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Need help making huge work/family decision!

806 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Sasha
I have the opportunity to take a differnent job - it's actually the job I had before I had my son. I quit to stay at home with Lucas, intending to return to work after one year. I did that and after months of part-time contract work I know have a permanent job, Lucas is 21 months old and in a cozy, quality child-care center that I love. Here's my problem:

My current job is a 32-hour week job, very manageable workload, and good pay. I LOVE having those extra hours to be with Lucas. Unfortunately, it has also turned out to be very boring for me and a lot of solitary work which does not fit my personality. Also, I'm not entirely comfortable with the position my new agency often takes (I work for a non-profit agency that represents private child-welfare agencies and residential child-care programs - they do a lot of good work but they also fight with the state department against regulations as well and sometimes get focused too much on $$). Oh, and there's no health care benefits with this job.

My old job, which has just opened up, is with the child care licensing division of the state department my new agency often fights with (hence my personal discomfort). My old job is a full-time job with a heavy workload (I would be managing the policy unit, supervising 9 people - I don't supervise anyone now). BUT, I get exited when I think about going back, I loved my old job, the group of women are very nurturing and supportive (most are or have been working mothers), and I would have full state benefits. THey're agressively recruiting me, so I should have room to negotiate a healthier salary that might allow my husband to take a break and spend more time with Lucas and allow me to pay for some housekeeping that might allow me more time with Lucas.

My dilema is really between a job with healthy work/family balance, but from which I get little job satisfaction and a job that offers less balance with my family life but so much more job satisfaction. And it's not that the state job wouldn't be family friendly - I could flex time and they're very supportive people, it's just more time and more stress.

Any advice? Is job satisfaction and overall happiness better than 8 hours of time? Which is more stressful: being bored and restless or being overwhelmed and busy?

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Hmmm, that's a tough one.

I could feel your excitement though, when you talked about going back to your old job. I know that feeling, because I sounded like that while debating whether I should go back to MY old job, lol. I decided to go for it, because I negotiatied a short-term contract (6 months) and DH can be at home with my DD. But since it sounds like your son is happy in his care, that isn't a concern for you.

I dunno. My gut says you should go for it. Especially the part about them actively recruiting you: you might as well make a few demands, like you said, and see what they have to say. If they agree to make it more "family friendly" for you, then I think you'll have your answer!
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Yeah, I would negotiate more family friendly hours over more money. Maybe negotiate a 32 hour work week with the promise you will go up to full-time later? Job satisfaction is very important but being pulled between a demanding job and your desire to be with your family is very stressful. Been there done that and had to quit.
I'm in a simimilar situation now. I returned to my job after a 6-month maternity leave to find that things are SLLLOOOOOWWWW. I work 4 days/week (70% schedule - I also leave at 4:30) but I am so bored when I'm there! The problem with the bordeom is, that it's so hard to sit there, and miss your baby, and not be doing anything productive anyway. It's a tough toss-up: start looking for a new job that might not allow me my current hours which I love, or stay for a few months.

My current decision is that unless something I am truly interested in opens up, I'm going to wait at least until DS is one before looking to make a change. But, something that you are truly interested in HAS opened up. My take would be to go for it. It's not worthwhile leaving your DC to be at a job that doesn't fulfill you at all; and it sounds like you can make the other job work. Best of luck making your tough choice!
Thank you so much for answering. I have spent most of my time in my current, boring job working myself into a tizzy over this choice. Kofduke - you are so right - when you're bored, you feel the seperation from your dc so much more and it feels so pointless. Good luck with your decision.

My gut also tells me to return to my old job, but then I remember how overwhelmed I used to feel in it. And then I wonder if it's my lack of initiative or creativity that's the cause of my boredom. But I think that all of my initiative and creativity is spent being a mom and I just want a job where I'm more directed. My personality is not suited for a self-directed job.

I'm hoping that I can negotiate as many family-friendly benefits as possible and then I'm going to have to be disciplined in not letting the job take over my life. I just hope that the time will fly faster, my DH will get to spend more time with DS and I'll be more excited and energized in general so that I can be a better mommy. I think the extra time will not affect DS that much IF it doesn't affect me stress-wise (he usually doesn't want to leave his child care when I pick him up - he's too busy playing).

Thank you!
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