I am seriously considering not going back to work in the fall and am wondering if this desire to stay home with my daughter is temporary and acting upon it might lead to disastrous consequences. (I did apply for an extension of my maternity leave through Jan. 1, 2011, but even if that works out, I am considering staying at home.)
My husband makes enough to support us, but it will definitely necessitate lifestyle changes for us....and neither of us are sure HOW our lives will change since we've both always worked (we do have rental property income potential). On top of that, I am not a tenured teacher. If I go back in the fall, make it through one more year, I'll be tenured and have a permanent job...a job that will be great once my kid(s) are in school. We also use my health benefits, and while my husband has a great job and benefits we could take advantage of, his job doesn't carry the promise of permanency.
But the thought of leaving my (almost) three month old daughter with someone else and missing her formative years makes me feel nauseous in a way that I never anticipated when i was pregnant. I figured 4 and a half months home with her would be enough. HAHA!! The thought of returning to a very demanding profession--to which I devoted many hours of time outside of the regular school day--makes me nauseous. I am not a workaholic but I took my job seriously and HAD to put in all that extra time just to be a decent teacher and to stay afloat. So, I seriously question my ability to balance work and family life without a breakdown. I know when I get home I will want to be all about my daughter and will resent the amount of time that my job is taking away from me and my family.
Reasons to go back to work: possibly permanent job that is very family-friendly; awesome schedule once your kids are in school; work is 10 minute drive from home; extra income; great benefits; just finished my master's and SHOULD be putting it to use! (although the $400 raise is nothing to write home about); my husband is much more helpful with the domestic tasks when we are both working (that being said, I don't mind doing more around the house now because at this point in my life as a mom, his job IS much more demanding and less rewarding than mine) so we'll be struggling TOGETHER
Reasons to stay home: being there for my daughter and possibly future child; we CAN manage it financially, but it will be stressful in ways we don't even know yet; teaching is exhausting and takes up a lot of time after work and on weekends; if I wanted to go back, special ed teachers are always in demand.
The funny thing is, if I found out today that I would never teach again, I wouldn't be upset AT ALL. Don't get me wrong--I love the kids. I just hate the planning and paperwork and high-stakes testing and ever-increasing expectations and demands on both students and teachers...and the thought of doing it for the next 25 years! And the crazy thing now is that I love my baby and motherhood so much that I am thinking about becoming a lactation consultant (which I know is a long and arduous road), a doula....anything to keep me in the magical and hopeful world of babies and breastfeeding.
My mother (who was/is NOT a baby person, although she is a wonderful person) says this is a phase that will pass and before I know it, I'll WANT the regular company of adults and want to go back to work.
Any insight? DH would love for me to stay home, but is torn about me leaving a relatively good job, and is of course very nervous about us continuing to live on one income for several more years.