I resigned a few days ago. It doesn’t take effect for a few weeks, so in the meantime I am in some strange limbo, frantically tidying up a large project so I can hand it over, clearing out my inbox, filing earlier projects, trying to pass on everything that I am carrying on my head. It’s tiring.
I think that the idea of having it all is a gyp. By any objective measure, I am ‘successful’. I am terminally qualified, I have an enduring relationship, beautiful children (the most beautiful children in the world, actually), a degree of financial security, a home, ‘though not a room, of my own, I
have had a well paying, interesting job.
But it is all too much. If I do my job well, then my children and my partner suffer.
Oddly enough, it was easier when the children were pre-schoolers. Full-time nanny care sorted out most problems, even if it left me with precious little in the hand. But now they are all at school, and we are caught up with going to friends’ houses to play after school, piano lessons, parent-teacher interviews, endless fundraising, most importantly, getting home in time to do their homework with them, and cook and eat a family meal, all while doing stressful, time and emotional energy consuming jobs (there’s a reason for the good pay packets).
I think about 1 and a 1/2 jobs is feasible. But doing 1/2 a job is a dead end street – no promotions there, and in a job like mine, people who work part-time end up working full time, but get a part time salary. A 10% or 20% or 40% pay cut is a lot to pay for work-life balance.
If we opt for two jobs between us, we would need to contract out childrearing. That seems like an unpalatable option too. My experience of nanny and after school care is that even ‘though the children are physically well cared for, their emotional and intellectual needs are not always well served. I don’t want my children to regard shopping as an ideal way of passing time.
The end result – I’m resigning. My partner will continue his career, but mine will founder, for the time being at least. I will be in my mid-forties by the time I try to get back into the workforce, but my earnings potential will be diminished, and despite all the fine words we speak abut the importance of childrearing, in the meantime, I will be a second class citizen, because I am not in the workforce.
Pah! At least I will have the time, and the freedom, to blog.