To Work? Or Not to Work?

The Working Mom

When I was younger, I always dreamt that I would be a career woman. When I got older, I thought “I will be a career mom.”  Now that I have Sunshine, I find myself currently a stay at home mom. I have enjoyed these past 7 months. Only one day did I not enjoy it, and that was last week when the teething got so bad, and I hadn’t had any time to myself. I sat and said, “Lord, this is one of those days I wish I was working.”

I am actually surprised it has only been one day I felt that way. I so often thought that I would want to escape being a mommy just for a bit, so that I could be “me” before mommyhood. I guess I feel that is a bit selfish of me… to want to be the “old me.”  The “old me” no longer exists.  There is the me that exists now, and really… there is not much about me that isn’t wholly tied to Sunshine. What she eats. When she sleeps. What she poops. What she says.

What do I miss from working?  The interacting with “big people” every day. Interactions that just might feature multiple syllables.  The comments and pats on the back for a job well done.  Hearing someone say “You did a great job today” and knowing that I also helped to contribute to putting food on our table. That what I did today had nothing to do with a beautiful little girl, and her learning, but had to do with what I can offer the world, society, as a person: Giving of myself, my time, my talents, as were honed via my education.  I miss these things.

Disability Rights

I have a Master’s degree. Did I ever tell you that? I worked really hard to get this Master’s degree, with a 3.9 GPA. I have a degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. This is on top of my B.A. in Special Education. I passed the National Level test so that I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. I love working with individuals with disabilities. I grew up with a brother with severe disabilities. I have a disability. I connect to a lot of people through the similarities and differences in struggles we stumble upon in our misadventures of being “differently-abled.”  I guess this is where I derive my satisfaction at helping others succeed. I discovered, however, that the scholarship that I received to obtain my Masters degree will have to be paid back if I don’t work in a non-profit or government agency for a time.  I have until 2015 to complete my obligation to work for non-profit/govt agency(for four years) before I lose out and have to begin repaying my grant.  The incentive and pressure to work is definitely increased by this fact.

On top of that… we have many of the same financial struggles as others.   Too much debt on the whole.  Just working for a bit part-time would help pay some of these things off, but then the cost of child care would significantly offset any gains. On this front, I was forwarded information about a position by a colleague.   This opportunity looks to be absolutely awesome, yet it would only be a temporary full-time position. Whether I am to be considered for this position, I do not know, but it would be a terrific opportunity.  Even paying for child care, I would still be able to help offset other costs we have. I know my hubby, the DOH, is rather reticent to have me resume my career just now.  He too wants for Sunshine to have at least one of us with her.  As written, that sounds terribly unfair, but in his own way he is sad to miss out on the experiences that she and I have together.  In addition to all of this, there’s the management of ourselves and our “hovel”.  My husband is still fighting off cancer, yet he is the one working. What if he couldn’t work anymore? Also, we have a hard enough time getting chores done around here even with me home. What will we do if I went back to work?

I would miss one year of Sunshine’s growth, her learning and smiles. Just this past week her “ma-ma-ma’s” that she’s been

You're leaving me?

saying since she was at five months, have actually been directed to me when she is upset and holding up her arms to be picked up. I could miss that first step, that run, that first sentence.  I could also miss out on the chance to be me, just Heather, for a while. I think this is important for my own sanity and mental health. On the other hand, I may be forgoing the chance to help get us out of debt.

So while there is no real decision before us to be made, I continue to ponder the what if’s and the maybe’s that could be possible. Wondering what living life without debt hanging over our heads (Wow! Is this even heard of?), and wondering what Sunshine will do next to inspire my amazement.  Is it worth it to work, even for only a short time?  I am beginning to believe, for the health of my relationship with the DOH (getting rid of this financial stress), and the betterment of our family, that working, at least for now would be the best option.

I haven’t even been chosen for a mere interview yet.  So why is it that I feel so guilty at just the thought of returning to work?


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