I’ve given it a lot of thought, although really it only took me the car ride home that Friday to come up with a decision (probably about the only perk of a long commute – lots of time to think).
I’m going back to work. IF my company is on board with me working from home the majority of the time.
I owe it to myself, to try out working parenthood before I lose the momentum of experience. I owe it to our family to take advantage of the maternity leave that’s being offered to me. By coming back to work, I’ll essentially finish the full year out. I’ll ensure another year’s worth of experience and I’ll help our little family towards Luffy’s long-term goal for us: financial independence.
I always thought of myself as the stay-at-home-mom type. I have the personality for it and I’m not career-motivated in the corner office, executive title, six-figure wage sort of way. I am motivated by to-do lists and tasks and chores. I actively enjoy ticking things off my to-do list and will add things I’ve already done just so I can mark them complete. I take great pride in maintaining our home. I’m the sort of person who walks down the street wishing I could bring a pair of lawn clippers with me because that house two doors down missed this one area around their fence and it’s been driving me bonkers for the past few days. In other words, after an adjustment period, I think I’d be perfectly content and mostly fulfilled being a stay-at-home mom.
But you see, Luffy has this goal for us. It seems like a harebrained scheme and every time I even sort of mention it to my 55 year-old (very set in his ways) boss, he gives me this look that just drips with young-whippersnappers-crazy-hippies-justyouwait-grumblegrumble-getoffmylawn. Luffy wants us to be financially independent at some point in our lives, before we reach typical retirement age (which, if we’re being honest, is just being delayed further and further these days). I don’t know his latest estimate exactly, but let’s say it’s 45. Basically, by the time we reach 45, if we’ve followed his plan, we’ll have built an investment base that adequately supports our living just through its earning power. We’d essentially be living off dividends and interest and the like. As you can imagine, that’s quite a large investment base, but it’s not as large as most people assume. Anyway, I’m veering off topic here, but the point is that Luffy has a plan. And part of that plan includes contributions from my earnings.
Now, I have to give him props because his plan does factor in my eventual reduced earnings. In fact, last time we really talked about it, I think he had assumed I would quit entirely as soon as we had a baby (which was, of course, supposed to be ages ago when we would get pregnant precisely three cycles after ending birth control… lol). So actually, I’ve already contributed more than he originally planned and shortened the horizon for FI just due to infertility. So yay! What keeps popping into my head though is the idea that the longer I keep working, the less time it takes us overall. If I keep working even just two or three more years at my current salary, that can drastically alter the timeline thanks to the time value of money. And again, veering off topic here, but the point is that the longer I work, the less Luffy has to in the long run. Ideally.
Plus, I do have some of the same worry that I’m sure hundreds of women contemplate as they look towards careers in the home: if I leave the workplace now, could I re-enter it later? I’m an accountant, so I think that I would still be marketable several years down the road if and when I want to work again. But I’m sure the gap in experience would be less than desirable to a prospective employer. If I keep working now, I delay this particular fear a bit and accumulate more experience to rely on later. After all, I’ve only been out of college and in the workplace for five years now – not a whole lot of experience all things considered.
So yeah. Really long story short: I want to work a bit more (perhaps until Baby #2 comes along???) to contribute towards our family goal of financial independence.
However, like I said, this all hinges on my company’s willingness to let me work from home. During our conversation, my boss made it seem like he was all for working from home, but I’ve since heard some grumblings through the grapevine that might indicate otherwise. Not to draw my line in the sand or anything, but I think I’d be quitting for the time being if my boss changes his mind. I’d get through the birth of our child and the first few months and then look for something new.
Ah, nothing like life decisions and the scent of change on a Wednesday.