Friday, May 2, 2014

The Kids Come First

By Joy Pullmann

This week my husband and I made a big decision. It was to take a big pay cut and leave a job I enjoy so I can keep my kids from outside childcare. Right now, as readers know, my husband stays home with the kids most days while I work most days. I am comfortable with my children being cared for by their father if not always by me. But he will go to graduate school this fall. For a few months, I was not exactly sure what we would do with the kids, but my plan involved finding regular childcare, from either an extended family member or some nice local lady. I was not extremely pleased with the idea but was ok with our three little ones spending about 15 hours a week with someone who was not their mommy or daddy.

Long story short, another job offer came along, and I've been given the gift of cutting our income in half, which still pays our basic expenses, while continuing to do some of what I love. But, most of all, I don't have to outsource my children. And that means the most to me.

The fellow who hired me away said something during his offer like, "I hesitate to see if you're interested in part-time because you're starting to blaze a big trail professionally." And I laughed internally because some people just don't understand that fame or money are such stupid measuring sticks for life. I mean, sometimes those things feel good, but often the things you have to do to get them are one big annoyance and distraction.

For example, I went on Fox News this week, and that basically required me to spend a whole day away from my family, hopped up on caffeine, schlepped by a driver with a Cadillac to a bigger city where there's a TV studio, where five people waited on me and the New York producers, all for some $700 and three minutes of TV. Silliness. And my little nursing baby waited eagerly for me to get home because the little butt will not take a bottle. I think it's his form of mother insurance—if he doesn't take a bottle, I can't leave him for very long. And, you know, babies deserve to have their mothers. I'm close to believing it's a human right.

My children are far more annoying than my job. But, you know, they're far more important. I'm so grateful that I have the ability to care for them while still putting food on the table, and I know so many women don't have the same chance.

Image by Or Reshef.

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