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I'm a quitter

Well, it's official. I had a meeting on Saturday morning with my boss about not coming back from family leave. And this morning I typed up a letter of resignation to e-mail to her. I have nothing but mixed feelings.

Not because this isn't the absolutely right thing to do. Family is important. I believe in spending time with my kids while they're young and you don't get this time back. And aside from figuring out one-income financial issues or my health insurance, there's not a single reason I can think to keep working if we have the blessed opportunity to have a parent home with the kids all day everyday.

But we in America are largely defined by what we do. As I always rant about, we're constantly going on about family values but often our culture pays lip service while our actions speak louder about other, real goals. Gender issues aside, a person who isn't working is somewhat of a freak show in our society. How will I answer those introductory questions at parties now? It feels lonely no matter how noble.

It's hard to get away from the sense of worth we all derive from income. Money isn't everything, but I can say from this side of the work world that it definitely leaves one struggling for meaning on the unemployed side of the coin.

Even if that other side of the coin is the hard, unending task of raising small creatures up to be responsible adults. I feed them, I dress them, I teach them, I give them never-ending comfort as they explore the world. It's not exactly thank-less. Certainly worthy of doing. Perhaps even a higher purpose than any occupation.

That still doesn't explain why I feel this strange about essentially dumping what was a 2-day a week job. I'd been there 5 years though. I found it rewarding though it had changed lately in some essential ways. The people were always great to be around. And my boss and I left it that I may be back seasonally at some point in the future. It's not a total goodbye.

I realize this all sounds angsty when really it's not. We want weekends together. We want to not be constantly handing off kids so the other one can go to work. We look forward to a summer of farmers market and zoo trips. I'll have the ability to find a training schedule for the marathon that allows me to give proper resources to it. I have time to pursue my new passion of coffee roasting. There's no 4 hours of CTA commuting. It's not like me working those 2 days made financial sense for us like I help in any meaningful way with bills.

I think I will just have to make more of an effort to connect with people to make up for the interaction with thousands of guests each day. The conversations with coworkers. The ability to put home life in perspective. That's maybe the most valuable...the ability to come home and remember that it's the best part of the day. I was just telling Kelly yesterday that 5 days of kids isn't what gets to you. It's the length of a single day. Relentless, no break from the work, by the time she arrives home, you've spent hours and have lost all wisdom.

It's easy to forget that this is the best place for you when your toddler is having a tantrum on the floor because you won't let him play the breakables.