Today is my last and final day of maternity leave. It's been 12 glorious weeks being with my daughter Winslow. I've had the chance to be a little housewife. In some ways, it's been great staying at home. The house is pretty straight, dinner is cooked on time every evening, and grocery shopping during the day is wonderful. But other days, it's been a little dull. I don't have tons of spending money, so mindless shopping is off-limits. I'll be glad to get back to work for some stimulation.
Is it worth it, though? After paying for daycare and work clothes, I net just a few hundred dollars a month. For that little bit of money, I get to be away from my children for 50 hours of daylight per week and then have the privilege of putting them to bed almost immediately after getting home. Some would keep their kids up to play, but I respect my children and their need for sleep.
My job also involves travel. Up until this point, it hasn't been extensive since I was only certified in my subject area in May of 2009. However, we have several girls either on or preparing for maternity leave, so the rest of us will fill in the gap. I have a potential trip already scheduled in a few weeks. Ryan will be fine. The girls will be fine. Will I be? I love travel, and training is fun...and yet my heart sinks when I think about being away for four or five days at a time. Especially since the financial rewards are limited. If I were more comfortable financially, maybe I could comfort myself with the knowledge that I was saving for our future.
At this very moment, it is not feasible for me to work less because we have to finish paying off debt and start saving, even if it's just a little bit each month. I would even be comfortable with Ryan and I both working parttime so we could spend more time with the kids. But in this town and in this job market, it would be near impossible.
So there you have it. I'm happy to get back into the swing of things at work. It's a job that can be fun and sometimes quite a challenge, so at least there's that to look forward to. It would be nice, though, to not feel so much guilt.