Before I went in for my third and fourth days (respectively, non-consecutively) back at work this week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My two days back the week prior had been fairly miserable due to a blend of exhaustion, wanting to spend time with my (then) two-week-old babies, and an overwhelming resentment of the job itself.
Before I took time off, several people at work told me that between crying newborns, lack of sleep, and family in town, I’d be begging to come back to work. (Author’s note: these people clearly don’t know me in the slightest.) My first days back I was anything but excited to be there.
By the time I went back again this week, I was more tired, the crowded house was beginning to wear on me, and I was ready for a change of scenery.
Would the prophecies come true? Would I be happy to be back at my job? Would my least favorite place on the planet become a refuge?
As it turns out, no. I spent two days performing up to my usual level of awesomeness (I’m not even bragging, I’m pretty good at my job) despite being more or less entirely checked out. I’d rather have spent my time with two fussy newborns, a cluttered house with visitors, and my even-more-exhausted-than-I wife.
I’ll continue looking for PT work (or even FT work that I don’t mind leaving the twins for every day) because income is needed, and of course I’ll scrub out sewer pipes for a living if that’s what I needed to do to give the boys the life they deserve. In my mind, though, part of that life would ideally involve a dad who isn’t completely burnt-out and who is able to leave any work-related stress at work. It isn’t just my opinion either; you can a better idea of what I’m talking about here, here, and here.
“But Robb,” I hear some people saying*, “Most people have to go back to work after having babies! Even your wife will be going back soon! Why are you trying so hard to get so much time at home? That’s what daycare is for!” True, and aside from the fact that I’d like to have our kids get as much face-time with their parents as possible, there is the fact that once you subtract daycare for twins and commuting costs from my current salary, there isn’t a whole lot left; roughly a PT job’s salary. So to continue working would simply cover the cost of daycare with a little left over, and if I’m just paying for daycare, why not eliminate the middle-man and make less and be the daycare provider until such time as the kids’ ages and our tax dollars align and we can drop them off at school?