Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Career vs Home Woman

When I was 8 years old if someone asked me if I was going to be a career woman or a stay at home mom I would have replied stay at home mom without a doubt.  I was always toting around my Baby Shivers doll that looked like (and smelt like) a real baby, dressing her and taking care of her as if she was real.  As I grew older, around the age of 15-17 if you had asked me the same question again I would have switched to career woman.  I had a vision in sight and I wasn't going to let anyone or anything get between it and me. It cost and/or didn't allow me to pursue personal relationships for so long because I was going to be a career woman and didn't have time for those distractions.

Fast-forward to 2013 and #TeamAmelie was born.  At the time I had just landed my first permanent teaching gig when I first found out I was pregnant.  I can remember sitting in the parking lot of the school before going into the interview and calling DH crying because I didn't think I could go in because I was afraid I'd throw up everywhere.  Morning, afternoon, night…ok ALL DAY & NIGHT sickness had me rethinking what I had just done a few weeks earlier.  I digress…Here I am pregnant with our first child, land my first permanent teaching position and I have to decide which I want more!? I was determined to work as long as I physically could because I'm not very good at sitting & waiting for something that doesn't have a definite arrival time.  I was also determined that I was going to get back in the classroom just six months after she was born.

See, I have heard of the horror stories of starting back into a classroom part way through the year because you can't make it your own.  The students refer back to their previous teacher (your replacement, but as far as their concerned their teacher), they are set in their routines, rolling with the replacement's expectations.  How could I break this in February? Also, how was I going to stay home and live the pace of a newborn/toddler after living the pace of a 10,000 person per game hockey career & the life of a university student for the last 10 years?  Thus it donned on me…I'm going to go back to the classroom after 6 months off and DH can stay home with #TeamAmelie.  I'm not leaving her with a stranger at daycare, I know DH will text me throughout the day, and worse case scenario they both end up at my inlaws and my mother in law saves the day.

So many people told me I was crazy, that I'd change my mind once I had the baby, why would I want to get back to work- there's only misery there.  You name it, I heard it.  I didn't let that sway me though.  I loved my job, my sense of accomplishment at the end of the day and I needed to feel like I did something each day.  Don't get me wrong, I did A LOT with #TeamAmelie and I wouldn't have traded that time for the world, but I also knew where I belonged and that was in the classroom.  I ran into who at the time I would call an acquaintance at the mall one day and we got chatting about being off on leave and the adjustment blah blah blah and then she asked me "so you'll go back to work in a year and then what?" I stopped her right there in her tracks and announced that I would be going back to work in the fall and DH was going to try his hand at parenting.  For the first time ever, she was the first person who agreed and applauded me for my decision.  I could have hugged her right there in the mall!  She too confessed to me that she didn't think she could stay home for the full year because so too is a busy body and is passionate for her career.  I instantly felt a connection: someone who understood my desire for a career and for being a parent.  I don't think I could have a full appreciation for either one without the other, but I had to be honest with myself and the world if I was going to make it work.

Fast-forward again- #TeamOlivier is born two years and four days after #TeamAmelie and I still had the same feeling as I did the first time.  I worked right up to the bitter end, but this time I decided that I was going to get back into the classroom before the end of the school year.  Yes, just 4 months after #TeamOlivier was born, I will be heading back to my place of passion & comfort.  Like a script written two years ago, people questioned my decision, my sanity and at times if I was a real person. Although our intentions are a little bit different this time (ie. we will get the whole summer off together in what otherwise would have only been 2 non-consecutive weeks), I still feel as determined and passionate about my job.

Having two kids is a whole new ball game, especially at the ages they are, so balancing the home/work scale is going to take some adjustment for everyone.  When I go back in just under two weeks I will be returning just half days, to try & meet a healthy balance of career vs home woman.

I understand there are financial constraints to sharing the parental leave, and that not every father is given the opportunity to stay at home with his children; however, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and our partners to find the right balance between all of our desires whether they be at home or at work.

What would you or did you do with having children and your career? Were you as definitive as I was in knowing where your passion lied and what you wanted?  I'd love to hear from you.

Sunshine & happiness today and forever.

Stephanie :)

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