Lean in? 

I recently finished Sheryl Sandberg’s feminist manifesto Lean In. Ever since I started my maternity leave I’ve been feeling guilty about not working. I’ve had a job since I was 16 years old and being at home has been difficult for me. My husband recently called me a “stay at home mom” and my jaw hit the floor. I responded, “I’m not a stay at home mom…. I’m just on leave.” So I thought reading this book would give me a bit of perspective and advice on how to balance my career aspirations with a new baby. After finishing the book I was left feeling more conflicted than ever. 

First, I can not relate to Sandberg. She has more resources than I could ever dream of. I can’t commute via private jet, hire personal nannies, or even afford a basic daycare! My job doesn’t come with a large salary and never will.

Second, I have a hard time justifying choosing my career over time with my child. I don’t make much #teacherprobs and most of my paycheck would go to daycare costs. Also, being a head start teacher I’m literally paid to nurture and teach other people’s young children. So why would I get paid to do this while I’m paying someone else to nurture and teach my child? I can’t justify this decision. 

I’m not against working moms. I often find myself browsing job postings. I miss working! Being a teacher was such a large part of my identity. I think it’s a unique field where it’s not just a job. Especially teaching inner city, I feel like there’s a hole where I left and I’m not sure if other teachers are willing to fill that space. 

So do I lean into my career? Right now the answer is no. After our experience trying to conceive I’m not sure if we will ever have another child. I’ve accepted that. That also means I need to cherish these little moments and soak up as much as I can of my son’s baby days. I have my whole life to work. My son will only be a baby for so long. I’m planning on returning to the classroom when my son starts preschool.

This is a very personal decision for every mom. I’m not advocating for one choice or another, just the choice that works for you. Right now, I’m leaning into my family.

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5 thoughts on “Lean in? 

  1. Oh girl, I feel you. When we were deciding daycare versus staying at home, finances played a big part for us too. Why would I work when my entire paycheck went to someone else caring for my child? Not even counting the days my kid would eventually get sick so I would have to take off from work anyway. When we lost our daughter, I still decided to stay at home because even trying to have a baby is slowly becoming a full time thing too. I don’t think you should feel any guilt, although I get it. I. Get. It.

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    1. TTC when it doesn’t occur the conventional way is definitely a full time job! It was like you posted before, we all need to learn to not be so hard on ourselves and take care of ourselves.

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  2. The message I try to glean from similar authors is that we now have CHOICES. We can try to do it all but probably won’t be able to give everything 100% like we might have previously. Fortunately, our predecessors fought for our chance to contribute to society through voting, working, volunteering, and leading our communities. However, they also gave us the right to pick and choose. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it all and many things are worth your full attention, like Walter! It’s also important to remember you have the choice and the right to change those focused throughout your life…or not, it’s your choice! You go, momma!

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    1. Absolutely! It’s great that most American women have choices (and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for paid maternity/paternity leave for Americans soon). It’s hard trying to do it all! The career is on the back burner while I get lots of cuddle time with Walt 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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