March is quickly approaching, and this will be the end of my "maternity leave" at work. In other words, if I don't return to work in March, they will give my job to someone else and I will have to reapply and go through hell to have anything even vaguely resembling my job back. So this post is a cost/benefit analysis of sorts. Feel free to weigh in on the topic and let me know your opinions.
I have really enjoyed staying home with my kids for this year and think that there have been way too many benefits to count, but among them, I think
- 1) My kids are WAY healthier than they would have been at daycare. Gabriel used to have ear infections about once every month or two. He's had one cold. That's it.
- 2) I've been able to breastfeed my baby girl on demand whenever and wherever she needed it. I have felt some amount of guilt at only going 9 months with my son because I went back to work and it totally caused our schedules to get out of sync, resulting in too little milk and me being bitten instead of getting to feed my rambunctious baby. Now, he did great, don't get me wrong, but I was trying to make it to a year or beyond. I think I will definitely get to one year with the little princess, but going back to work will probably put a big damper on the nursing.
- 3) I haven't missed any baby firsts with her, I've been there for every milestone and captured an enormous amount of her development on camera. I think I will now need a new hard drive, but that's okay!
- 4) I feel like I know my son much better than I did when I was working and only spending 3-4 hours a day with him before he went to bed. I've realized many nuances of his personality that escaped me before. He will be going to pre-K this year, so I am so glad I took the opportunity to get closer to him.
- 5) I've been able to cloth diaper the baby and feel good about my diminished contribution to global destruction. I had no idea there was so much to learn, but now feel like a cloth diapering veteran.
Now, here are the reasons I might want to return to work:
- There is the obvious benefit of having income, which is no small matter these days. Housing market has literally clobbered us financially.
- Health insurance. If I don't go back in March and I lose my job, then I have none. Adding me to hubs insurance amounts to paying another (very ritzy) car payment but with no car!!!
- Not returning to my job now and wanting to later will result in enough paperwork and ass kissing to make me want to jump off a very high cliff, a pretty tough thing to do in Florida. It may even be entirely impossible to get back into my (really awesome) school. This is a big district and I really wouldn't want to teach anywhere else.
- There will be no one in the house all day, so it will remain as clean (okay, as dirty) as I left it each morning. Most of the mess making will occur at daycare and I will not feel as though I spend every waking moment cleaning the house.
- I will more than likely lose the rest of the baby weight (which is only 5-10 pounds) very quickly because teaching is exhausting, there's no time to eat, and my school is so huge it is a workout just to get to my classroom in the morning - especially since I'm always late and have to sprint!!
- I will only have to teach for the last quarter of the year, and the majority of work has already been done. I will have less than a quarter to teach//grade and then just review stuff. Pretty light duty compared with starting the year new.
- When I am at work, I can actually kind of focus mentally. I've said many times that working is easier than being at home with 2 kids all day, which has made me feel like my brain is made of swiss cheese - full of holes. I have the CRS syndrome. I hardly ever think about anything that doesn't relate to preschoolers or babies. Not that teaching 9th graders really amounts to mentally challenging exercise, but it is a step in the right direction.
So, I have this huge decision to make, and I'm not even sure that I will get to make it. Finances might deem it necessary that I go back. But it is still weighing heavily on my shoulders. I will probably feel guilty either way, because that is what moms do, but I just don't know if I can leave my little ladybug. Look at her!!!
What to do.... What do you think?