A difficult choice – 2

Yeah, sounded too good to be true, didn’t it? Okay, now hear the other side of the story.

I try not to indulge in mommy guilt, but the nagging feeling that I am missing out on a beautiful part of Baby M’s childhood is always there. I hate it when he discovers the fun of splashing around in the bath tub for the first time and it’s my mom who sees it and calls out to me to come watch. Sure, it is a privilege to be able to rush in and watch, but I’d like to be the one to see that first look of delight on his face. Watching him enjoy the bath tub so much, I realize it’s time to take him swimming, but the pool is crowded on weekends and I have no time on weekdays. Little things like that. I took him to the beach (which is a 10 minute drive from our place) for the first time in six months last Monday (when I had a New Year’s day holiday) and he loved it! If I wasn’t working, we could do these fun things every other day, not just on weekends.

Then there’s so much stuff I’d like to do for myself.Β  My mom’s learning Madhubani painting this month, I’d love to join her. I want to take up gardening seriously. I’d like to learn the basics of home interiors, so I can do up our home myself next year. A neighborhood aunty’s teaching Bollywood dance – it’s no secret that I have two left legs, but I love to dance and I’d like to learn a couple of dance moves at least, so I can stop making a fool of myself dancing in public. And so on and on.

So what? Many women manage home, work, kids and still find time for themselves, I hear you say. But the point is, I don’t want to be one of them. I hate to rush through life. More importantly, I think we are in a good enough place money-wise that I can afford to take it easy for a while. Also, working from home offers me flexibility, but I miss the interaction one enjoys at the workplace.

And to be honest, I was never cut out to be an engineer or a career person. I never was geeky, nor am I terribly ambitious about my career. I just happen to have reasonably good brains and once I take up something, I take pride in doing it well. So I am a software analyst by default you could say. Sure, I mostly enjoy what I do, but my work has never defined me – it’s just something interesting that keeps me busy and stimulated, and the fact that I earn good money for it is like icing on the cake. In contrast, the husband is pretty ambitious and serious about his career. So call it a gender stereotype or whatever, but those are the kind of people we are.

Having said all that, giving up work is still a difficult decision to make. What if the husband takes time to find something good post-MBA? What if staying at home bores me out of my wits? And the biggest of all – what if no one offers me a job ever again?

Tell me, what do you think?

P.S. These thoughts have been churning around at the back of my mind for a while now, but the trigger for this post was my boss offering to try and renegotiate my benefits so I can continue to work from India. The Indian benefits are unlikely to be as good as the US ones, hence this need to re-evaluate my priorities.

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5 responses to “A difficult choice – 2

  1. Aha….
    This side I can understand. The mommy guilt will be there irrespective. If you work, am I doing enough with the kiddo. If you are not working, am I over pampering him, not letting them figure out things independently. Its there no matter what.
    I agree, don’t work just because you have to, work because you want to. If money is not a constraint (touch wood), than explore your options.
    Here is my take- Take a break- a chutti of 2-3 weeks or so to see if you can be full time mommy. Don’t take a vacation, just regular day to day life and see how well the two of you all cope up.
    Secondly, is it possible to try part time? I am still envious of the complete WFH set up πŸ˜‰ hence asking. If part time is an option, the reduced hours might give you best of both worlds…
    Tough choices, but dont be hasty in decisions!

    Me: Hey, I really like the sound of the part time option. It was never possible given the visa issues in US, so I never considered it seriously, but in India with an Indian contract, I can definitely think about it. Thanks for the reminder G!

  2. I know what you might be going through with all these thoughts. Its a tough choice to make b/w work and home.

    I would say keep the job for a year or so or until the husband gets a job and see how things go until then.

    Me: Yeah, exactly my thought too. But Baby M’s childhood feels like it’s slipping away fast – that’s the only dilemma. 😦

    Another thing that came to my mind was how about trying to work when Baby M is asleep ONLY? Like work for a couple of hours at night instead and keep the afternoon and evening for yourself?

    Me: Won’t work babe! My sleep is most pyaari to me. :p

    The WFH option is a very good deal, in my opinion. Not many people are offered that and not many employers are willing to offer too. Of course, the benefits will definitely not match that of the US, but it is definitely a good offer to think about.

    Me: That’s what’s enticing me as well. I’ll find jobs aplenty in India, but WFH may not be as forthcoming…

  3. Hi Devaki- A very happy new year to you and your family! How’s Baby M doing?

    Me: He’s doing great yaar. Good to see you here after so long!

    You know, any doubts I had about work were dispelled when I was at home on maternity leave. I found out that I needed to get out of the house for 8 hours everyday. If I didin’t, I might just drive everyone around me crazy by trying to do everything at home and cribbing about how much I have to do :-D. I got lucky on most of the baby’s firsts- I was there to witness them. I’m aware that there are a few I have/will miss out on but I’ve made my peace with that. It is a compromise yes, but one that works for me. Don’t let this misguide you into thinking I’m the ambitious type- work has just turned into a part of everyday routine, something I can’t break out of too easily.

    Me: You had a baby too? Wow, congrats! I get what you are saying by driving everyone crazy… I am afraid I would drive myself crazy! You are brave/lucky indeed to have made peace with your choice. Hope I get there soon… after making the choice i.e. :p

    I’d also suggest that you try taking a break from work for a few months: set yourself a deadline for making the decision (like going back to work post-maternity-leave). The time-off would give a feel for both options.

    I wish you luck! And a year filled with fun, joyous moments with the baby!

    Me: Thanks dear!

  4. Cannot point at THE right thing to do ..

    But, here is what I would do, if I were in your shoes. Quit the work. Take the big plunge. Would be a bit scary, but that’s what my heart wants/ craves for.
    The mommy guilt is part of being a mommy – always there πŸ˜‰ But, hey, I’ll be giving mommyhood my best! πŸ™‚

    If I am confident in the current job skills, nothing can stop me from finding another down the road. May be I’ll lose touch and may be it’ll take longer to get back in the grind. But, I have done it and and can do it again.

    All the best with whatever you decide dear. {{Hugs}}

    Me: I *heart* what you say girl!!! πŸ˜€

  5. I would love to have a work-at-home job, where i could be free after 6-7pm, but that’s not always the case – people want to get as much work as possible in India which means working till night 8-9pm and then returning to home after an hour of journey. That’s why i take breaks in between jobs (like 6 months).

    Me: I know! I dread the thought of going back to work full-time in India for that very reason! 😦

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