For the last 2 weeks I’ve been running a poll amongst my girlfriends with regards to my return-to-work vs. status quo options.
The truth is as much as I’ve enjoyed the last 2.5 years savoring and soaking in every moment from the pregnancy to birth to frazzle dazzle newborn days to being a proud mom of a now-toddler; being back at work for the last 4 months has brought me more joy than anticipated.
The achievement of being productive, efficient, contributing to a team, and being able to say I earned myself that pair of shoes I bought because I really liked it (and not have to really think hard about it because it’s being taken from our savings bank) has been exhilarating. I feel alive, recharged, more creative during my playtime with Liam due to random “out-of-the-box” moments which I’m more gamed to take on; and look forward to our bonding time together as a result of needing to set aside all mornings for work-related assignments. This has also inadvertently force me to rethink & organize his play/learn time during the mornings at home (that’s when I’m stuck to the comp and away from sight) which has been a good thing because his progress come bedtime has been nothing short of surprising (even papa’s a little jealous and makes an effort to be home earlier to be part of the conversation). Indeed work has brought out a better version of me into parenthood and as a wife.
But again, that’s just 4 months of freelancing, un-committed work arrangement which has worked out great, getting the request of my prayers answered so quickly… of wanting to connect with society again while still being able to be main caregiver to Liam. And I thank the Lord for letting me ease back in the corporate world with lots of reassurance.
Strangely, I’ve been up early the last 2 mornings, wandering about the Internet (looking for answers, maybe?!). I chanced upon Sandra’s post today, followed by a FTWM link party she held earlier this year and actually read all 30 contributing posts from other FTWMs in one sitting, finding myself nodding to most of what was being said – while having breakfast at the same table with my still-recovering son who threw up thrice after a good dose of ventolin to shake those phlegm out. I was obviously adamant to seek solace with the soon-to-be-made decision as I clicked link after link reading on (to add to my pros and cons chart) in puke-smelling PJs.
While the Bo is still supportive of me being main caregiver to Liam (although needing to chart out more learning curriculum for the soon-to-be 18 months old is not something I’m looking forward to), I know he’d appreciate any bit of financial independence that I can provide. The thought of expanding our family will also seem less daunting with the increasingly high costs of raising a child here (and the fact that he will still have to be the main/sole contributor of his mom’s expenditure which stresses him out month on month when part of it can go into significant savings for little man instead if there was more aid involved). We will also be able to dine and cafe out a lot more as with resume our biannual travel plans; and finally invest in the things we’ve talked about for our little guy.
And then there are days, like the past two, when Chungkin caught a nasty bug that was just a step shy from being bronchitis (thank goodness for divine nudge to get him to see the doc on the spot) and I’m thankful that I don’t have to get through a day in the office looking like crap from the 2-3 hours’ night sleep from a crying toddler who was plague with coughing, and I can be there by his side to soothe him when he calls out “mama…” in between heart-wrenching heavy sobs, causing him much discomfort. Feeding him medicine has been painful to do so because of his sheer stubbornness of simply not wanting it despite the few methods I’ve deployed from the ‘be nice about it’, ‘be quick and forceful about it’ to ‘feeding it with his favourite yoghurt’. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh, all not working out well so far.
I’m obviously still sitting on the fence. There might be a solution which can meet both wants, although knowing that I can do more (and probably earn more)…is tempting. I’ve always wished that my mom was a SAHM during my kin-dy and primary school days, envious at my classmates’ moms being able to pick them up from school and spend the rest of the day with them. And then as I grew older, others envied me back for having a work mom who was “cool”, “fashionable” and in tune with my ever-changing quirks of turning 18. She gave me my space & independence without probing too much apart from reminding me to do what’s ‘right’, brought me on awesome mom/daughter quality time trips and didn’t nag or yell at the littlest things because off-work, she was just focused on making the best of time spent with me. Although she also occassionally lamented how I might have turned out scholar material earlier (than later, but at least I ended up valedictorian in the end) had she been blessed with the opportunity to be a stay home mom.
Whichever decision I come to, it’ll definitely be one that will best meet our priorities and make everyone happy. Happy mama, happy baby, happy husband.
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