Thursday, June 4, 2009

Unemployment Redux

This past January 31st, I left work for my maternity leave.  It was the first time I'd been jobless since I was 15 years old - a pretty scary idea, even though we'd saved and planned for it.

I had 2 weeks off before Baby MoneyPenny arrived, and then settled into my maternity leave and new parenthood.

When I was 7 weeks postpartum, my job called and asked if I would come back part time to get a project I'd worked on earlier over the finish line.  They offered to be flexible with my schedule, and pay for my Mom to come on a business trip with Kiera so that I wouldn't have to leave her. 

It was an offer too good to refuse, so I went back to work a few days later.  Since my sister is my primary daycare provider, having an erratic schedule worked, and I don't have to worry about losing a daycare slot or paying for a full-time slot.  I ended up working between 14 and 25 hours a week, with the week of my business trip being the only 40+ hour week.

But then May 31st rolled around, and the contract ended.  While I'm in the interview process for a new job, and am continuing the hunt, I'm back at home.  

We're lucky.  And we employ foresight.  Between savings and unemployment, we can afford for me to be out of work for a good long while before having to worry.  And yet, I am worried - not because we can't make ends meet, or because I don't think I'll get the job I'm currently interviewing for, but because I'm now torn between home and work (and will be for the next 18 years).  It's no longer clean for me - if I work, I leave my daughter.  If I am home, I want to be working.  

I'll still go back to work - I am not cut out to be a stay at home parent, nor is our budget cut out for it.  Which is fine, it's the choice we made. 

Over the last couple years, since we bought our home, I have been pulled between wanting to do all the renovations we desire for the home (buying a fixer-upper that requires everything from wiring to windows will do that to a person) and wanting to save every penny.  And all this while still enjoying ourselves.  

I think we've struck a good balance.  We've done some renovations, plan to do more this year, and have saved well.  I may have a crack in the old, ugly entryway flooring, but I have a healthy bank balance.  And the flooring will go, hopefully sooner than later.

It's been hard to watch friends renovate with abandon, but I'm grateful for the choices we've made.  It means I can sit here and play with my daughter guilt-free.  For now.

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