Monday, July 10, 2006

Sacrifices

At this very moment my husband is probably telling his would-be boss that he can't take the new and exciting job that was offered to him. There is a very good chance that right now my husband is sitting in a chair in front of a man, not much older than he, who has the position and power that my husband wants for himself one day, thanking that man for a job that was tailor made for him. Thanks, but no thanks. Because my husband doesn't want to be a weekend father.

A few months ago Mr. Chicky was offered an opportunity to take his vast store of technical knowledge and put it to real use with real customers and, potentially, begin would could be a steady climb up the corporate ladder. It took some volleying but ultimatley the job offer was sweetened with a slight bump in pay as well as potentially higher quarterly bonuses. But it also meant up to 3 days and nights away from home at least 3 weeks out of every month. And the days that he was working from the local office he'd be away from the house, including the unpredictable commute, 12 to 13 hours a day. Or, to put it into better perspective, all of Chicky Baby's waking hours.

A couple of years ago the offer of this job would have been a no-brainer. We both would have been working long hours, but we would have found time for each other after work. An hour here, two hours there, a long weekend trip to reconnect. We could be selfish with what little time we had. There would have been two incomes for two people (and a menagerie of pets) so the money would have stretched farther. There wouldn't be the stress of caring for a new little person who required diapers, milk, new shoes, and three square meals a day - plus healthy snacks - along with constant attention and love from both her parents. There was no thought of life insurance, wills, 529 plans. We both worked hard, because that's the kind of people we were. Are. That's the kind of people we are. But we're not working for our selves anymore. Now we're working for our family.

Before Chicky Baby was born we had made plans to handle the changes in our lives. I would go back to work, part-time, and our daughter would split that time between daycare and daddy-care (my husband would leave work a few hours early two days a week to care for her and keep costs down). When I got home at night he would resume work through the magic of wireless network connections and his cell phone. It would mean working late into the night, but we would make it work. The rest of the missing money would be made up for with the small inheritance I received after my mother's death the year before. It seemed like a good, solid plan. Then I delivered a seriously colicky baby who needed to be nursed constantly. Once I returned to work, pumping was a nightmare (one bathroom off the main lobby where everyone who came in could hear the breast pump working its magic was all the privacy that was available to me). I was so used to nursing every hour or two that I ended up with at least one nasty infection that kept me out of work for a few days. And then, the final kick in the head, I was ultimately forced out of that job, leaving us with slightly less money than we had intended. Due to my choice of work for the past few years I had left myself less than easily employable and, even if I chose to go back to work full time, finding a daycare that wouldn't take more than 80% of my take home salary and accepted colicky newborns was impossible to find.

That's when my dear, wonderful husband was forced to take on the bulk of our financial responsibilities.

Poor planning, higher-than-expected costs, and some necessary but expensive (oh my God expensive!) home improvements have forced us to tighten our belts. The amount of money I bring in every week from my training classes barely pay for gas for our cars. On top of that, I haven't worked for two months. My husband, feeling the stress of financial obligation, initially thought this job would affect us positively. Unfortunately, the equivalent of an extra $15 a day as a pay raise (plus those no-guarantee bonuses) couldn't possibly make up for missing out on his daughter's life for the next few years and the pressure it would put on our marriage. But my husband is an honorable man, and he feels horrible for letting the company he works for think that he was going to take that new job. Not to mention the possibility that, by turning it down, he could be sending the message that he's not the upwardly mobile team player that everyone thought he was. Is it career suicide? Its doubtful, he's too well-respected to have this negatively impact his career for too long, but there's always the chance this could chance his job track and make it harder for him in the future. The decision to not take this job has been agonizing, for both of us sure, but mostly for him.

There are no guarantees in this life, only sacrifices. My husband had to make the tough decision as to which part of his life he was going to sacrifice. By taking the job there was only the possibility for good career advancement and one day - who knows when? - more money and more prestige. But right now, Mr. Chicky, though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with ya honey (okay, sappy. I know.). I'm proud of the decision, the sacrifice, you're making. We'll tighten our belts even more. It may feel like we're suffocating at times but I think it will more than be made up for with all the opportunities you'll have to kiss our daughter goodnight without fear that you'll wake her from a deep sleep. Being a weekend father, a part-time husband wouldn't be enough for you. Being the husband and father you are right now is not only better for Chicky Baby and me but also for you. We'll have to sacrifice a lot, but at least it will be together. As a family.

34 comments:

CroutonBoy said...

That's a tough call for Mr. Chicky to make, but congratulations on making the right one. The corporate ladder is a fickle path to climb...there aren't many guarantees along the way. I'm shouldering a similar load myself while Oodgie contemplates her next move while Cheeky hits her in the head with a cell-phone, but I'm glad that I have the time to help when I can. Job opportunities come and go...and come again.

A toast to your whole family, and to Mr. Chicky in particular.

jennster said...

i love that family is more important. because in the grand scheme of things- that is what really matters. not what you did for some company, you know?! we spend so fucking much of our time and lives WORKING, it's unbelievable. especially when you'd rather being doing other things. i think it rocks that he isn't taking the promotion. more work & less family time sucks. so instead of the promotion at work, you should give him one at home. more blow jobs. lol

julia said...

That was a really nice post, even if you did lapse into a Loggins & Messina song there at the end. ;) Your husband sounds like a terrific man.

radioactive girl said...

I remember reading somewhere that kids don't know or care how much money you have, they just care that you are there for them. You are a lucky family! Even if you "ain't got money", because of all the love you are very lucky. By the way, I actually LOVE that song even though everyone makes fun of me for it!

Her Bad Mother said...

You have every reason to be proud. You and he and the both of you are doing the right thing.

You're good people. ((()))

sunshine scribe said...

Shit. I am sitting here crying now. I was really struck by this post.

Mr. Chicky is a good man. And he'll reap his rewards. He already is.

I made the same kind of choice for my son and my family. My husband hasn't. In fact the reason this strikes me so hard is that he got a promotion last week that he enthusiastically took. I am proud of him. This is great for him. But not for us. He already was a weekend dad and travels constantly. The promotion just means that will get even worse. I only wish he could see it through the same eyes as your husband's...

That was an awful lot to reveal in someone's comment's section. Sorry. I am just really happy for you both and so touched by his sacrifice and your appreciation of it.

Plus I am totally PMSing right now.

motherhooduncensored said...

What an amazingly admirable decision. She'll know though, when he's around... - and that's what counts.

Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said...

Ugh, I know how agonizing these decisions are - easy to make but terrifying to accept. After GC was born, Sgt. KAATN transferred to another division that pretty much elimnated any overtime (read: much needed moola) but gave him more time at home. Best decision we ever made. We live off his barboned base salary, my freelancing gigs (when they pay on time) and some inheritance money ... it means leaner times but I swear to you, everyone is so much happier. And watching the relationship between father and daughter blossom to something real and lasting makes money seem so unimportant.
Great move, Mr. and Mrs. Chicky! Chicky Baby will love you for it because she'll get to KNOW both of you.

M&M&M said...

Did you hear that? It was the sound of the hammer hitting the nail on the head! This post is EXACTLY what I needed. I was recently (read 1 week ago) given an ultimatum by the CEO at my company. I will be demoted at the end of this month (from salary back to hourly and a less prestigious position) because I cannot work late. I have to leave at 5:00 to pick up my son from daycare. That's right, my daycare closes at 5:30 and my son will lose his spot if I can't pick him up on time. Translation: I have to walk out the door from work at 5:00. The comment from my CEO went something to the effect of "if you cannot make arrangements to stay late, we will have to find another position for you." Can I stay late when absolutely neccessary (and given advance notice)? Yes. Will I stay late every frickin' nightat the last minute? NO. It was a huge slap in the face from my company but this post made me realize my son is more important than any job or salary. Thank you.

mothergoosemouse said...

Mrs. Chicky, we've been there. The commute, the career ladder, the staggered schedules, the time away from home and family, the stress over real estate and school systems. All of it.

Lena said...

It is decisions like these that make the man. Also, that confirm, yep, you made the right choice in a husband. What a good daddy! I even feel proud!

Tell him all us cyber chicks are so proud of him, won't ya? ;)

Mother Bumper said...

What a wonderful Dad and Mom! Speaking as a girl who had a Dad who took that job and missed my childhood, he has made the right decision. Hugs from me and Bumper (though hers are alien face hugs and kinda wet).

Marcie said...

Go Mr. Chicky! Chicky Baby is so lucky to have you both! I'm ready for my Husband to change jobs because of 12 hour work days. Yuck! It is so not worth it.

Mama of 2 said...

Congrats on your very tough decision. I truly believe that we are put on one path and given many forks in the road for us to take along the way.

So look at it as the current fork and know that you and Mr. Chicky made the right decision and that this fork will ultimately lead you to where you are meant to be.

GOOD LUCK!!

Christina said...

Let me say that Aaron and I know exactly what you're going through. We also had a grand plan of how we were going to both keep working our jobs with a baby, and then had it all fall apart. We each had to make some difficult decisions, and like you, we based them around a balance of what was best for our family and what we could survive on.

I think it's admirable that Mr. Chicky is willing to possibly give up dreams of advancement for his family. It's absolutely the right choice, and Chicky Baby will grow up knowing her daddy is there for her, instead of knowing him as the guy she sees every now and then.

Lisa said...

I think he did the right thing. You can't get back those early years with your daughter. I think my hubby regrets not seeing our son much his first three years...

Damselfly said...

Wow, what a tough decision to make. But ultimately the more rewarding option of the choices.

J's Mommy said...

that is so sweet. what a supportive wife you are. mr. chicky is so lucky.

SUEB0B said...

I gave you some link love:
http://linkateria.blogspot.com/2006/07/work-week-day-2.html

Gina said...

Thanks for writing this post. It brought up some scary feelings we have had since before Liam was born with added costs, juggling our jobs and chid care, etc. It just makes a new parent crazy... thinking, was it the right time? But it was and it is and each set of parents can get through it when sacrifices are made.

Very compelling, Mr. and Mrs. Chicky. Thanks for your examples.

Carrcakes said...

I'm so proud of Mr. Chicky. Kudos to him for realizing that in the end, it's family that's most important. Karma will come back to reward him and your family. You guys are a great example of a family with their priorities in order.

PoopyDigs said...

You definitely have a keeper.

I think he made the right decision, but only time can really tell. I wish you the best of luck.

sunshinedaily4me_wuz_here said...

What an awesome husband and father. I hope I find one of those some day! Sounds like you guys definitely made the right decision. Those years with the kids at home are so fleeting - I'm sure you guys will never regret it.

mamatulip said...

What a difficult decision for him to have to make...but he made the right one, I think.

Mega Mom said...

As someone wise once said "On your deathbed, you'll never say 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office'". Good for all of you for remembering what is important in this life :)

Mommy off the Record said...

Great post. Great decision on Mr. Chicky's part. I am happy for you that you guys have family as your number one priority, even though I'm sure it was a tough decision to make and will be a bit of a hard road ahead financially.

Velma said...

It is so hard to have to make these kind of choices, isn't it? Being a grown-up kind of sucks sometimes, but this is the kind of choice that knits your family together and strengthens that underlying feeling of being a team. Good luck!

kittenpie said...

oh, I so know this one. Misterpie was a traveling comsultant for many years - and there's a nice salary and fun perks associated with that. But we ultimately decided that when the time came for family, that particular gravy train would be over. Neither of us wanted an absentee father. So now he's taking a MAJOR cut to become a teacher, now that he is hip to the joy of kids. (also enjoyed the teaching aspect of his old job)And this will work out beautifully for things like vacation and so on for pumpkinpie, too.

Binkytown said...

There is always another job but only one Mrs Chicky and Chicky baby.. you've got a good one.

Pendullum said...

Good on both of you...
Life is so short and the gift you have is in each other and the family memories that you make...
It is tough...
And that song is our theme song as well...
As well as What a Wonderful World...

tania (urban_mommy) said...

So the right choice. My husband quit his job four days after we found out we were pregnant (with our first and only so far). He'd been with that company for seven years and we were definitely jumping off a cliff but at the end of the day, we figured we'd rather be a poor family than an unhappy family. Everything worked out, he has a job, I have a job, we're not poor but I'll never forget that when push came to shove, we knew what was important to us.

wendy boucher said...

Brave choices! It is very difficult to know what's right or best in some situations but it seems that you two arrived at the best one for your family. Great job.

Mocha said...

Family decisions are always hard. Never a clear-cut choice, it seems. I'm glad you have this worked out. It will give you peace.

lildb said...

ain't it crazy how life goes upside down when you have a kid? I mean, but nuts.

your husband sounds lovely and I think he made the right choice, sacrifice though it may seem at the moment. yay for you guys.



:p

xoxo