Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Roller coaster

roller-coaster.jpgWell, I felt like I've been on a roller coaster for the past 3 months. Now things have finally getting cleared and settled down a bit.

I've been thinking about being a stay-home-mom since I was pregnant. After I delivered, I asked my employer to see if I could work part-time, and I got a straight NO. They told me this was unprecedented and it is not professional. It's either FULL TIME or NO TIME. They also said "If you don't want your job, somebody else can do your job."

Things like that were hurtful and mean. After talking to my husband, making sure we can get by on his salary alone, I decided to resign from my current job. However, when I was on my last month on maternity leave, I noticed that my babies looked confused and sad if I was holding the other baby. Usually I would put one in the swing chair and hold the other one for feeding, but I found them having that reaction. Maybe they were better to have 100% attention from an adult, so I changed my mind and decided to come back to work full time for a while, and let my in-laws look after the babies during the day.

Things were great in the first few weeks. I felt although there were many things to take care, I was able to get things done. And I thought it was wonderful that I had family members helping me out with childcare. It's not MY BUSINESS alone, it's a family business.

However, things started to go south from there. I still needed to finish my daily duties by a reasonable hour, then pick up my husband and go home to see my babies. Also, summer is the season for new residents, and they need to get trained. Therefore, I became extremely busy at work and usually sacrifice my lunch breaks to get things done. On top of that, I missed my babies terribly. It was so hard to leave them in the morning too.

In August, I had an annual check-up with my primary care physician. She is such a great doctor, kind, knowledgeable, always listens to what I have to say. She gave me some resources for support groups for new moms or working moms. I mentioned my work situation, and she also pointed out the places I can discuss things like this.

I went to the University HR office, and they said they don't get involved with the hospitals. I went to the hospital HR, and they said it's up to the chairman to make the decision. Working part-time, not possible? REALLY?! I found it hard to accept. Is it even legal? It almost feels like discrimination! And it's the Year of 2012!

By December 2012, I was so depressed. As long as we could get by financially, I would quit my job and stay home with my babies. I refused to be a mom who sees her babies for 2-3 hours a day anymore! (I have a long commute too.)

I found a job as a per diem medical technologist in a hospital 10 minutes away from where I live. I thought it's a perfect solution for all of us. I can stay home with my kids, and only work minimum hours necessary. However, this is a big downgrade for me, and this means I will sacrifice my career. But I think my priority has changed, and I would feel satisfied if I can take good care of my family.

Then the debates began. Should I really resign from my current job? Good salary, flexible hours, and I am well respected by the residents and technologists in the laboratory. Should I accept this big downgraded job? Do I really make the right decision just to be with my kids? Will I get a similar job back in the future? Does this mean we will be poor? What if my kids suffer because we don't have money? I've lost many sleep at night thinking about these questions.

Finally I sent out my letter of resignation for my current job and started getting trained on my new job. I needed to give 90 days notice in advance for my current employer, but the training was already begun for the new job. I had to use my vacation time on the old job in order to get trained for the new job. The treatment on the new job was so hard to swallow. I never realized I had such a huge ego. Should I be shamed about myself? I would become NOBODY from SOMEBODY. I cried so many times when I thought about the things I might lose forever. People who have gone through this stage of motherhood told me that I would never regret my decision. I knew, but I couldn't stop crying. However, surprisingly, after every good cry, my attitude became more and more clear and firm that this was the right decision, although it is a tough one.

I started to fantasize about the things we will do after I stop working. I will take my kids to here and there, we will spend so much time together, and we will do all the fun activities, etc. I really looked forward to the days to come. Even though the treatment at my new job is hard to swallow, even though I will be nobody, I get to be with my kids, and that's the most important thing to me.

Then I heard a news from a close colleague at work that a medical center in the city is looking for a director PART-TIME!! WOW!! This is a really good opportunity falling from the sky and hit my head. I contacted them right away, and I got the job easily! They told me that they couldn't believe my current employer doesn't allow me to work part-time, and they think it's discriminatory. They think I have great credentials and experience, and this is something they value. Well, how great is that!

As of my per diem job, they told me that I didn't put in enough hours for me to get trained, so things didn't work out. Well, it's hard to be rejected and to be told that you are not good enough, especially I've tried my best to squeeze out time for them. When I was still interviewing for the part-time job, I felt like I had 4 jobs going on at the same time! I was so tired. I went home and had a good cry on my husband shoulder. (It's nice to have someone supporting me at moments like this. I am not alone anymore.) What is wrong with this society?! I feel like being punished for wanting to spend time with my kids! Give a break for those moms who work SO HARD for their family and boss.

So now things have finally settled down. I am just waiting for the last day on this job and will start the new job, PART-TIME! I am glad things somehow work out this way, which is the best solution for this situation. It has been a long road, yet the journey is just begun.

ps. Picture was copied from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2012/08/you-may-not-ride-on-this-attraction.html

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