Missing out on time with my kids vs. job I love...I feel trapped...please help

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2007
Missing out on time with my kids vs. job I love...I feel trapped...please help
4
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 5:47pm

Hi ladies,

I have 2 kiddos, a 4-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy.  For the first several years after my daughter was born and first year after my son was born, my job worked with me on my schedule - I worked from home, worked less hours, less days, etc...they are still working with me in that I work four 10-hour days and have the other day off to be home with my kids.  I have had this schedule for a year.  Prior to that, I was working three 10s.  This schedule has started to wear on me a lot lately and I am having a tremendous amount of guilt for being away from my kids so much.  I talked to my boss the other day about going back to 30 hours and while she didn't flat out say no, it didn't sound promising.  I was in tears about this last night to the point where my eyes were completely bloodshot and puffy this morning when I woke up.  I feel completely stuck right now.  I have been at my job for 7 years and absolutely adore it.  I don't want to quit, only to find myself back hunting for a job in a few years when my kids are in full time school (and probably a job that won't hold a candle to this one).  That being said, I am worried that years down the line, I will look back at this precious time with my little babies and feel like I wasn't there enough, I missed out, and that's time I can't ever get back.  I do make the absolute most of my time with my kids on my day off and on nights and weekends - we bake cookies, color, watch cartoons, play in the yard and at the park, catch bugs, read stories, etc...but I am still experiencing an overwhelming feeling of sadness, guilt and simply being stretched too thin....please help...I would appreciate any stories, suggestions, advice, etc...thank you.

~Emily

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999

Emily, that is a very hard one.  I feel a lot in the same position as you do right now, only the job I once loved, I don't much any longer.  When I was younger and had one DD, I never wanted to be a SAHM, I was very career oriented/driven, and it worked well because I lived with my parents, so any time I was working, she was usually home with my parents or at school.  But now, with my younger 2, being older now and having 2 close together (i.e. exhausting), they are 3 and 5, I feel much more conflicted also.  I would love to work part time, or on more of a flexible, contract basis, but because my DH is in the early years of owning a small company and is gone A LOT, and I am the carrier of health insurance for the family and have mostly always been the main financial contributor, I feel stuck.  

We are in the middle of a reorganization at work, the promotion to a new divison that I just got 4 months ago, may no longer be there for very long, I may be reassigned or something else.  I have felt much like you for the past year, that I am worn down, the amount of time at home with the kids is limited and stretched to fit in the basic things to run the house.  Its hard to be in that situation.  I wish I had some good advice for you.  How does your DH feel?  Are you guys financially okay enough that if you did quit, you would be okay or would that be an extra stressor?  How is your commute?  Have you thought about how you will feel next year when the oldest starts school?  How much is DH home with the kids or helping out, what about family?  I think I would sit down with DH and really get your feelings and make some plans, and then if its that important to you, talk to your boss and explain your dilema, offer some other scenarios.  Are you able to work from home and get certain things done at night when the kiddos are in bed, so you are working the same amount of hours, but say 10 of them are at home?  I think if you come to your employer with a good plan and solution, they are more willing to work with you to try and find a solution, especially if you are a valued employee.  The cost to look for, hire and train a new employee is much more than trying to work with you to find a good solution that will make you more productive in the end.  

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003

Bottom line is it going to all come down to what your family can afford. If you NEED your income then really there is no choice. There are moments I feel I am missing out but short of winning the lottery unless we want to loss our home and move in with my dad this is our reality. we make the most out of the time we have together and thats all we can do. We could be financially better off if I got a new job, but I have 12 years at my current and they are somewhat flexiable. I wouldn't get that in a new position. I work for a non profit and I have interviewed through out the years and bottom line always was while income was more what was expected as far as hours was too and it wasn't time I was willing to sacrafice. Its not like you are working 80 hour weeks and never seeing your kids. Yes there are times my 9 yr old has expressed wishing I was a SAHM but aside from reminding him that means there is a roof over his head and food on the table I and I hope that as he gets older he will understand why I worked.

Now that said its HARD I'm tired, I'm drained, the house is a wreck. DH tends to check out. My work situation is pretty stressful right now. What I did do is being phased out. What I am being transitioned to (which is not what I went to school. I have a master degree you don't even need a bachlors for one position as its written and the other day the manager was like you are good great with x and I'm like um its not rocket science) is also in the air. I don't work in health care but what my company did was eliminated in the health care reform act and now we have to bid for new contracts but the way its structured my area will be gone because compnay wants to take a different direction. They talk about transitioning people but at the same I tried twice to post to different positions that better suit my education back ground but I am convinced if they see as an X thats all you will ever be but I am also stuck. Like I said I have some flexiability, plus now I get 5 weeks vacation and I will loss that if I start over at a new place. I've pondered looking as recently as last month but I always come back to I'm going to ride the wave. If I am laid off I would get a package and I feel I kind of deserve that for what I have been through there; if I left now it would be harder to juggle time off needed to interview with time off needed for the kids and my oldest will be having a surgery soon and I won't be eligable for FMLA at a new place for a year. So if I'm let go I have tons of time to interview. I didn't move my 4 yr old to preschool because I know my in home sitter would be more flexiable if I was let go and I needed to pull him for money so right now as far as work goes I am just along for the ride and hoping for the best...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2007

Thank you for your stories, ladies.  While I certainly wish you both were not feeling trapped as well, it is comforting to know I am not alone in this situation.  To answer your questions, Tracy: 1) my DH is super compassionate and supportive with me - he tries to help any way he can and has asked me what additional things he can do around the house or with the kids to relieve some of my stress, but he already helps out so much and I really don't feel too overwhelmed with projects and such at home, so I'm not sure what I can have him do, unless he can somehow convince my boss to work with me :smileyhappy:  I know he does not want me to quit because he knows what a good gig I've got and how much I love it, and like me, he knows that if I quit for a few years and then started looking for a new job once my kids were in full time school, that I wouldn't likely find one that compares to the one I have now.  2) Financially, I do not need to work.  My DH makes plenty for me to stay home; however, yes, there would be an added stressor if I quit because I would like a balance of being home part of the time and being at work part of the time - I don't want to be a full-time career woman or a full-time SAHM at this point in my life.  3) My commute is not bad - about 20 minutes each way.  4)  I have thought a lot about what I will do when my oldest starts school because kindergarten where we live is only about 3 hours each day, so I have no idea how I am going to work out dropping her off and picking her up...5) my DH is absolutely awesome with helping out - he cooks, cleans, changes diapers, the whole 9 yards...I honestly could not ask for a better guy where that is concerned.  He also works full time but has every other Friday off and he spends that day with them.  On the days he works, he picks them up from my sister's between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. (I drop them off at 7:00 a.m.)  As for family, I am fortunate enough to have my sister watch my kids in the day - neither of us are fans of daycare, so we both have worked with each other over the years watching each other's kids.  Finally, as for working from home, I did that for a while after my first child was born and it worked out okay.  Although, I really don't think my boss would go for that again.  She really wants me in the office...I guess I will keep sleeping on this and hoping a solution comes to me...thanks again ladies.  I appreciate your help!  I hope your situations get better as well :smileyhappy:

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I know it's difficult right now but given all that you have said, I'd advise you not to quit your job.  I am looking at it from the other end of the time line here since my kids are 23 & 17 now and I always worked--mainly because I had no choice.  In fact my 1st DH decided to get a divorce when the kids were 7 & 1 and at that time I really wasn't working that much so I had to scramble to get a better job.  I have had the opportunity not to have to work really long hours--I work more like 32.5 hours or sometimes more and my boss has been flexible about me leaving early if it was 1/2 day for school or my kids were sick--but i didn't get paid for any of that time off and right now I am barely making ends meet despite the fact that I'm a lawyer--I should be paid tons more for what I do and am looking for a job.  But I'd say if you have a job that you love, you have family helping you out with daycare and a supportive DH, keep the job.  I know you said you don't need the money, but you never know what will happen in life.  Since your DH sounds like a great guy I doubt you'll end up in my situation (single mom) but I hate to say this, but my cousin's DH died in an accident at age 32--luckily she worked even though they had a 3 yr old DD.  You can never tell what kind of emergency might happen, or even if it doesn't, at some time you would likely want to go back to work and taking years out of the work force definitely does not help you in your career.  If you had a non-skilled minimum wage job, you might still be able to get one of those, but for any kiind of professional job it's tough to take years off.  I always think if you could get less than full time or be able to work from home sometimes that's really the best solution.  I also have to add that I never wanted to be a SAHM  either.  But it is difficult trying to juggle a job & work.

As for your question about part time KG, with my oldest one there was a daycare center that was close by the school that had a bus that would actually take the kids (there was a group) to the public school  kindergarten, so that worked out well--she was already in that daycare.  With my son, that daycare didn't exist any more, plus they had changed it so that I think the kids had to switch fom morning to afternoon in the middle of the year & vice versa, plus our elementary school didn't start until 9:15 so sometimes I'd have to put him in before school care, which really would have been too much change (and he was not good with change anyway) so he was in a private school for pre-K and they also had K, so I just kept him there.  So I'd start looking around to see if there are any full day kindergarten programs, even if they are in private school, if your sis can't pick him up from school.