September 22, 2011

A Fork In My Road

I'm sure you all thought this would be a post about food, right?

Well, I have come to a point where I have reached a fork in the road. Not the fork you might envision.

Do I continue to pursue my career or become a SAHM.

I am at a good place with my current job and company. Being at a small company, I've had the opportunity to really get my hands dirty and get a ton of experience doing a variety of things from design to PR to advertising. As I head towards my 5 year anniversary with this company and in this position, I struggle with opportunity. I'd be a pretty big liar if I didn't say money was a driver and a motivator. I am currently at the top of my pay grade in my current position with zero opportunity for bonus or advancement which is one of the biggest negatives about working at a small company. My boss has been at the company for 10 years and is unlikely to leave anytime soon which leaves me to continue hitting my head against a fairly large brick wall in terms of moving up the corporate ladder. In my brief stint managing our marketing department while the boss was away on maternity leave, I absolutely LOVED it. Was invigorated by it. Most of all. I was GOOD at it. If I sit around here to wait my turn, I will be waiting a long time. A REALLY long time. No joking, like waiting upwards of 20 years. I'm willing to be patient and pay my dues, but even I have my limits when it comes to standing still or moving forward.

Then I start thinking about Jack and what it means if I start kicking up the heat in my career. It means longer hours, travel and likely some stress. But it could also mean more money and financial stability, being able to travel as a family to more exotic locations as he gets older and more money to save towards college and retirement.

My heart is always with my son. I think about what it meant for me to be able to just go home after school and hang out with my Mom who was a SAHM for many years when I was growing up and how much easier it was for her and for the family to have her there every day. I wouldn't have to pay for him to be in an after hours program. We wouldn't have to fight about who would stay home from work when he gets sick or how we were going to balance school days off and summer vacation. I would get more than 2 hours with him a night. I could volunteer and get back into some of the hobbies I love such as music. I would have a clean house. I could actually go to the gym every day. I could keep up with this blog! Once Jack gets into sports or activities, I would be available to cart him around. I could help other working parents in my neighborhood who struggle with knowing what to do with their kids after school or someone to get them from point A to point B.

Then I start thinking... is having an only child enough to stay home? Would I be bored? Would my career be over and would I be able to get back after what could be a 10 year hiatus? Would I miss working? Would this put too much stress on my husband to be the ultimate breadwinner and if so, how would that affect our marriage?

While I wouldn't consider becoming a SAHM until Jack starts Kindergarten- he's about to start Preschool at a great (a.k.a. expensive) school and I don't want to disrupt his progress- I still have to make a decision soon. Finding the right, perfect job to fit my career goals will take time and if I'm going to do it, I need to start immediately. The time to make a decision is now and I am completely torn in two.

Working moms: Would you stay home if you had the opportunity? 


SAHM's: What do you miss about your former job/career? How did choosing to stay home change your life for better or for worse?

3 comments:

  1. The only reason I'm working is because I have really amazing benefits. If Chuck had great benefits, I don't think I'd want to work.

    On the other hand, Primrose is fantastic, and I think of all the opportunities CJ has that I couldn't provide him if I stayed at home. Decisions, decisions!

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  2. I turned down a position last year...a position that meant moving up & a MUCH better paycheck...
    I turned it down, even though I am stuck stuck stuck where I am...
    Because where I am enables me to afford things we couldn't otherwise ie: health insurance! but also enables me to be with my kids far more than 'moving up' would allow. They don't stay little for long - No one ever says 'I wish I would have worked more' - do they? But I bet people often wished they had more time to do X, Y & Z with those they love -

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  3. Personally, If I was able I would only stay home with my kids until they went to school. Once htey were in school all day I know myself I would be bored. That being said I love my job and I don't know if I would be as happy if I didn't have it. I love my coworkers, they bring me a social aspect of my life that I wouldn't have as a stay at home mom. Plus, I spent a long time earning the three degrees that I do and not use them seems like a waste. I know that for me I am a better mom to my kids by feeling fullfilled by working. Then again I am a teacher so I get those vacations and summers home with them.

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