I had a conversation with a friend recently about going back to work. We are both in a similar situation in that our kids are going to be off to school full time in the fall, and that will leave us both with a mostly free day, and leaves us both wondering if it's time.
It's not the actual work itself that gives me pause (although teaching has certainly changed since I was in a classroom seven years ago and I might need to learn some stuff), but the idea of giving up the ability to be there for our kids when we want to that is niggling at both of us. I like to know that I can pick my kids up if they're sick, and I can take them to appointments when they need to go. I like being able to have the time to take them to activities after school and not have to coordinate a carpool or other care. I like the flexibility of my daily routine and not being forced into a rigid schedule.
On the other hand, it would be nice to pay down the mortgage so maybe we could go on a nice vacation together, or eat out more often, or visit places with admission fees we don't want to pay. Even just a smaller extra salary could put a dent in those payments. It would be nice to find a job that would allow me to work from say, 9-2 each day while the kids are in school. But...then there is the inevitable summer vacation where they would be home, and they aren't yet old enough to stay home by themselves, so some kind of care would have to be arranged. Ideally I would find a job in the kids' school, but again, it's commitment to something I'm not sure I'm ready for. In seven years I have gone from someone who has always worked to someone who has no idea what I'm going to be when I grow up.
But, at least I know it's not just me and that others are struggling in the same situation that I am. That gives me a little bit of comfort that I am not just being lazy when it comes to hesitating returning to work, but really thinking about if it's time to upend the routine and balance we've got going on right now. Luckily for us it's not a dire situation and I will have time to decide what's right for us, and hopefully a clear path will appear at the right time.