Change of Plans

The two biggest topics on my mind lately have been off-limits for my blog. Even though I write anonymously, a large portion of my audience knows me and is aware this is my blog. Therefore if I were to write about certain people and their circumstances, it would be an invasion of privacy. When I’m writing about people who irritate me, this is not a problem. Don’t worry “Mary,” I won’t write about your “little problem” here. But suffice it to say that you should know better at your age (which I would never reveal here, since I have known how important privacy is to you since we were in high school together back in 89).

Anyhoo, as a result of a turn of events I do not entirely understand, my boss reads my blog. Isn’t that a kick in the pants? So, when I started obsessing a few weeks ago about my imminent return to work, I didn’t feel like I could write about it. I’m no master of etiquette, but I do know that it is a major faux pas for your employer to find out about your career plans on your blog.

Lately I’ve been counting down the days until my maternity leave ends. I have zero dread about the job and I hungrily devour news and gossip whenever I get the chance to talk to my coworkers. I miss being in front of students. I follow the Republican debates and ache for the chance to discuss them with my AP Language Class for our unit on rhetoric. By the time I get back in the classroom, we will be close to the 2012 election and that is the best time to teach rhetoric and composition.

What I dread is not the resumption of my work, it’s the end of my maternity leave. I do not want to leave my baby in day care at seven months old. Before I completely alienate the women who left their far younger babies in day care, allow me to say that I know I am privileged. I exist in gratitude of my luck every day. Never more than when I hear my husband’s car pull out of the driveway at 6:30 a.m. while I am either sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee smiling at my nursing infant, or snuggled up in bed between my two girls. Viva senses the absence of her dad when he gets up in the morning and she sleepcrawls across the bed to fill the gap. Sometimes Pringles wakes up around 3 or 4 and we are up for one to two hours before going back to bed (if you long for when your babies were small, I’ll bet that snapped you out of it!). When she does, we are usually asleep in bed at 6:30. Otherwise, she tends to wake me for the day around 6, but often as early as 5.

But you see, she wakes me with giggles and grins. Her face tells me she wakes early because she can’t wait to see ME again. That time is so short and precious. When a child is a baby and mother is everything to her. It lasts only a few months. Her big eyes that everyone comments on are always fixed on me. If I am in the room, she looks for me. Once those turning-brown eyes settle on me, her face relaxes and then broadens into a smile. Her grabby little hands reach for me, clutch me, hold me close.

I cannot stand to miss it.

I was a fool to ask for a single semester off. I was thinking about my career. I love having one. I left it for a year to be home with Viva, returned and became unexpectedly pregnant, and then was hesitant to take another year off. I knew my department needed me. I knew my department chairs and principals had faith in me. I worried about money. We would have to spend it all and then start living paycheck to paycheck come the 2012 school year.

And then I look at my child who is growing so fast and I realize that there are more important things than careers and money. So I am asking my school for the rest of the year off. I wish it were up to my principal, because she is very supportive. I’m sure that I’m not THAT irreplaceable or invaluable. To my baby daughter, there is no substitute who can do my job.

The board can say no. I am prepared for them to say no. One of three things can happen: I get my leave of absence and return to my position at the same school in mid-August, I get my leave of absence but lose my position and get a new assignment in mid-August, I get denied my leave of absence and return to my position January 30th. I can live with any of these. I cannot live with being too afraid to ask because I didn’t want to be thought of as a flake.

I’m not just doing it for the naps, but I would miss those too.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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4 Responses to Change of Plans

  1. Kristin says:

    My fingers are crossed. In Canada, we are given a paid year off by our government. I am also a teacher, so I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. However, I still don’t have a contract (we have decreased enrollment in our board), so I may have to go back second semester so that I have a better chance of securing a job for next school year. Your post makes me wonder again if any of that matters.

  2. Rosemary S. says:

    Yes! My fingers are crossed for you, too! Another Canadian reader here – who is proud that our Government mandates a year of paid Maternity Leave……….but, who also remembers when she was a new Mom – in the dark ages (well – 36 years ago), when Maternity Leave was 3 months! The roughest day of my life, to that point, was the day I left my babe – and trudged back to ‘the grind’. And – I was one of the ‘lucky ones’ – I was leaving my babe in the care of her doting Grandparents. I do so hope that your request is approved. This time with Pringles is so short and so precious… Good luck!

  3. Lana says:

    Kristin – Your government doesn’t “give” you anything. You pay for this time off each time the government takes a big chunk of your salary and decides when it should be handed back to you. Back to the original reason I am writing – congrats to you, Mrs. Odie! You are so right. You can never get these days back with your baby. Crossing my fingers for you.

  4. JJ says:

    Wow. I wish we were “given” a year off paid with each child born/adopted. Here in the States, we certainly pay a huge chunk of our money to the government every paycheck, yet getting even 12 weeks off unpaid is difficult. Instead, our government “gives” our money to big corporations in the form of huge tax breaks under the guise of “jump starting” our economy and “growing” jobs. BS.

    I hope you get the time-off, MO2…. hmmm, now that means Mrs.Odie2 and MomOf2. 🙂 I quit my job after having my first child. I had every intention of going back after my “12” weeks, which ended up only being 6 after she was born b/c of a lovely 6 week stint of bed rest at the end of my pregnancy, but then the time came and I looked at my tiny baby and just couldn’t do it. I handed in my resignation and never looked back. Sure, we’re poor and living paycheck to paycheck, but I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve had with her for anything – even new clothes and a nice hair cut, lol.

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