Time Off

This morning my husband started an unexpected conversation. While discussing a friend with a young daughter he asked when a child can begin pre-school (the friend’s daughter is 3). Then, he turned to me and asked:

“What would you think of staying home for the first three years? Would you be ok with doing that?”

What followed was a conversation about the timing of children, schooling preferences, stay-at-home-parent preferences, and career aspirations. A little heavy for a Friday morning while getting ready for work.

But you guys? It was easy.

After all, this is the man who once told me his salary aspirations included making enough that I could quit my job, if I so chose. Sure, that was about money, but the fact that he realized it was a choice I could someday make, and was respectful of it, was enough for me.

What that says about our relationship … that we can discuss major life decisions over teeth brushing and make-up application … is reassuring, and for another day.

This morning, though, he was wanting to know (once we’d talked through it all) how I would deal with going back to work … if I chose to do so once our child(ren) was (were) in school. He was concerned there would be attachment issues … or a feeling of disjointment. Would I want to jump right back in, or take some time? Work part-time, or not at all, or full-time and find a babysitter for the afternoons? Would I be ok? For that matter, what was my sister planning on doing, now that she has a son, but is still in school?*

It was interesting to hear how our opinions on the subject matched … and didn’t. For the record, I’m not positive I would stay home for years, but I might. I also might decide I’d rather not “go back” to work and find something else to do. It’s nice to know that no matter what we decide to do, he’s behind me 100%.

How about you? How are you planning on handling … or not … the kidlets?

 

*The sister is in school to be a grade-school (specifically 2nd grade) teacher. Our mother ran a daycare out of our home for 10 years where she had mostly teachers’ kids. Those that were old enough to be in school themselves were generally at our house for an hour and a half most days. Just enough time for someone to meet them at the bus, and for their homework to be done. The sister will be FINE.

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5 Comments to “Time Off”

  1. I go back and forth about the idea of staying at home full-time for a few years (I mean, we go back and forth on the idea of kids, so this is all VERY theoretical at the moment! :D) For years I was adamant about “getting” to have my own career outside the house, no babies would slow me down, thank you VERY much. And then my friends started having babies. And some of them had their babies and went back to work. And without fail… every time one of them did, no matter how long their maternity leave was, I’d hear them say things like, “I can’t believe I have to go back already! That was too short a time to be home! My kid is still so tiny!” And it makes one go “Hmm,” y’know? Added to all this, my mom was a stay-at-home mom up until I left for college, at which time she started a second career, so that’s kind of the parenting model I was raised with.

    All of which is to say… I don’t know. Right now, I’m pretty drawn to the idea of staying home or at the very least pursuing a very flexible or work-from-home career if/when we have kids. At the same time, because of this desire, I find myself REALLY wanting to work a job pre-babies that I LOVE and am super-passionate about. I feel like if I can have that experience, then the decision of staying home or not would feel less fraught, less like “Oh, am I just choosing this because I hated my job or working was too hard” etc. (And then maybe getting back in the game would be easier, more appealing, as well?)

    Like I said, all theoretical at the moment, but I am super-grateful, like you, that I have a husband who very much has my back, whatever I decide. Jason’s said similar things about making sure that he can pull an income wherein I wouldn’t *have* to work if I didn’t want to, and as someone who’s *had* to work, in some form or another, since I was 15, that kind of support is endlessly reassuring and makes me feel MORE able to take risks/make career decisions based on happiness, etc.

  2. If we have kids (and that’s a pretty big if) I really want to stay home for the first few years. I don’t have a particularly high paying job now, nor one that I really want to make a career out of. I’d much rather stay home then pay not much less then I make to have someone else get to spend all day with my baby. Once they start pre-school, I’d like to go back to school myself and totally switch careers. If we are going to have kids, it will be in the next 5 years or so. It really doesn’t make much sense for me to go back to school now to then immediately spend three or four years out of the job market. Especially when I’m planning on going back for a rapidly changing field like scientific research.

  3. I have zero desire to stay home with my children for more than maybe, MAYBE, a year. More likely I would work part time, if I took any time off. I’ve been very vocal in my career goal for myself being that I personally will make enough money so my husband can start his own business and work from home. I think if he is working from home, we will probably still hire an au pair or mother’s helper type person to actually watch the kid, but he will be there as well. Or I will run for office, spend three months out of the year in session, and then spend the rest of the year with my kids and doing constituent work.

    I look at staying home with kids to be a job. For me, it’s not a job I want. I’m okay with that. I feel sometimes like I should be guilty – like all mothers want to stay home with their kids, and I’m ALREADY a bad mom, even though I’m not a mom. But I want to work, I’ve always wanted to work, I know it’s possible that I might not want to go back to work and I think we should try to plan for that financially, but I really don’t want to be a SAHM.

  4. @ vadoporroesq One of the best moms I know & women I look up to most work while he husband is a stay at home dad. Being a great mom does not equal staying at home. You will be a great mom, no matter what you decide.

  5. Well, I have always wanted to stay at home at least for the first years (2? 3? ), or like you say, until they can go to preschool at which point I could work half time or have some kind of flexible job where I could arrange my own time (like research? or my own clinic and then work only by appointment?) . To me it doesn’t make so much sense to have to pay for daycare, because since it is so expensive, the salary that I would make would go in 70 % to pay for some form of daycare, and if that’s the case I might as well stay with the children… At the same time I am 31, so we are not waiting too long to have kids.
    The situation (career wise) for me here it is very hard and complicated so I might be going to grad school next year in the hope that I will finally be able to work in my field, which I am very passionate about. All of this is on our minds, because if I do get pregnant I will have to combine studying and caring for the babies or find some kind of solution so your sister’s story gave me hope.

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