Initially, I was worried about what people's reaction would be on my decision. Every time I have to tell someone I would worry about what they are going to say. I would pray they say something of the sorts that would not call me dumb. To my own surprise, I got more positive reactions about making the decision than otherwise.
Taking a break from career was not looked down upon. Especially friends who knew me well, thought it was right to spend some time with kids - especially where they are young. Most did not have a doubt about me getting back into the career because of my work experience. Most would love to do that and could not afford to do that due to financial commitments.
Everyone trusted that being here in America, we had the freedom to take a break and not having to worry about coming back to the career world. We see so many who change their careers drastically. So nothing is impossible.
OK..the initial reactions were positive. Some cautioned me not to take too long a break. It could mean that you could risk your position in the job market. I agree with that.
Phase II: First few months at home
The questions were like this: "OK, how do you pass time each day?"
"What do you all day?"
"When are going back to work?"
Hmm..I was irked by some and smiled at some. With two kids, I am still planning each hour of my day. My day revolves around their calendar. Their drop off, pick up, activities and school projects. Especially with the younger one going to school for just 4 hours, pick up time arrives before I finish up my groceries or cooking and there I am rushing to pick him up. I took up more social responsibilities with planning and executing of events or participating more actively. So that keeps me busy too.
One things is true - I am EARLY for most appointments. I was early at the gym before the class trying to kill time on treadmill before the instructor arrived. I was an hour early for a doctor's appointment and went to their cafeteria and grabbed a coffee to kill time. I consciously try to be not late for anything and I am so obsessed with looking at the clock and reverse-planning everything based on a deadline.
Another FACT is that - you think that you will have the best vacation of your life when you take a career break. It is true that you get more time to do everything and you can pay more attention to details on most tasks. But down the lane, it is not a vacation - but you are caught in a routine-bubble now.
Remember, when you took a day off from work and how every minute was precious that day. Well, now everyday is at your hands - but still you cannot think OUT OF THE BOX that easily anymore. You have to consciously PUT EFFORT to REMIND yourself to DO THOSE THINGS you DREAMT OF DOING WHEN YOU WONT BE WORKING. Because otherwise you might just flow with the mechanical routine - it is not work related, but home related now.
Phase III: With my in laws leaving back to India, this is my next phase. I am all by myself with the kids and B. The first two days were awfully quiet and cadaverous at home. (Confession: Cadaverous is a new word I learnt helping out with my son's school project. It means: deathly, pale). I am slowly getting used to it.
Kids like me this way - less stressed and relaxed. Once in a while, a worry creeps up in the back of the mind. When should I start looking for a job? Is it too late already? I tell myself I still have something more to achieve from this conscious break. And I go on!
Too long a post, eh? When you guys said "I do", you did not know what you were getting into!