Monday, March 24, 2008

August Can't Come Soon Enough

In four months, I will be going back to work. I agonized over the decision for a long time. Back when I was in therapy for postpartum psychosis, my therapist tried very hard to get me to plan to go back to work that fall. I wasn't sure that it was the right decision at the time and didn't do it. Then, last October, I finally decided that this would be my last year at home. I just can't do it anymore. It was a hard decision, but the right one. Sometimes I still have moments of doubt, but I have noticed that the universe often gives me little reminders of why I want and NEED to go back to work.

Two such reminders occurred this weekend. On Saturday afternoon, we were all driving home from the library, my husband at the wheel of my car. He was playing around and accelerated quickly to entertain my son. I jokingly asked him to please be careful with my car. He replied, also laughing, "Well I paid for it."

Now I know that this was all in fun at the time, but that comment really irritates me. There have been other occasions when he has said it in a completely serious manner, so he does really mean it to a certain extent. It bugs me because first of all, it is not true. The car was paid for in part with a trade in from my old car bought before I even met him. And for the first year we had the car, I was working.

Second of all, we made the decision for me to stay home jointly. He knows I don't love being at home, but it was important to him for me to stay home at least while the kids were very young. He knows that I do a lot of work at home, taking care of the kids and the house. When a married couple makes this decision, it seems to me that the income coming in still belongs to both of them. And to hold it over my head that he makes the money makes me feel like I am beholden to him and that I am somehow less of a partner in the marriage. It implies that I am dependent on him, just as the children are. That I should be grateful to him for providing a car for me. That he ultimately controls things. So I will be very happy when I go back to work and he can no longer say nonsense like this.

The second incident happened yesterday morning while I was trying to get ready for church. The problem was that I really have nothing to wear to church. We have not gone much since Ladybug was born and I lost a lot of weight postpartum. I am thinner than I have been in years and my old clothes don't even come close to fitting. I can get away with some of the tops, but the pants, skirts and dresses are impossible for me to wear now. Even if I could wear them, they are all 5-10 years old and some are noticeably out of style and pretty worn because I really haven't bought much since I quit working.

Because money is tight now, I have not been able to buy replacement clothes. My parents and in-laws generously gave me some money for Christmas and my birthday and part of that went to new clothes, but there were others things we needed first. Our double stroller had to be replaced, we needed a new vacuum and we had to pay a large deposit on the condo we are vacationing in with friends this summer. I also needed a couple of pairs of new shoes. So, the money leftover didn't go too far, especially with clothes prices as high as they are now. And I know that my husband worries all the time about money and he makes it known he is not happy when he thinks I spend too much on stuff for the kids or groceries or whatever, so I have not felt that I should spend any money on new clothes. I don't want to cause even more worry for him.
So, yesterday, trying to find something to wear on Easter, I got upset and we got in a huge fight that pretty much put a damper on the whole day.

It's not like I will make a ton of money teaching, but it really is becoming clearer to me that we can't make the sacrifices anymore. We simply need the money and I need the independence. I think we will all be happier for it.


jennifer h said...

Yes, go, work. Yes to all of it. There are moments like this with my husband, and it drives me mad. You'll feel better. Start preparing him now for the need for new work clothes.

Rima said...

I know what you mean about wanting to feel that you've earned your keep, even thought the work you've done while home with your children more than "pays" for the car you're driving. I started doing some freelance work from home about a year after I'd quit my job to stay home with the V-meister, and I was ecstatic over my first paycheck - much more so than I had been back when I was was working full time and taking the paychecks for granted. One of the things I most looked forward to? Not buying the P-Dawg's birthday gift with his own money.

It sound like you made the right decision, not only because it will be empowering for you, but also because, judging from your earier posts, you have a true calling for teaching. Good luck!

Missybw said...

Amen Sista! I'm past the 3d interview with thegoodjoboutwest and I'm really hoping this is the charm. I am so tired of hearing little snarky comments like that too, even though they really don't intend them to be taken that way. It still hurts when you've always been proud of "earning your keep". I know that the money I've saved us in Petwalking, laundry, housekeeping, ...etc. have more than paid for my salary. But it certainly doesn't feel that way, not to me anyway. But I'm really happy for you on refinding your independence... it's important.

ms-teacher said...

When I returned to work, I got my own checking account and credit card. I have my bills and my husband has his bills. We split other household bills between both of us. The car I drive is in my name. My husband felt as strongly as I do that I need credit in my own name in case anything happens to him. I need my own accounts for my own sanity.

I think once you go back to work, everyone will probably be much happier. I know that in my family my children got to see me more relaxed and confident in myself than I ever was when I was home full-time.

Don Mills Diva said...

You're obviously doing the right thing - you sound very comfortable with it...

Queen Mommy said...

I stayed home for 509 days. And 465 of those days my children went to a babysitter three days a week. I was only home with them for 44 days and I found a job. I found a job for two reasons, my mental health and our finances. My mental health is some days more fragile than others and staying home with the kids didn't help that at all! Being at work really does help my mental health and obviously helps our finances. My husband has always been supportive of me and encourages me to work because when I am working "there is a little less crazy" at home!

Good for you for going back to work.