So I was thinking, maybe after 2 years it was time for me to go back to work.  Turtledad used to talk (before children) about how he wanted to be a stay-at-home-dad, and has recently made the odd passing comment about when was it time to swap?  Add to that, he has recently started encouraging weaning (grr, more on that later).  So I thought I’d see where he really stood, and open it up for discussion.

Me: So honey, I’ve been thinking about going back to work. How would you feel about quitting work or getting a job with less hours?

Him: Oh, well, I couldn’t do it for another year and a half, because I’m on a 3 year contract, remember?

Me: A 3 year contract!? Oh, no, no, honey, you’ve been duped. It’s not a 3 year contract which means you are bonded to them for 3 years; it’s what used to be a permanent job, but is now a ‘contract’ because they don’twant to guarantee employment for more than 3 years, to save them paying redundancy costs, but we all know they’ll probably just keep renewing the contract.  You can leave anytime – it’s just a matter of whether you want to?

Him: Well, I’m not sure. Why do you want to get a job anyway?

Me: Oh, I just think it’s time I focused on something other than Wren for a while, I think I have a bit more to offer the world, and I think it would be good for you two to spend more time together.

Him:  Do you want to work full time? What job do you want to get?

Me:  Oh, god no! Not full time!  Three days a week, max. I’m not sure what, I’d have to see what’s aroundIt would have to be something interesting and meaningful, I’m not doing any old job. [I have no ‘career’ or ‘profession’ as such, having faffed around at university for too long, doing odd jobs, but I’m very capable and motivated and … oh, this isn’t the interview…]

As the conversation went on, I became less sure about paid work and the possibility of finding something within my desired hours, which would also be fulfilling, enjoyable and not at all stressful.  Was it worth giving up my mornings at playgroup, drinking tea and chatting with other mums, my afternoons walking the dog and playing the park?  And isn’t my volunteer and activist work fulfilling enough?  Atleast I can set my own (very limited) hours and choose exactly what I want to do.  I began to think that all I really want is for Turtledad to work a little less, so that I can have more time for my personal pursuits. Paid work was only looking good because I’ve been out of it for so long. I think the main benefit would simply be to make me appreciate my time with Wren more.

And then Turtledad started talking about investigating more childcare options (our previous attempts at childcare ended badly).

Hold on a minute!  Didn’t he realise how generous I was being, offering to go to work so that he could enjoy his son more?  I think I must have pitched this all wrong. He seemed to think the aim was to offload Wren. No, no, no! I’m not going to work so that I can worry about how my baby’s going at childcare.  The point is for dad and son to have more bonding time!

A couple of days after this conversation, this post by bluemilk directed me to this great article by Sandra Tsing Loh. It made me feel like less of a bad feminist for staying out of paid work. Paid work is rarely as rewarding as it’s made out to be. And I sure as hell don’t need money for more appliances. Stayin’ right away from that capitalist consumerist cycle for now.

Conclusion:  Paid work can wait. But I’m still disappointed Turtledad didn’t say YES. More negotiations to come…

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