"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
A friend of mine forwarded me a heavily-commented blog post yesterday about women, particularly in the legal workplace, and the career vs family balance. Reading through the comments last night, with my own post of yesterday, made me really internalize something. My first priority is my family, and right now my family (particularly Julia) needs me home, not working. I'm a better, happier, calmer person now than I was when I was working, and my child needs time and interaction with her mother way more than I need to feel fulfilled in a career outside the home. I know the dream for women is to "have it all," and while I certainly don't speak for anyone else, that's not really a viable option for me and my family right now. I think I need to stop seeing it as a personal failure on my part for not having it all, and focus on the fact that family is just higher on my priority list than my career. And, like I said, I feel strongly that me staying home is the best thing for Julia right now.
That'll probably change down the road, and once I know my family is doing well, I can turn my attention to other things. But I can't imagine how I'll ever regret taking a few years out of the rat race - even if it sets me back significantly in a career down the line - to meet my child's needs as best I possibly can.
And if it means R gets a few more hot meals a week and a cleaner house, then he's on the winning team too, right? ;)
(Not to knock those who continue working - I'm not coming anywhere close to passing judgment on what works for other families. I'm just trying to sort out what works best for us, and I know that's all that anyone is trying to do, whatever they ultimately do.)