EVERYONE seems to think it’s completely ok to ask a new mom of a 9 month old the question “so, how many do you want?” My favorite is when colleagues ask me this out. loud in a public area where my boss can hear… of course I’m going to respond “I want 8 kids in the next 2 years” so she can flip out.
I don’t actually want 8 in the next two years – but I do want at least one more and I’ve always wanted to have 3 kids, even though rational brain says NO YOU DON’T. So, my answer when friends ask me – how many kids do you want – is “two. And an accident.” My answer to colleagues is… “I’m not sure. Maybe I’m done.”
But my heart says I’m definitely not done. Even though being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done (especially being a working mom), I absolutely love it. I no longer am searching for this greater purpose in life — I’ve found it in my son. I love being a mom. I don’t see how I can afford 3 kids but f it, who can? I can afford 3 kids better than most people with 3 kids…
Since I’ll be 36 in November, I don’t have a ton of time to have two more kids. It’s possible it’s already too late. At the same time, I have 2.5 more months of vesting my stock at my company, and while I am focused on doing my absolute best at work, it would be safer to be pregnant during some of this time. They COULD still fire me, but it’s less likely as long as I’m doing my work and the company is doing ok if they know I’m pregnant (**there are no legal protections for a woman who is pregnant outside of not being able to get fired because you are pregnant.) However, in order to get fired while you are pregnant you need to be doing a bad job, versus be doing an ok job but not an amazing job.
I won’t suddenly stop working as hard once I notify work that I’m pregnant (I didn’t last time either) – it will just be a bit of a relief knowing that for a year (9+3 months) they’re slightly less likely to fire me in that time. So I have about 30 months left of survival here… 15 months “pure survival” (12 months until May, get pregnant, 3 months until notifying company – or maybe I’d tell them early?) then 12 months of slightly more security, which gets me to 27, then I just need to make it 6 more months until… some form of freedom. It’s not that long to make this all happen… so if I play my cards right, I can, in the next 2.5 years, have one more child, and hit $1.5M in net worth (which then opens me up to IVF for my final child at 39/40 and my husband would be a lot more open to having a third if I have $1.5M accumulated in the bank/stock market.)
I know I am a bit crazy about my planning but it seems to work decently to have goals and to go for them. After hitting this goal, I want to loosen up a bit. That $1.5M will be a huge milestone, as will having $1M before giving birth to #2. I think it’s very doable as long as I keep this job. That on its own is the single biggest challenge I have. I’m doing better than in past roles, but not perfectly at all. My MO has been staying up all night to get a lot of stuff done always and that doesn’t work anymore being a mom, so I need to figure out new ways to be productive during daytime hours. I already am in a bit of a low this year after a few communication fuck ups so I’m digging myself out one day at a time. I know I have a lot of room for improvement and I’m just hoping that my team sees I’m not only making an effort but actually being ON in hitting all my deliverables and communicating the right amount with clarity and purpose.
Now, in reality – do I think I will last at this company 2.5 more years? Probably not. Being as there’s already a bit of a record on my poor communication skills and missing a few deadlines, as soon as someone better comes along they can get rid of me. It’s just hard to find a replacement for me because I do all the crazy projects that don’t really fit a set job description… you could hire 3 different people to take over for the work I do, because the work I do requires 3 different skillsets, at least. Do I do all of these “jobs” perfectly? No. But when. you can’t hire 3 people, sometimes you settle for one person who tries her best and gets it all done. As I’ve learned as a manager and in my years in business, sometimes it’s better to keep on people who are loyal and who won’t be leaving any time soon by choice, versus hiring someone who constantly has one foot out the door. I’m sure my boss sees me as a bit of a necessary evil–which is NOT what I want to be, but it is better job security than I’ve had in a while. My goal is to, in the next year, really make sure the whole team appreciates my contributions. I think I have a path to get there but there’s a long road ahead. So I have one year in which to really kick ass (as much as someone with such horrible human skills as myself can kick) and then head into my second pregnancy as a worker that’s valued in the organization–not on a PIP or worse.
It could definitely go either way. I just need to get my act together… which is so so so hard on this little sleep. But… I can look at the next 12 months–the next 4 quarters–and within those 4 quarters figure out how I can make sure in each quarter I’ve delivered a few major high-value projects, and also didn’t totally fuck up any internal communication. If I can become the best project manager in the company that would be amazing but let’s be real – that’s not going to happen. I can, however, start setting realistic deadlines, and do my best to get everyone’s feedback on time on projects so we can hit them.
I’m definitely worried this is all going to go downhill fast, but keeping this “12 months of greatest” in my head feels more achievable than the 2.5 years of survival. I have no idea what I’ll do after those 2.5 years, but the more money I can save, the more doors that will open–whether that’s freelancing part time and staying home with my kids, getting a job at a startup that’s really helping the world somehow, or – who knows. There are a zillion things I could do… I just need the money to feel stable enough to take that leap. I’m so fortunate to be in the place right now where I have a winning lottery ticket in my pocket and all I need to do is just KEEP MY JOB.
For someone who has been fired 8 times in her career, though, that’s easier said than done.