I have been in and out of the workforce since my first child was born. While in my heart I most identify with SAHMs and want to be at home with my kids myself, I also feel pulled — financially and emotionally — to pursue my legal career. Ninety percent of the time I complain about it, but there are definitely pluses that I remind myself of on a daily basis, from the invaluable to the frivolously fabulous.
- Free health insurance, including dental. When I’m not working (or freelance writing only) we have to purchase our own health insurance, but at my other jobs it’s one of the package benefits. Having dental insurance is a luxury that makes me feel like a queen. Pretty much the day it goes into effect I have appointments for me and both my kids at the dentist’s office.
- Snacks. I would have said meals, but the truth is I’m usually too busy to have a real meal as I attempt to jam all my work into as few hours as possible so I can get home. But snacks are aplenty. I have a stash hidden in my desk that I am free to eat whenever I want, not just when my kids are in the other room. Sometimes I take a few out on my desk and let them sit there in plain sight knowing no one is going to try to snatch them.
- Bathroom. Alone. With the door shut. For as long as I want.
- Getting dressed up. I lived in a t-shirt and jeans every single day I was home, but it feels pretty good to put on a nice outfit, wear a necklace without worrying about smacking someone in the face when picking them up or getting choked by that same necklace while carrying the little devils.
- Adult conversation. I never ever used a baby voice with my kids and always treated them in conversation like little adults. Still, our topics were limited. At the office I can chat about “Orange Is The New Black” and “Ray Donovan” without censoring myself.
- Steady paycheck. As a freelance writer my income was directly related to my hustle. If I was sick or stressed and didn’t get as much writing done as I wanted, my paycheck would see the immediate effects. Now I could probably sit in my office for weeks or months eating cupcakes and doing as little work as possible before anyone figured out how to fire me. In the meantime, direct deposit.
- Non-negotiable support. My husband is an amazing partner, but the two of us are one unit. There is a necessary give-and-take, compromise and reciprocity to our schedules and division of labor. At work, there are entire departments dedicated to supporting me (well, not just me). Document production, mail services, food services, not to mention my amazing shared secretary. I can walk up to these people and just ask for what I need. No one asks in return when they can have time to go for a run or who is going to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. It’s glorious.