I quit my job as an education attorney in September because my boss had twisted my career into a dead-end job. The economy sucked. I felt burnt out. I had finished a novel. I figured I'd take some time off. Jack and I had saved enough and refrained from buying enough to make this a possibility. My family thought I was insane. Only Jack supported me, which is really the only one that matters since he is supporting me. In the meantime I got pregnant and as I recovered from burn out and felt able to consider going back to work I grew a belly that made it complicated to attend interviews and logistically, was I planning to start a job and then stop a few months later?
I've been home since September and there are benefits to being home. I'm pursuing my writing. The house is spotless, dinner is not store-bought pizza. I am less stressed out. But- being home all the time isn't easy either. Writing is solitary business and financially, it is still uncertain. I'm in the middle of my 5th rewrite for a publisher considering buying my book- but the rewrites are done for free, and they still have the option at the end to say no. It very well could be that despite my and my agent's best efforts, this book will not be published.
If I didn't have a baby on the way, I'd likely be applying for jobs. But because I do, my plan was to be a SAHM for at least the first year of his life. Yesterday we were taking an evening walk and he asked me when I was planning to start applying for jobs again. I felt stunned. I thought we agreed on the SAHM thing? He said that was fine but he worried that I seemed a bit stifled lately and that I would get too claustrophobic home cooped up all day at home with a baby and maybe it would be too much. Maybe I'm living in a bubble but though I know raising a baby is not going to be kisses and giggles all the time, I do think I will find it rewarding and meaningful. There will likely be days I will question why I do this, but that is the same of any job anyone has. He went on to point out that he thinks I'm too educated to be sitting around at home, baking and changing diapers.
I have a masters in education and a law degree. Sometimes instead of assets these feel like chains because they engender guilt in me. I am capable of making a lot of money. And yet I'm bringing in nothing right now. Since I was 16 I have made money and while I've never been rich (public school teacher, public interest lawyer) I have always contributed. It feels weird to have done all that schooling and sit at home.
In an ideal world my book will sell, and be successful enough that I can work as an author while raising a family. But that's ideal and there are no guarantees. I told Jack that if this didn't work out I'd likely return to the working world once my youngest was nursery school age because I wanted there to be a primary caregiver at home watching them. Then- he suggested his mom could come and watch our son. Needless to say the conversation did not end well.
And as an aside, we haven't seen Jack's family since Thanksgiving because of how they acted, but I guess time heals all wounds because now he thinks that this baby will be some kind of salve, and that we will gather around him and all our issues will be solved. He's going to a conference two weeks after the baby is born and suggested his mother come to help me out. When I stared at him incredulously he said what? you'll have the baby to bond over. Or kill each other over? I'm concerned about this since a baby does not heal marriages nor in-law issues.
The truth is, I want to stay home with my son. I know being a SAHM isn't an option or even desired by every mother and I respect that completely. For me, its been something I always planned to do and because there is no job I'm leaving right now to do this, the transition is seamless. I just wish I could rid the guilt I feel when I consider my earning potential and the college fund that won't be growing while I stay at home.