Monday, March 28, 2011

Becoming a Stay-At-Home-Mom, Part I

Today I met with my supervisor and turned in my two weeks notice. Professionally, this is a good time to leave because half of my caseload hours are being discontinued at the end of this month anyway, so fewer cases need to be reassigned to other workers. Personally, this is a good time to leave for many reasons. (The absolute least of these reasons is that my birthday is tomorrow!) Here is an overview of my employment since taking maternity leave.

Maternity Leave
My due date for Peter was July 23. I decided to begin maternity leave on July 1, in case he came early. (My job involves taking kids into the community; I didn't want to even imagine what I would do if labor began while I was out with a client!) If he was born on or before his due date, I fully intended to return to work for the beginning of the school year in early September.

Extended Leave
Within a day of Peter being born (July 18), I knew I couldn't return to work so quickly. He was so tiny and needed me so much! I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed and avoid pumping and bottles as much as possible. The idea of returning in September was too overwhelming. I seriously considered not returning at all. I prayed, sought counsel, and talked about it with my husband, who said he would support whatever decision I made. One friend suggested I ask for an extended leave and reevaluate as Peter and I both got into a more regular routine. I asked to return after Thanksgiving and was immediately granted an extended leave with the promise of my job when I chose to return. (I should note here that I am over-qualified for my job, so they are willing to compromise with me. Don't take my experience as an indication of how it will be for everyone!)

Back to Work
I returned on November 30 and slowly built up my caseload to what should have been ten hours a week. In reality, it was both fewer and more hours. For one reason and another, I never had all of my cases active at the same time, so I didn't have the assigned billable time. However, to be respectful of my full-time colleagues and our clients, I always had my phone on during business hours, which was a minimal but constant stress. Also, there were meetings that needed to be rescheduled at the last minute or had been scheduled by a school district with a very strict timetable that I had to accommodate. "Flexible hours" no longer seemed like a benefit.

Job Changes for my Husband
After I had returned to work, my husband's job situation also changed. Rather than working from home full-time in a support role, he now was in the office two days a week and must be continuously available during business hours. This made it much more challenging to accommodate my work meetings by leaving Peter home. My mom helped out whenever I asked, but I didn't want her to become a regular babysitter.

Answering the Call
I was becoming increasingly stressed, unhappy, and unable to live life in a manner worthy of my calling. I was struggling to meet the minimal time required to help out at Angel Care, a pro-life ministry. I had turned down opportunities to help others because I felt too overwhelmed. Even going to church seemed like a huge time commitment. Something had to give.

Two Weeks Notice
That brings us to today. Again, I have spent time in prayer and confirmed with my husband that he is comfortable with me staying home full-time. Turning in my resignation letter is freeing. I am excited to enter a new chapter of my life, relieved that my resignation was accepted gracefully, and completely at peace that I am following God's plan for me as best I am able.

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