When I was obsessing over my decision to return to work. I wrote a couple of letters to my daughter for her to read when she grew up. I felt my decisions would impact how she viewed me and how she felt about herself. My thoughts and feelings on this topic are my own only. I do not intend to hurt anyone who chose to go back to work.
I was a phone call away from returning myself: a “no” that once uttered could have been a “yes”.
To My Daughter Emma:
After much careful consideration…I decided to not return to work after my extended leave of absence after the birth of you and your brother.
I strongly believe that a woman’s education, career development and more importantly self-development are important and should NOT be thrown away based on her relationships alone. A decision as important as leaving the work force has to be a carefully considered one.
In our family’s case we believed we were gaining very little by my return to work. I was 100% confident in my relationship with your dad and the common goal of us working together (if I felt that I did not have a strong relationship I would never have given up my job BECAUSE it would reduce my financial power). The choice to stay home for a period of time was made to spend extra time with you at the sacrifice of other things: I will admit that you and your brother have not had swimming lessons and you are two-years old (insert audible gasp from the parent crowd). You did not receive a birthday gift for your first or second birthdays instead we went on a family outing (double gasp). Any new clothes that you have worn in two years has been a gift from family and friends (GASPPPPPP). There are pros and cons to working and having a double income. It is a trade-off.
As a woman I feel empowered to be able to make the choice to stay home. I wasn’t told that I had to. I wasn’t forced into the decision. I still have equal power in my marriage. I have a strong sense of our family’s finances and equal purchasing power. These are important points to consider. Money is power. I am not any less of a person because I don’t have an employee number. My dreams and aspirations are intact even though my wardrobe is in shambles.
To my daughter – you have a choice to be who you want to be. You can have it all but sometimes the costs of having it all at once are way too high. This was the case for me. The cost of having a career, raising three children in these early years and the small monetary gain was too high. I shed tears for what I thought I wanted. I shed tears for letting go of material and career-related aspirations. But I can assure you that I feel stronger than ever once I focused on things that are more important to me. It still stings when I am referred to as “unemployed” or “just a stay at home mom”…at the end of the day that is my pride and nothing more.