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Thursday, July 26, 2007
That work thing again
I'm looking at the calendar and dreading the beginning of August. You see, August is the month in which I am supposed to return to work. And that means leaving my little guy behind, in the care of someone who isn't his mommy.

Back when I was pregnant, I wrote this after I visited a daycare center. Sure, the people seemed nice enough, but something just didn't feel right to me. I cried when I left, and I cried that night when I told Jason about the experience. Even then, the idea of leaving my son with people who didn't know him and love him as much as we did made me uneasy.

Back then, I still resigned myself to the thought that daycare wouldn't be so bad. So many people have their kids in daycare, and they are wonderful, happy, well adjusted children. "We can handle it," I told myself. Especially if my plan worked out. I would talk to my bosses while I was on maternity leave, and propose a reduced schedule that would still allow me to anchor the news every afternoon, but spend the mornings with my baby. Of course it would mean a paycut, but I was ready to make that tradeoff.

I'm a lucky woman, in that things usually go my way. I work hard, establish a plan, and it all usually works out in the end. But not this time. My bosses have essentially refused my proposal, and now it comes down to this: come back to the job you left, and the hours it requires, or likely don't come back at all. That means about 11 hours of daycare per day for Aiden. Essentially we'd wake him up, leave for work, come home, give him a bath, and put him to bed.

I've even considered taking a demotion and not even anchoring anymore... just doing reporting. But as my boss told me yesterday, right now there isn't even a job like that available for me to move into. They also said that they aren't willing to work on this or discuss it anymore until I come back to work. I suppose I thought that I was valuable enough that they would try to work with me a little more, to find a role for me to play that isn't at the expense of my son. But as of now, there aren't any options before me.

The good news is that we could definitely do just fine on Jason's salary alone. So what I am left to ponder is the future of my career. This really isn't about money, but about all the hard work I did to get where I am today. Am I to walk out on all that? But then I look at Aiden and realize it's not just about me anymore. My son is more precious than any career, even if taking a leave of absence for a few years renders me unable to get back on the track I was on.

I've come to the conclusion that, at least for me, the notion of "having it all" is total bullshit. I so admire those moms out there who, either because they have to or want to, can juggle children and career and home and marriage and make it all work. But, for me, I feel deeply that splitting myself in two to be both mother and career woman (at least with the schedule and hours that this job requires) will leave me unsatisfied and unhappy with both halves of my life.

So it comes down to this. I will return to work on my scheduled date in late August. I will leave my son in the care of family members who have so lovingly agreed to re-adjust their lives to care for Aiden for a few weeks. But if we can't come to an agreement that satisfies both my employers and me, I know what I need to do. My little boy is already growing up fast, and I am lucky that I can afford to be there with him as it happens. He's the best job I have ever had, and I can never forget that. Even if the pay comes in snuggles, dirty diapers, and drool. :)


Blogger Eric said...

I would tell said employer (who I can't stand to watch anymore BTW) to take their job and shove it. They can create a situation for you that would allow you to be both mother and anchor if they chose to. You are head and shoulders above the rest of the people they trot out to read us the news, and should be treated as such. I understand how you feel about the situation, but ask Kirsten Page if she thought she was more valuable than the station management deemed her to be. Good Luck, and keep us posted

Blogger Lucky Gem said...

Good luck with everything. Fortunately for me, I was able to drastically cut my hours at work, only working two days a week. Sorry they aren't willing to work with you more. Things WILL work out in the end no matter what your decision.

Blogger JP said...

What's your contract like? How long after you leave to you have to wait to take another on-air job?

When I worked at your local Fox affiliate, I remember the weekend anchor was only part-time, to spend time with her children. Maybe you could shop around after a while for a better part-time gig.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how hard this is. While I wasn't in the career I initially wanted to be in, I LOVED my job, had busted my ass for a promotion, received it while on maternity leave and when faced with daycare issues, was told to either quit or deal with it. So, I left. My baby was only going to be little once and I didn't have the option of family caring for her.

You know all of us will support you 110% in anything you decide. You do what's best for you and your family.

Good luck and keep us updated!!

Oh and by the way? Every post you do now? Really should have a pic of that darling son of your's :)

Blogger Jennifer said...

How sad is it when you realize that your employer doesn't see you as a valuable asset, and isn't willing to work with you? Makes me sick, it really does. I have seen it so many times and it just angers me. They could accommodate you if they wanted to- they just don't want to.

Many hugs to you! The decisions we have to make after becoming Moms are just ridiculous... it sounds like you aren't really conflicted about your decision, but hopeful that you won't have to make it :) I hope things work out!!!!

Blogger janet said...

I realllllly hope your employer comes around and works something out. I wish we lived in a country where that kind of thing was NORMAL and not a rarity. Cmon, it's the 20th century people, and women (and men!) are trying to juggle a lot of things. Cut people some slack and be..dare I say it..FAMILY FRIENDLY! (Sorry, rant over. Big hugs. I wish you lots of luck, and I'm glad you have a lot of support!)

Blogger Silly Hily said...

Yeah, this is a loaded post and to keep me from getting all worked up I'm going to keep it simple and just say one thing: Aiden is VERY lucky to have you as his mommy. Very lucky.
Good luck Kelly!

Blogger emily said...

Your boss sounds like a bully.

Good luck. You'll figure it out.

Anonymous audrey said...

Best of luck to you, Aiden, and Jason! Sounds like your boss is being totally lame, but I'm glad you have a workable back-up plan. And if it weren't for all those pesky bills, I would love to get paid in snuggles.

Blogger Frema said...

That stinks that your boss won't even discuss the issue with you any further until you come back to work. I'm PO'ed on your behalf.

In terms of what might happen to your career if you decide to stay at home: I can't imagine that taking a few years off would hurt you to the point that you couldn't eventually get back to where you are now. I know nothing about the news business, but I bet there are ways you can stay involved with the field on some level and use your skills in other ways so that you can continue to build your knowledge base while at home. You are a smart woman and will find a way to make it happen.

Whichever choice you make, I wish you the best of luck.

Blogger Rachel said...

It is because of situations like yours that some women think they cannot have careers and kids.

It will all work out in the end.

Blogger Isabel said...

You know what I thought while I was reading this post?

Quit your job. Stay at home. Love your boy.

You can always go back to that job, or find a better one. Seriously.

Giving it a few weeks to figure out is a great idea. Best of luck. We'll all be here on the sidelines cheering you on!

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