The Other Path

Friday, April 9, 2010

I just got an email from my old college roommate.

She's coming to DC for a few weeks at the end of June and wants to meet up.

It should be fun, but it will also be a touch weird.

You see, she took the other path.

We have similar backgrounds.

We had similar majors (both engineers) and started our careers with similar types of jobs. We got married around the same time and each had our second child late last year.

But here's the thing. When my first was born, I quit full time work. (I work very part time from home now, but since I logged in a whopping 15 hours last month I'm not even sure it counts.)

She went back to work full time when her baby was six weeks old, jumping right back into long working hours, business travel and a long commute.

Her husband's job has a similar time requirements so their kids are in childcare about 12 hours a day.

Our day to day lives couldn't be more different.

Most days, I'm content with my decision, but I am curious about the life I might have had. There are a lot of vaguely inappropriate questions I'd love to ask her.

I figure the conversation will probably be really polite and superficial. But maybe it won't.

I guess I'll see how all this turns out come June.


Rebecca April 9, 2010 at 4:11 AM  

Interesting...Husband and I were just talking about how beneficial it's been for us (as I mentioned that I'm so glad not to have to get the twins out of bed at 5:30 to bring them to daycare). It's not for everyone, but it sure is working for my family. I hope it goes fine and that she is also at peace with her decision, but in my experience, many of the women who went back to work full-time lament that decision in some way or another...the guilt never ends, does it?

Fireblossom April 9, 2010 at 4:25 AM  

Omg. I hadn't realized this blog wouldn't show up in my updates. I kept thinking, what happened to Scarlett? Silly me.

As to this post, I'm sorry but that seems criminal to me, to leave such a young child in day care 12 hours a day. I have to wonder how much energy they have left even when they are there. It honestly makes me angry for that little baby. The mother in me wants to give them a taste of Shaken Yuppie Syndrome. Sorry, Scarlett, but this bothers me.

JP April 9, 2010 at 5:37 AM  

There's nothing wrong with either decision. My wife got her graduate degree in high level sciences... she's never used it because she's a SAHM. She couldn't be happier.

sheila April 9, 2010 at 6:07 AM  

lol, reminds me of a recent episode of Modern Family, lol. Hey, to each his own. Their are pros and cons with each decision. I quit work when my first was born...and figured I'd stay at home a year. It's been 19 yrs now, lol. And she's in college, ha ha.

Jeanie April 9, 2010 at 6:11 AM  

I think you know that you made the right decision for you and your family. There is always a road not taken for all of us and it is normal to wonder about it. I wonder if she will also have a few vaguely inappropriate questions she wants to ask you.

LadyFi April 9, 2010 at 6:43 AM  

I guess we always have 'what is..' in our lives.

Gabriella Moonlight April 9, 2010 at 8:08 AM  

I think that what works for you works for you...I'm with you on the wanting to ask the questions though and hope that in your visit you both get to a place where she has questions for you and you for her...

mama-face April 9, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

I love that someone referred to Modern Family. haha

I am excited for you. I think because your lives have taken 'different' paths you will have such an interesting conversation about your lives and you can reminisce about the old days. Besides you're both so smart that it can't help but be interesting. :)

I would be nervous just seeing someone from my past who knew every dumb thing I did and my insecurities would leave me mute. But that's another story.

What? This is about you, not me? gah. I always do this.

And why is it that I have so many blog friends from back east? Guess that shows that I am kinda cool.

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder but you can call me Judy April 9, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

My husband and I talked about it before we got married that one of us would stay home with the kids, so me staying home was a mutual decision. Having 2 children w/special needs (developmental delays and health issues), I have to say that I don't know what we'd have done, if we'd chosen for me to work.

I know each situation is different, and I refuse to play the blame game (not saying you are!) about which is right and which is wrong. It was the only choice for our family. I'm just thankful I was prepared for it.

Mrs.Mayhem April 9, 2010 at 10:41 AM  

In my opinion, your part-time schedule sounds perfect! I'm envious.

Kelly April 9, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

Hopefully it goes well!

I have ALWAYS wanted to be a SAHM, but our finances just aren't "there."

Anyhow, not only do I respect your decision, but I completely envy it.

Justine April 9, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

I wish I could stay home. I work full time and see my little one only 2 hours a day during the week. I hate it.

But I have to pay the bills. And buy her things.

C'est la vie.

That corgi :) April 9, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

I know people can choose their own paths and have the right to choose their own paths, but I can't imagine those little ones in day care for so many hours especially at their young ages. the visit should indeed be an interesting one


Feeling Just Right April 9, 2010 at 1:17 PM  

Ah! Tricky situation but i tell you, you'll be glad you stuck to what you did. You know that already!

ReformingGeek April 9, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

I don't have kids but I thought I would be the type that would go back to work right away. Now that I'm a little older and have seen my friends quitting their jobs to stay with their kids and seeing how happy they are, my perspective has changed.

I would never tell anyone else what decision they should make. It's a personal choice for each family.

I hope there is more than polite small talk but it's hard to keep friendship going without much in common.

Secretia April 9, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

I say, you have the babies, and you be the Mommy.

Stacia April 9, 2010 at 10:09 PM  

Like Jeanie said above, I bet she has questions she'd like to ask you, too. I hope you get some time to really talk and catch up. With four kiddos running around between the two of you, that might be tough. (Of course, maybe she's coming into town for business, yet another reminder of the differences between your choices?)

Wendyburd1 April 9, 2010 at 11:28 PM  

I know that as a kid, I am so grateful I had my Mom at home while I was a kid. She went back to school when I was in junior high and I MISSED her, but now she has a career she loves. And you can go back full time someday, but when you think about your path, remember how much closer you are to your kids, while hers might know their day care nannies better.

5 Kids With Disabilities April 10, 2010 at 6:47 PM  

If she is a good friend, the visit should be great! You both have children, and that is going to be the major common denominator.
Lindsey Petersen

just making my way April 11, 2010 at 6:11 AM  

It's a tough choice no matte which way you go I think. Would I prefer to stay home? To some degree, yes. But I don't think I could stay home exclusively, I'd need some kind of work. As it is, we are lucky that we have days off during the week, so the Pixie is in daycare only two days.

I think you find what works best for your family and go with it.

mosey April 12, 2010 at 11:59 AM  

If she's happy with her life and her children are healthy and contented, she made the right choice for her. I, like you, work from home on a freelance basis and it works for me but it certainly has presented challenges I wouldn't have anticipated when I was working full-time hours.

Either way, I hope you have a great reunion!

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