Saturday, June 26, 2010

The End & The Beginning

I've mentioned my work situation briefly in past posts & mentioned that big changes were coming my way this week-- Well, they are here (and this is a long post!).

Today is my first day as a stay at home wife.

It wasn't how I planned it, but it's how things happened. I wanted to work full-time up until the baby came, take an extended maternity leave, then transition to a part-time position in January. Instead, Friday was my last day and I have no concrete plan as to when I will return.

How do I feel? Relieved. Scared. Rejuvinated.Tired.
So many things.

The last year has been a real struggle for me--the position that I've been in has been challenging to say the least. I've worked for a boss that is a wonderful artist but a difficult manager. Expectations have been unreasonable, the schedule has been exhausting and the pressure has been oppressive. That being said, there have been so many rewarding moments. I've met Broadway writers, composers and directors. I've grown professionally in ways that I didn't expect by running my own department. I don't regret taking the position. But I've known for the past year that this position would not be a long-term option.

I've missed important moments and visits with my family because of my hectic non-stop schedule. I've been exhausted much of the time, and have been a poor host to company who have come to visit. I've stopped shopping and cooking for my husband, because I'm just too tired to do it. Rob has become afraid to ask me how my day was, because there is never a positive response. On paper, the job was a 40 hour a week position. In reality it was more like 50-60 hours a week on a regular basis. It was not uncommon for me to work several 15 hour days a week.

Then, I got pregnant.

I never missed a single day of work because of my pregnancy. On days where I felt so sick I could barely stumble into the shower I made myself do it. On those 15 hour days, I never expected any special treatment. Sometimes, I would have to come home after work and go to bed at 5:30pm just to function the next day, so I did it.

But, I reached a point where I didn't want to do it anymore. I never felt like I was getting enough rest and I worried that the constant stress would effect the baby. I worried that high blood pressure would be dangerous. And my parents were concerned that all of the stress would send me into labor early.

I told my boss about the pregnancy in late February and reminded him that I had no desire to maintain this schedule (or my current position) once the baby got here. We started talking about options for a part time position after the baby got here, but nothing was definite. When asked how long I wanted to work, I said that I wanted to stay until the end of August. Since I wasn't coming back, I knew that my boss would start looking for my replacement-- what I didn't count on, was that he'd start looking so early and find one so quickly. In a meeting approximately 6 weeks ago, he let me know that he had made an offer to a candidate and that my last day would be June 25th. This was two months before I planned on leaving work, but what could I do? I asked that he might consider keeping me on part-time to assist with the transition, but I never got any confirmation.

Wednesday afternoon, two days before my scheduled departure, my successor let me know that my boss had extended an offer to let me stay part-time through September 1st-- there were several problems, though. 1) There was no job description for the position that I was being asked to fill. 2) I was put off that the offer came from someone (as lovely as she is) who has worked for the organization for a week, not from my boss who I've worked with for the last 14 months. 3) The amount that I was offered was $7/hr less than what my current salary is.

I responded by saying that I appreciated the offer but that I needed more details-- what were the job responsibilities? Was my boss willing to meet me in the middle, between his offer and my current salary? My replacement wrote a job description containing tasks that she believes she'll need help with and she let me know that my boss had offered to come up $1/hr from his original offer. I told her I needed to think about it.

Thursday night was difficult. I really stressed over making the right decision. On one hand, I knew that accepting the job, meant that I would be able to continue contributing to our income over the next two months. On the other hand, I knew that the things that have made me unhappy, would probably continue to make me unhappy... even though I would only be working 16 hours a week. I thought, I can do this. It's only two months. I should do this. Then I thought-- I have been so tired, so stressed. Don't I deserve some peace and relaxation before my son gets here and turns my world upside down? (Which, I am looking forward to, more than anything!) Don't I want some time to nest and prepare my marriage, my home and myself for this baby?

After a long discussion with my parents and Rob, and with all of their support, I made the decision that Friday would be my last day. I, most likely, will not work outside of our home again until the beginning of next year. Will money be tight? Of course. Will giving myself the gift of this time at home be worth it? Definitely.

I enjoy having some time to myself, but I tend to get very antsy when I'm not on a schedule and I have nothing to do. There have only been a few months since I graduated college where I have been between jobs for one reason or another, and I remember enjoying two weeks of freedom. After that, I just felt kind of bothered my that no one was relying on me. That no one knew or cared if I ever made it out of bed that day. So, I'm making a list of things that need to get done, so that when I start feeling that way, there will be something that needs my attention.

The list has simple tasks around our house like: Plan & prepare dinner & Catch up on laundry. It has things that need to be done for Liam, like: Sew crib bedding and Wash blankets and clothes. It has things that I never had time to do before, like: Go to the bank & Take my car to the dealership. It has things for others, like: Take a friend (with a new baby) lunch & Help my parents unpack when they move here in August. It has things for me, like: Read a book & Go to swim class. I'm hopeful that I'll have a nice balance between a lack of a schedule and things to check off my list.

It's a big leap that I'm taking-- that we're taking. But I think that it's for the best. It's the ending of one phase of my life, and the beginning of another.


  1. Congratulations and good for you. I think their offer sounded like it was a little insulting, and I completely agree with your reasons for staying home. I would have made the exact same decision. Good luck and go out and buy a new, cute apron, Mrs. Housewife! :) (They have adorable ones at Target!)

  2. What a brave and scary decision. I'm glad you made the choice for you!

  3. Good luck! Enjoy your time! I stopped working at the start of my third trimester with my first pregnancy. At first, I felt very lost. However, over time, I loved having the time to really enjoy my pregnancy and rest, and to do those things that I wanted to for the baby. Then, when the baby got here, I was sooo busy. Babies take alot of time. They care when you get up. I never felt the need to get back. We organized our family in a way that we made ends meet, and then with DH's subsequent raises, we've continued in that way. We're now expecting #3. You are right. You will cherish this time with your baby. :)

  4. I'm a teacher and feeling lost, bored, lazy, non-productive is a yearly thing in June for me. Once July comes, I'm used to being at home, and once August arrives, I dread giving up my freedom. You will get used to the freedom very quickly!! This June is no different for me, but waiting on a baby to arrive is making it that much more difficult to pass the time!

  5. I love your attitude about all of this - it is a hard choice to make no matter how much you hate your job. The whole income thing ... haha. But I'm so glad that you're taking time for YOU and then having the time & energy to focus on Liam!

  6. I think you will be happy with your decision. Money wise, things always work out. Enjoy this time. I will be expecting more emails now, missy ;)

  7. Congratulations Stephanie! I absolutely believe that you have made the best decision for you and your family. I hope that you adjust to your new and improved role soon. Enjoy the last months of pregnancy as you await the baby's arrival. It's such a precious time in your life and I'm glad that you are at a point where you can truly experience the magic of it all.

  8. Wow Stef, what an exciting turn of events! It sounds like you made the best decision for you, your family, and even (ultimately) your career.

    As a perma-student, I am an expert in the art of filling days with useless, time-consuming tasks that prevent studying. Please, allow me to teach you. Self-beautification rituals can eat up several hours (waxings, threadings, polishings, pluckings, etc). Then there are long shopping trips to multiple grocery stores for exotic ingredients. Then cooking with the ingredients. Then messing up the recipe, throwing the slop away and starting over. Never forget about the hours that can be consumed by visits to the post office. Frequent solo lunches on the town are the non-working girl's best friend. I take the long-walk/scenic route everywhere I go. And I waste a lot of time online.

    Voila! The next three months are now taken care of for you.

  9. Wow!!!

    Something tells me that you will come up with many awesome projects to fill your time. And while it's not exactly as you planned it, this seems like a wonderful blessing and just what you need. Enjoy it, my friend! New life, big changes, good good stuff all around. xo