About three weeks ago, I met with my boss and his boss to discuss my back-to-work plan. I was armed with a set of questions to help me decide whether or not it was worth my while (and theirs) to return to work part-time before the year was up. I went into the meeting pretty convinced that working part-time for a month or two before returning to work full-time wouldn't really benefit them, thereby making my decision relatively easy.
Well, it turned out that:
1. They had interesting projects starting up
2. I'd be able to jump into things right where I'd left them (i.e. on track for a promotion, hopefully)
3. There was a cubicle waiting for me
4. They were more than happy to have me start part-time for a month or two before August rolled around.
That sure threw me for a loop! I came out of the meeting happy that they were obviously looking forward to having me back, but at the same time, I definitely had some thinking to do. My boss has two young girls of his own and therefore has some perspective (i.e. he is not a crazy-assed work martyr). He said that while they'd be more than happy to have me back sooner, he also recognized that mat-leave only happens once (and even if I had another kid, the situation would be different altogether). Point taken.
I basically left the meeting promising that I'd give them my final decision in two weeks' time. It was a difficult decision. After all, I'd be potentially starting work right in the beginning of summer (I was looking at starting part-time sometime in June). I haven't had summer off since I was a student, so this would be an extra treat. Also, PK is getting to be so interesting right now! What if I missed out on some milestone, like her first step or her first word? At the same time, there are days when I get so bored being at home all day with PK. I feel like I have gotten dumber since starting on mat-leave, in spite of the fact that I still keep up with the news, read, and take violin lessons - especially since I only do these things for a few hours at a time. There are days when I'm playing with PK and all I can think of is when she's going to nap so that I can get some time to myself.
I gave the matter some serious thought in those two weeks, and finally made a decidsion that I could live with. My plan was to return to work part-time in mid-June, working three days a week (Monday through Wednesday), and start in on the full-time work in early September. My mom would take care of her while I was at work, and that would be that. I figured that part-time work for 2.5 months wouldn't be so bad. I'd still get to enjoy the nice summertime weather since I'd be off for two days in the week. Also, working part-time before starting full-time would make that transition back to work a bit less stressful (so I hoped).
Before I let my boss know about my decision, I called up my mom to let her know my plan. She said that it would be better for her to look after PK on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, since three days in a row of caring for PK would be way too overwhelming. Damn! Just when I'd finally gotten comfortable with my back-to-work plan, I was thrown a curveball. Back to the drawing board...
While I totally understood that from her perspective, coming downtown to my place from the burbs to look after PK for three days in a row each week would be tiring, I also had to consider things from my perspective. Working part-time three days in a row would be much better for my company, and much better for me. Working Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays would make me more resentful. It would be like having two Mondays in a week! After some pondering, however, I conceded that she was, after all, doing me a favor, and opted to adjust my plan to accommodate her request. So my final plan ended up being that I'd work part-time in July (on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays), and start full-time just after PK's birthday in August. The plan wasn't ideal, but it would work. I'd be able to tolerate the weird part-time work schedule if I did it for about a month.
Once that was hammered out, I wrote to my boss to let him know about my plan. That was almost one week ago. I'm still waiting to hear back. I sent him a quick message late last week to check to see if he'd had a chance to go over my back-to-work plan. I heard nothing back. My guess is that he had to go to HR to see whether or not that plan was viable, and wasn't going to reply to my e-mail until he had a definitive answer. Still, it's a bit nerve-wracking. I guess I just need to sit pretty until he gets back to me. In the meantime, I guess I should enjoy the rest of my time off!