Lately I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to be when I grow up. Or at least when my kids grow up. I'm worried about going back to work full time and the upheaval to our lives it will bring.
When I factor in daycare costs for two kids, commuting costs, the need for new work clothes (because none of my old stuff is even close to fitting my mummy tummy), and various expenses like coffees, lunches, etc. etc. etc., I'll probably have something like $20 in the bank account. I'm scared to do the actual math - it's entirely possible that it will COST me to go back to work full time. Not to mention that I will have a scant few hours in the day to spend with my precious babies and the opportunity cost of lost time with them bills out at a crazy exorbitant hourly rate.
I did go back in between the boys, and while I liked having some time without a tiny person tugging on me, getting a decent amount of money deposited in my account every two weeks (nevermind that almost half of it was gobbled up by the daycare cheque), and having more intellectual challenge than memorizing Sandra Boynton books, I definitely did not like the compressed time at home. Also I was already pregnant when I went back, so I knew it was only temporary and so did everyone else. And of course, Roo got sick so many times from the saliva-fest known as daycare that I ended up missing a lot of work - or needing to work from home a lot with a crabby toddler wiping his nose on my shirt, taking conference calls on mute. So I don't think I was ever seen as a fully-contributing member of the team. Which frankly suited me just fine at the time, the pregnancy was really kicking my ass.
But I felt mega guilt any way it was sliced. Guilt for not being present enough or busy enough or focused enough at work. Guilt for not being with my baby enough. Guilt every day for leaving him at daycare past a certain hour when all the other kids got picked up. Guilt for letting the house turn into a dump. Guilt for barely having anything left at the end of it all for my husband. Guilt for not having time to send Halloween cupcakes to daycare, or Christmas baking, or Valentine's cards. (Actually I did do Halloween cupcakes, but I stayed up until like 3:00 in the morning to make and decorate them. And that's why I did not do any of the other things.) Guilt for not taking care of my unborn baby well enough because I was too busy trying to do everything else.
So now that almost half of my second maternity leave is behind me, I'm hearing lots of questions floating around in my head. Should I go back full time? Should I try to go back part time? Should I try to find a McJob where I work a few evenings or weekend shifts - thus keeping the boys out of daycare but still keeping me sane and a financial contributor? Should I go back to school? Should I be a stay at home mom for a while? Will it kill me to have zero income?
I know it's still a long way off, but a week goes by in a blink these days and I know that the time will be here before I know it. I'd like to have a plan for the future. I just have no idea what the plan should look like!
All I know for sure is that come next March, I'll be feeling guilty.