March 31, 2016

Cutting back... #bestdecisionever


As I lamented in my last post... being a working mom is hard. Really hard. 

After writing that post, I laid awake all night. I was angry. Angry that I had to write it at all. Angry that I had to go to work the next morning and miss out on time with Holland. Angry that I live in a country that does not have adequate paid family leave that would have allowed me more time at home with Holland.

After hours of being angry, I started to craft a plan. My plan included cutting back on my work hours and accepting less pay. I went over numbers in my head all night. How many hours could I make work? How much of a pay cut could our family handle? I literally thought about it all night... as in, I laid awake from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. With a 5 month old baby in the house, that probably was not the brightest idea. Despite the lack of sleep, I woke up the next morning energized. I wanted to change my life and I had a plan.
I went into work early and typed up a proposal. I would work 4 days a week but I would work slightly lengthen days by coming in the office early. I would still take off at 4:30 p.m. each day in order to pick up Holland and have some time with her before bed. The 5th day each week -- each Friday -- would be mine. No work! In exchange, I would take a proportional pay cut. It was a paycut that would have consequences for our family, but it was a cut we could live with. I wasn't sure that my boss, the managing partner of our law firm, would go for it, but I knew that the alternative was resentment and anger. No one wants a resentful and angry employee.

I presented my proposal and my reasons why. My boss really seemed to understand and agreed almost at once. He wanted to know if I was open to shifting my day off if something came up that HAD to be done on a Friday and I agreed.

This has been Week 2 of my new schedule and I feel so much better. I feel like I can breathe again. I do not feel like I am failing in all areas of my life. To the contrary, I more more energized about work. I feel like I am being a better partner to Adam. I feel like I am a less distracted mother for Holland.

All parents face tough decisions. Decisions suck. But sometimes -- when you bite the bullet and stand up for what your heart tells you -- things pay off. Working 4 days a week isn't the "answer" for everyone and it may not be the "answer" for me longterm. But for now, I feel like this is the #bestdecisionever!

What is the best parenting decision you've ever made?

9 comments :

  1. Love this- good for you for asking for what you need. I was able to work a 32-hour flex schedule until my Charlie was 6 months, and I'm so thankful for that, but working 40 hours (with a one-hour commute) has been crazy difficult. I feel like I never see my baby and it's heartbreaking. Solidarity, sister <3

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  2. I love that you took action to make things work for you, and I love that your boss was so understanding and cooperative. I've heard so many horror stories when it comes to new moms at work (and a lot when it comes to taking off work for IVF) so it's nice to hear this one!!

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  3. This is amazing news! It takes guts to do what you did, and I'm so happy you're finally feeling like you've got your groove going again!

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  4. I love this!!!! Amazing news and glad that you're able to make life work a little better for your little adorable family!

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  5. Aww yeah!! This makes me so happy for you!!! I wish I could do something like that :( I am lucky though - I literally never work overtime and Gracie's school is a mile away so I get to her quickly if I need to.

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  6. When I'm done with school, I will have Fridays off again and I am so looking forward to it. That extra day makes a world of difference. I'm glad you were able to find a way to make it work for your family!!

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  7. I went down to 30 hours when Porter was 6 months and it has by far been the best thing I've done for myself, my family , and my marriage! It's worth all the financial sacrifices we've made and I'm so happy you get an extra day at home with your baby girl. You're doing a good job mama!

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  8. Gosh I can imagine that was a stressful thing to talk about with your boss, but I'm so glad it went well! I think it's awesome you figured out a solution that will work better for your family!

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