Are you going back to work?
If I am asked this question only once a day it is a good day. It would appear as if I have hit another one of those invisible time limits we know so well. 6 months to grieve a child and exactly 8 months to decide what you plan on doing with your entire career.
The thing about this question that irks me is, there is no easy answer. I am not one of those lucky women who had a secure job before taking maternity leave. Trust me, I tried. I worked endlessly for 3 years to turn my contract job into a secure job. Endlessly. I did everything I could. And in the end, my contract relationship ended when I took leave. There is no job for me to go back to. I do not get the luxury of choice. Yes, I am lucky to have a year of maternity leave from the insurance I paid into from that job but it still means I am currently without any employment prospects.
So that means finding an entirely new job. A brand new job with all that it brings. Long hours, finding day care, cost of travel, clothes (I am now a smaller size than all my work clothes) and the adjustment that would bring. Jobs in my field are not easy to come by. It took me almost a year of underemployment to find the contract position I had. That means I should have started looking the week after I brought Lillian home from hospital.
Matthew has left this decision entirely to me. He has said emphatically that he loves that I am on the one that cares for her but that he wants me to achieve my dreams and goals with my career as well. Financially we can have me stay off work it means some significant cut backs, which both of us are okay with (though, ugh!) It is my decision to make. I know Lillian would be okay going to daycare. I anticipate she would have the same struggles most babies do but that all would be okay. I do not think I would be okay putting her in day care quite yet.
Lillian is more than likely our only living child. Days are long and hard but I would not trade them in for the world. These will probably be my only days home with a wee one and they are incredibly sacred to me. Matt frequently says he loves that I see the firsts so I can share them with him, from learning to wave to first words, there have been so many firsts just I have gotten to see. I think if I returned to work right now, I would be sad and torn to miss out on them. I honestly do not believe I would be able to give my job the focus it deserves quite yet. I do not know when that will change, 18 months? 2 years? Either way, I have decided that I will reevaluate at two years if I am not compelled to return to work sooner.
I have a few other side projects that I am working on as well that I hope can bring in some extra funds where I can. Until then, Lillian will be my job and I am just fine with that.