To go back to work or not to go back to work

That is my dilemma right now.

My 3-week leave is about to end and I’m supposed to go back to work on Monday.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, going back to work was never a question. It was a given. I never imagined myself as a stay-at-home mom, let alone be one. The plan was we’d hire a full-time sitter to take care of Jamaine when my leave is over.

But now that Jamaine is here, I find that the decision to leave my daughter to the care of another person is harder to make than I thought.

Just thinking about it now gets me emotional. I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like on my first day back at work.

I’m considering quitting work to take care of my daughter full-time just like my mom.

My mom was working at the time my brother and I were born. Before, she’d tell me stories about how my titas would hide me in the bedroom every morning so that I wouldn’t see her leave for work. That plan always backfired though because I always found out and ended up crying. Other times, she said, I’d desperately hold on to her clothes trying to stop her from leaving.

We stayed at my grandma’s house but we were left to the care of a babysitter. One day, my mom found out that the reason I cried so much when she was leaving was my sitter would hurt me and pinch me. That sitter was fired right away.

Another time, my other sitter neglected me which almost hurt me fatally. My mom and dad got home and found me chewing on something. When they opened my mouth, they found a couple of nails which I somehow got from the area of the house that was being renovated. By some miracle, I didn’t swallow the nails nor did I hurt my mouth. Needless to say that sitter was fired too.

When we started going to school, my mom stopped working to take care of my brother and me. I’d have to say my happy childhood was due largely to the fact that my mom was always there for us. It was great to have her bringing us and picking us up from school. She would play with us, teach us our lessons and cook us delicious merienda. It was so comforting to know that we could run to her anytime, all the time.

When we were in gradeschool, we hit the hard times. My dad got laid off from work and since my mom had no job, we had nothing to fall back on. My youngest brother was born during this time so we really hit rock bottom. It was a good thing some relatives helped us to get by.

I was young then but no longer oblivious to the pangs of poverty. I thought, would we have been better off if my mom was working too?

Nevertheless, I was proud of my parents because they were able to get us through the toughest of times. And though we never got filthy rich, we eventually fared well enough to have the basics and, more importantly, to send us all three siblings to school.

It was then I decided that when I grow up, I’d get a high-paying job and make lots of money so that when I have my own kids and family, they would never have to go through what we did.

Now I feel fortunate because even if my job is not a hundred percent stable, it pays fairly well enough for me to continue to support my family and, so far, to contribute in our household expenses and in providing for Jamaine.

But now that Jamaine is here, I feel a certain sense of guilt knowing that I would leave her for most of the day to be in the office.

I’ve told Kernan about my apprehension to go back to work. He said he fully supports me should I decide to stay home and take care of Jamaine and that he’ll work thrice as hard to sustain our family. (Indeed I have the greatest husband in the world.)

But I feel it’s not right for me to leave all our financial needs to him.

I know it would be impractical for me to quit work at this time. With the rising cost of almost everything, we need the double income to live comfortably.

More importantly, I want to be able to provide everything and anything my daughter needs. No one knows when the hard times might hit, and if ever it does, I don’t want my daughter to suffer even the slightest bit

On the other hand, I feel so torn because no matter how I try to arrange the perfect schedule to accommodate work time and family time, I know that the time I miss spending with Jamaine will never be replaced.

Will the money I earn be worth missing her first laugh, her first step or her first word?

Can I stand the fact that I may not always be there when Jamaine needs me?

Financial security versus quantity and quality time with my baby, is there a way to have both?

A year ago, all decisions I made affected only me. Now every decision I make will affect my family. I just hope and pray to God, I make the right one.

I feel like my life is changing so fast, I can barely keep up.

Pardon the emotion. These must be the postpartum hormones talking.

Comments

atomicgirl said…
aw... you're so lucky to have a husband who's willing to support you and your little family... it's really going to be a difficult decision but you've got to make it.

i remember i was supposed to go back to manila after my maternity leave for i still had a job waiting for me there. but i decided that it was best if i stayed here. the pay may not be as high as what i would be receiving in the Big City but at least, i would be able to see my son grow up. after all, he does not have a father around and it would really be even more difficult for him if i would also not be around that much.
ria said…
i can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to make the decision. coming from a total stranger, i suggest you try to find something that would give you the best of both worlds. there are a lot of online jobs such as writing stints, that you might want to consider. :) just a thought. best of luck! :)
Anonymous said…
jayme, jayme, jayme...look at you...mom, wife, and writer too =) im so proud of you, girl. and jamaine...what can i say? she's such a sweetheart. no wonder you're now faced with a dilemma like this. hay. im sure you'll come up with the right decision. take care...stay happy =)
--Cai
sexy mom said…
pray for discernment, dear, that's a big decision you will have to make. and once you make a decision, own up to the decision and the responsibility.

the decision has to be balanced, of course at this stage, your life revolves around baby jamaine and your husband...think also about yourself.

as all moms are, our tendency is of course, our interest is last.

God bless you.
Angel Jayme said…
Atomicgirl: It's hard enough being a mom. I can only imagine how hard it is to be both a mom and dad to your son. Saludo ako sayo. Pareho tayo, I want to see my baby grow up. And with my job, I'm not sure if I can do that.


Ria: Thanks for the suggestion. I'm actually considering the possibility of going back into writing. It's my first love after all.

Cai: Wow! Salamat sa pagbisita. Still not decided and it's getting me a bit down, but Jamaine and Kernie keep me afloat. You take care too.

Sexy Mom: Maraming salamat. I decided to go back to work while thinking about what to do. Hopefully, I'll figure this out soon.

:)
Shari said…
I don't think I'm "qualified" to say anything about this as I'm still too young, and I don't understand what you're going through. But if ever you decide to be a stay-at-home mom, there will always be ways to make money while in the comfort of your home. I would have been scared to leave my (imagined) baby to the care of strangers. I want to be there as s/he grows up kasi.

Buti na lang supportive and understanding is hubby. I hope you'd make the decision that would give you the best of both worlds.
Joel said…
This has been my wife's dilemma, too. When she gave birth to Cesky, she had a hard time reconciling the fact that we needed to earn more for the baby and that we needed to be more hands-on. The decision, however, was made in favor of enjoying time spent with Cesky rather than reaping the benefits of a two-income household. If I had any choice, I'd quit work, too, just to be with our little angel. Alas, someone has to sacrifice.
joel said…
Hi, Jayme. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. :) Would you consider a link exchange? ;)
Angel Jayme said…
Certainly.

:)

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