1/2 years to build their business too. Good luck figuring out a way to make it work!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcparker View Post
We live in Iowa City, so I imagine it's pretty similar to Madison in terms of COL. Regarding working as a doula, my experience was that I didn't feel like I could be away from DS for births until he was about a year old, so maybe factor that into your doula-income equation. First births especially can be long, and there were a few times when DH would bring DS to me at the hospital (we only live a 10 min. walk from the UIHC) to nurse and then I would go back to my client. I would get really engorged as I never took a break to pump (silly - take the break!), and it was quite uncomfortable. Think about doing postpartum doula work in addition to/instead of birth doula work, at least at first. Postpartum work is more regular - you can schedule it, you wouldn't be with the mamas for 12-24 hours straight, and it's not as physically demanding as birth work can be. And of course, CBE work is also very predictable and fun too! The couple we took a Bradley childbirth ed. class from are doing such good business that the wife was able to quit her job and now just does the classes. It has only taken them about 2 1/2 years to build their business too. Good luck figuring out a way to make it work!
This is really encouraging - thanks! Good idea about postpartum work as well. I'm definitely interested in being a Bradley instructor ... when I told husband about this months ago, I joked, "But maybe I'll wait to do that until I've actually gone through childbirth." So, maybe it'll just happen sooner than I originally planned.
post #12 of 14
Right now I work M-F 40 hours a week and have my DS is a daycare that we both really like. I went back when he was 12 weeks old and while it was hard we also couldn't swing me not working at that time. There is a part of me that enjoys working but right now I am not loving my job at all and I really want to be able to stay home for at least a few years once this baby arrives. We are in a better spot financially this time around, plus COL here is outrageous and will cost me $2200 a month to have both in daycare. We could probably save more money having me stay home then going to work with all its associated costs.
post #13 of 14
I have stayed home full-time since dd #1 was born. I was a college English professor...I still teach one to two classes a year; DH does computer stuff so he can easily log on from home and watch our kids. Staying home is...challenging. I also home school dd#1, so that adds a whole new element to it.

If you are planning on staying home and worried about your social life, I would really encourage you to join La Leche League...like-minded moms are such a blessing when you have a new baby. Even though this is my fourth baby, I am already putting plans into motion for after the baby is born so that I don't lose my ever-loving mind. for instance, a Bible study at church with nursery provided for my kids, homeschool PE at our gym twice a week (I get to hang out with the other homeschooling moms during it), and other things like that.

It is quite a shock to be home with a newborn for the first time (or second, third, etc.). My brain went fuzzy and hasn't returned to normal However, I would never trade a second's worth of career for being home with my children. My sil has always worked and her kids are in daycare; she absolutely doesn't enjoy staying home with her children and I can understand where she's coming from. It's a completely different life once you stay home; most excellent for some, like me, and a torture chamber, for people like my sil.
post #14 of 14

Hello neighbor

Johanna in Dairyland said, "And the more I think about it, the more I become conflicted about returning to work after the baby is born. There's a part of me that loves working, bringing home a paycheck, getting out of the house, and there's a part of me that would love nothing more than to hang out with baby and the dog all day, and chill with husband when he gets home. I'm also hesitant to go back to regular employment, since I've been putting off a LOT of my goals (finishing up certification and becoming a doula, becoming a CBE, working on my writing, etc)."

Hello! Being a mother, whether a SAHM or a mother that works outside the home, IS a job! Being a mother, especially a nursing mother and working outside the home full-time is rather than two jobs, more like impossible. However, many women feel that financially they need to and/or that they prefer to do so because they have built up a career they love...etc. Well, if you're not wildly in love with your career, or better yet, knowing that you will dislike your current job (and very possibly the next job you could get) and you have some dreams/goals on the back burner perhaps this is the perfect time to focus on taking care of the little one and taking care of your future. Apart from medical care and diapers babies aren't really that expensive...I mean especially if you breastfeed...when they're kids you need to buy more clothes, pay for activities, parties, and a whole mess of things I haven't had to buy yet, ha ha ha. [I have a German friend and if we were German mothers we would all qualify for a monthly stipend and possibly someone to come over and do the laundry? Well, it's a nice feature of their system I think, but I digress.]

I graduated from the UW-Madison with a BA and worked in some rather menial jobs in the Madison area before travel became a high priority and then I worked to travel. My travels led me all over Central and South America and I ended up living for 3 years in Peru where I met the love of my life. Since then we moved to WI, got married, had a baby boy who is now 16 months old and very lovely. We're crazy! We basically "immigrated" to my own country with $3,000 and thought that would get us by....hell no, if it hadn't been for my mother with whom we've been living since we arrived we would've starved to death. Ha ha ha! (Well, my husband's immigrant paperwork has cost over $2,000 total) I've since been a SAHM and now that my husband was fortunate to find a decent paying full time job we'll be moving to Madison and we'll surely find it difficult to rent a home and live on one salary. But if we could live in Peru on $3/day I figure we can get by here. The secondhand deals in the States are unbelieveable! And we're lucky in the USA because shoes, clothes, appliances, cars are affordable in comparison to many other countries where if you have more than one TV you're rich or if you have you're own car you're obviously filthy rich. I do work one day a week outside the home teaching Spanish to kids and tutoring Spanish. And I'll be in school in the fall for a Language Interpreter Program in Healthcare at MATC, a one year program and then hopefully finding well-paid part-time work in that field.

Sorry for going off on my life story but my point is that if this is your first child you do not really know how you will react to being a mother or a SAHM, you know? If even a part of you LOVES the idea then you just may find yourself unable to do otherwise. And babies are only babies for a few years and their development in that time is so crucial...if you want to be there for the majority of it and can swing it (even if it means cancelling the cable or downsizing the home??) then take advantage and enjoy it. And if it is more school you want/need or doula practice then isn't now a good time? We got a little lucky as I qualified for Badgercare for the birth and with Open Arms Midwifery in Madison, WI we only had to pay $700 for the home birth, a lovely, can't-be-beat experience with a FANTASTIC midwife. Her normal global fee at the time was $3000 from prenatal to post partum care and that even out of pocket MAY be less than what you would end up paying through a hospital with insurance...good to check out all options.

Just a few thoughts from your neighbor in New Glarus, WI

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
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