Today is my first day reporting to my new(and certainly more demanding) bosses:
When I returned to work after each maternity leave, I cried the entire drive in. Then I sat at my desk and cried some more.
If I’m being honest though, most of my maternity leaves were spent crying, so, in perspective a few hours at work wasn’t a huge ordeal. Hormones, man….
After a couple of weeks back at work, I eventually realized I could survive being away from the kids for 10 hours a day. And so could they! I slowly adjusted back into my job and managed the working mommy thing pretty incredibly. It was hard-some days it frankly sucked. I missed them a ton, but I also knew that they were gaining a sense of independence while we were away. I understood that daycare and, later, a nanny could teach them things that Daddy and I couldn’t. I knew that I was proud of the work I was doing away from home. It provided me with a sense of accomplishment. It provided us with extra spending money. It allowed me adult conversation and a chance to use my brain for things other than remembering how long formula could sit out on the counter. Eventually it would teach our kids that Mommies are smart, hardworking, important, intelligent, and valued outside of our standard job of wiping butts, doing arts and crafts and singing lullabyes. I can do math and I can change diapers! I am amazing!
I was lucky. My company allowed me to work part time. After Mila was born, I reduced my schedule to just three days a week. They were accommodating in every sense of the word. They allowed me to leave early for conferences and arrive late when the weather was bad. They understood my situation and they valued me as an employee.
This made it hard to leave. I knew I had it good. I knew I was lucky. I knew that I was teaching my kids values that I wanted to instill in them. But, ultimately, I also knew that I will never regret being able to spend more time with my kids. On the other hand, I would regret having the opportunity and means to do so and not doing it.
And, so, here I am. Coffee in hand, puzzles on the table, Christmas music blaring, two kids running around like crazy and I’m happy. Deciding to retire at age 32 wasn't the easy decision one might imagine, but I'm certain it will be a good one for our family.
PS: This postscript was going to be about how awesome my husband is for letting me do this, but then I came home to this "retirement" present:
He's lucky he's still alive