This post has been a long time coming...and I'm almost scared to write it, because I have a feeling that there are a lot of people who read my blog that probably won't agree with the decisions that we've made. However, after an incredible amount of talking, prayer, and planning, we have made the decision that we believe we are being called to make. Be prepared...this post is going to be a doozy!
In early September, I wrote about a Bible Study that J and I attended, and part of it was based on Genesis 26:12. The question that we as spouses were supposed to use for discussion was:
What is God telling you and your spouse this year? Should you be doing something else, or even be someone else? Is your current job, or your current lifestyle what God is calling you to do? Do you want to argue the point (or pretend you didn't get the message), or are you willing to trust God's guidance?
This was a great blessing for us, because I think we were both feeling like we were supposed to be moving in one direction, but were having a difficult time doing so, because the logic didn't make sense to us. Though, I'm sure it didn't make much sense to Isaac either when God told him to pack up everything and move to Egypt, even though he feared for his life in doing so. Still, God blessed him because of his obedience. This thought, coupled with a lesson out of Esther really has become our rock over the last couple of months.
Justin and I priced out daycare in our area, and discovered that after daycare, I would be bringing home about $350 a month working full-time. I could make virtually that same amount working a two or three nights a week or over the weekends at a part-time, minimum wage job. I have no qualms about even working fast food if need be--at this time in my life, my priority isn't where I'd be working, just that we have the opportunity to provide for our family. Actually, I kind of think I'd enjoy something like working at Barnes and Noble!
The other big issue for us was insurance. We will likely be putting Lizzie on a private insurance plan. I will be applying for one as well, though we're not sure whether or not I'll qualify due to my allergies. If I don't, I can be added to Justin's work insurance plan. It isn't a great plan by any means, but it's better than a catastrophic-only plan. Some of the part-time jobs that I'm considering also have opportunities for insurance. And we're fortunate enough to have plenty of good health care clinic locally that work on a sliding scale.
So, we ultimately decided that I will not be returning to work once Lizzie is born. And once we made that decision, I can't tell you how completely at peace I felt, even though there are still some details up in the air.
Although some people advised us against this, I've told my bosses that I won't be coming back. I had a bit of a hard time with this, not because I'm unsure of my decision, but because it just seems so presumptuous. I don't really like to think or talk about this, but the truth is that not everyone goes into labor and leaves the hospital with a baby. Late loss happens. Still birth happens. It's a scary thought. Still, I won't let myself go through this preparing for the worst. So, the best thing in this situation was to tell my bosses early rather than later, and here's why:
First, my maternity leave is unpaid anyway, so it isn't as though I'd be "losing" that income. Second, my position is one that really takes about several months, if not a year, to learn. By telling my bosses now, they'll be able to bring someone on in the next month or so, to train alongside me for at least a month. This is really the best thing for the organization as a whole, and I don't want to burn any bridges there--I wouldn't mind going back at some point later in my life at all!
Now, as I said, there are still some details up in the air. Even with me working part-time, I'm not always entirely sure how we'll make it all work--it's a pretty big cut to our income. However, that's something that we'll have to deal with either way. Whether I'm working at this job and paying for daycare, or working part-time elsewhere and not paying for daycare, we'll be taking a cut to our income. That much is unavoidable. It's hard not knowing exactly where I'll end up working--but, I have to trust that doors will open when they should, whether that's through a part-time job, or photography, or whatever.
I don't usually do well with details that are still up in the air. But one thing that's been a tremendous help is for us to just to take a cue from Esther and consider what is the absolute worst thing that could happen? And when we look at it that way, it's suddenly a lot less scary. For us, the worst thing that could happen would be that I couldn't find a part-time job anywhere, and at the same time, Justin would lose his job. And then we'd have to exhaust all of our savings without either of us being able to find employment anywhere and exhausting unemployment. And then, we would have to be unable to find anyone to rent out our house while we lived with family while searching for jobs. And then, there's a chance that our house could be foreclosed on. And let me make this clear that while that's certainly NOT something that I ever want to happen, and would do everything in my power to prevent, it also wouldn't be the end of the world. We would still have each other, our faith, presumably our health, and families willing to support us during that time. And it's a lot less scary when you look at it that way. But I'm not gonna lie, it's still a little scary to make a move into such unknown territory!