Friday, September 26, 2008

3 weeks of leave

So I am 3 weeks into my leave and yesterday I told my husband that I am ready to go back to work so I can get some rest! I know, I shouldn't expect to get rest with a 3 week old, but sometimes being at home is not as restful as people think.

My "mommy" gene (or whatever) kicks in when I am home and I can not let myself just sit and rest. I know this to be inherited from my Mom, who after 43 years I have never seen sit through an entire dinner without getting up in the middle of a meal to do something for someone else. There seems to be an endless need for laundry, cooking, cleaning, and playing with our 4 year old. Never mind meeting the needs of a new baby!

When I am at work somehow these things take care of themselves without me. Or actually I think my husband does them. Or maybe they just don't all really matter as much as I think they do. At least the laundy, cooking, and cleaning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Adjusting to a Dad at home

My husband left his job right before the birth of our 1st son to be at home full time. Prior to that he was travelling M-F, every week. This change certainly required some adjustments on our part!

1st, Seeing each other M-F! Now that I look back on it we were darn lucky to even get pregnant. It seemed both of us spent more time in the air than we did at home together. We had to adjust to our weekday routines - what TV programs did we like, eating habits, exercise routines, even bed time routines! This caused a few bumps. My husband is a night owl and I am a morning person. On the weekends this wasn't so big of a deal, but during the work week I like to be in bed and asleep by 10 pm. He is happy with 1am!

2nd - Money, Money, Money. Wow, I didn't see this one coming, but then I was the one continuing to earn an income. He all of a sudden felt he had no money and was very frustrated. We hadn't fully made the shift to 1 checking and savings accounts so he was used to having his own pool of money for discretionary spending. I had been paying all our bills out of my income and I was still doing that when he first started to stay at home. Solution - 1 account, husband pays all bills. This was a great burden off of my shoulders and something my husband is very good at! He is now happy and now I am the one who has no money!!

3rd - a SAHD is not a SAHM. Different skill sets. We have a great looking yard and a very organized garage! Honestly, my husband is MUCH neater and more organized than I. I am good at clean versus neat, so we actually end up being a good balance to each others weaknesses.

I just had to adjust my expectations of what I would come home to at the end of the day or returning from a business trip. We do have one of the best looking yards in the neighborhood though!

Why I work and Dad Stays at home

This was really quite easy to decide. My husband and I even talked about this when we were dating. Simply put, I love my job AND it pays well. Part of it is the company I work for and the products we make. I am proud of what my company does and truly believe that what we do every day helps change people's lives. I take that to heart in the decisions I make and the priorities I set a work. Sounds corny I know, but I believe it and I sleep well at night.

My job is not glamorous. I work in Operations. I've run manufacturing plants, engineering teams, etc. and now I am running a small company for our organization that has given me broader General Management responsibility. Hopefully we continue to be blessed with a career that I love and a company I enjoy working for.

My husband's job was just a job, and he was happy to walk away from it and start a new chapter in his life as a Stay at home Dad (SAHD) - more in another posting!!

Taking Leave

So I've just had my second child and I am on leave until January. I took a similary length leave with my 1st child and managed to completely step away from the job the 1st time. That probably wont be posible this time around, but I will do my best to focus this time on my family.

It is interesting to see different peoples reactions to what length of leave you plan to take for the birth of a child.
  • My Boss: I am VERY fortunate here. She has two children of her own and took leave for both. She constantly reinforces that I should take what I need and that part of my leadership is having developed a good team that can handle things while I am gone.
  • My Husband: Can't believe that the company lets someone in my position take as much leave as I plan to!!
  • Co-Worker: "Surely you don't plan on taking any more than 6 weeks ......." Oh boy. This guy has a lot of women working for him too. Definately not what I expected to hear out of his mouth. Comments like this make me even more determined to take my leave and come back when I am ready and be as effective as ever!

As I stated in my profile I work for a company that is reputed to be very women friendly. Although our paid leave policy isn't the best, the culture at least supports me being able to take the leave. It's up to me as the money earner to make sure we saved appropriately to let me take the leave I would like too, although more paid time would be great!

I think this is also something that the US sadly falls short on compared to many other nations. I wont quote any stats here, but many other contries have federally mandated paid leave for Moms, some for up to a year! The federal requirement in the US is ZERO!