real life

Amy missed her three-year-old son when she went to work. So she sold her house and asked for a demotion.

Recently I decided to change the path of my life and take stock of what is important in my world.

Since my son, Flynn, was 12 weeks old I have been working full-time in a corporate job. Each morning I would leave him at 6.30am while he was still curled up safe in bed and not see him again until 5pm each night after he was exhausted from a full day of adventures without me. Recently, Flynn turned three and, let’s be honest, his whole life is a great adventure right now.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been stuck in peak hour traffic wishing I could just turn the car around and head home to spend the day with Flynn, building cubbies, running around the park or swimming at our local pool together.

Amy playing with her son. Image supplied.

I love my job, I really do, but the honest truth is I was only working full-time because my husband and I need the money. We decided to buy a home in the city, leaving us with a big mortgage and it feels like we chained ourselves to the bank. Each month every dollar is already committed for mortgage, bills, fuel, parking for work…. the essentials of life.

Not a dollar to spare for savings……so here I am working, all for what?

Every week, I would come home to my husband, feeling grumpy and shaking my head about how tired I was, how little time there was left over in the week to have a 'life' and how trapped I felt in the cycle. I have been working full-time since my son was 12 weeks old, even though that was never the plan.

When Flynn was four weeks old my husband came home with a career ending back injury.

I can still remember sitting on the couch with my new baby and my husband walking in the door and telling me the surgeon told him he couldn’t go back to work. When we bought the house 12 weeks earlier and I went through the finances I never factored in that my husband’s career would end overnight. We had no back-up plan.

Overnight, I went from thinking I would have at least a year off on maternity cover, to literally being back in the office full-time 12 weeks after giving birth. It was not what I thought motherhood would look like.

Amy and Flynn. Image supplied.

I have been really lucky to have a great childcare where Flynn goes three days a week. He has a great group of mates, but every day I drop him off he cries and cries, begging me to take him to work. Recently, he promised he would be a good boy if I would take him with me. He thought I didn’t want to spend time with him. My heart broke.

It was time for a change.

So we sold our home in Melbourne and we are now preparing to start the next chapter of our lives in regional Victoria. Our new home was half the price and is double the size. As a girl who grew up in the country, I can't wait to get back to some wide open spaces.

Best of all, I have requested a double demotion at work. The reality is a massive pay drop, but another reality is I can now work from home four days a week as I only have to go into the office for one full day. As long as I do the hours, I can split the time to make it work for me and my family.

When I tell my friends what we have done the eyes of the mums light up.

What a great set-up

Gosh, I wish I could do that

You are going to love being able to spend time having fun with Flynn

Flynn is going to love it

Not everyone understands immediately though. One of my career friends looked at me like I was crazy when I said I had asked for a double demotion at work. It wasn’t until I explained to her that when I die no-one is going to talk about how big my house was, or how important my job was – they are going to talk about the memories and time I spent with the people I love.

LISTEN: Mamamia Out Loud discusses the conundrum that is maternity leave - how long is too long? (post continues after audio...)

Tonight I am celebrating choices that lead to balance. Wish me luck.

You can follow Amy's journey on her Facebook page.