If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know that I have been struggling with the decision to become a stay-at-home parent.
If I stay out of the work force for the next few years I will certainly struggle to return to my prior career as a software developer. Technology moves quickly and to maintain marketability I would definitely need to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in software. I kind of ‘fell into’ the profession and I certainly don’t enjoy it enough to read up on it while I’m not employed.
So part of me thinks I should seek employment so that I can maintain marketability. Part of me thinks I should find work so that I can continue to be intellectually stimulated. Another piece fears I’ll become so wrapped up in my child’s life that I’ll be unable to think, focus or talk about anything other than my son and of course, there’s also the fact that I’m giving up a six figure salary to stay-at-home.
I’ve asked just about everyone what they think of my options. I’ve asked every parent I know if they stayed home or went to work and then I ask if they were happy with their decision. I listen to the pros and cons and then gauge how I feel after hearing their thoughts and listening to their suggestions.
I’m amazed at how LARGE this decision feels to me. Although I know it’s not set in stone and that I can always change my mind six months, a year, or longer from now it still weighs heavily in my heart and mind.
Well today I was asked a question that helped me find at least a small sense of clarity. A friend told me she was going to ask a question and that I didn’t have five minutes to analyze my answer. (Something she knew I would do.) She said I had to answer as soon as she asked it.
Her question was simple, “how would you spend the next year if you knew it was your last?” Without hesitation I knew the answer was staying home with my son. I have to admit I was surprised by how quickly my heart pulled me in that direction.
I’m not one to move forward in life without a plan. In fact, I hate to admit it but I think the lack of a plan is the thing I’m struggling with the most in making this decision. If I choose to stay home I have no idea what type of job I will have to take in the future. Will I make less money? Will it be difficult to find work? Will these things make me regret my decision?
Sometimes in life I think I need to step back and pause. I need to listen to my heart and believe that life will work out and that so far it always has. If this was my last year on earth I would not want to spend it sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer. I would want to spend every single moment with my son.
Does that mean I’ve finally made a decision? Not exactly, but today’s question definitely got me one step closer to figuring it out.
How about you? Do you have any words of wisdom for my dilemma or do you know how you would spend this year or next year if you knew it were your last?