I am not leaving my job.
I am not stepping back.
I’m not taking a year or two off.
I won’t find it necessary to become a stay-at-home mom because I have two children under 4.
Maybe you’ve seen this happen to other women—your friend, your daughter, your daughter-in-law or your niece. Perhaps that led to a completely innocent and benign assumption that I might do the same.
Before I go on, I have an incredible amount of respect for any parent who stays at home to care for young children. I can think of no job more stressful, difficult or thankless, and there’s zero pay!
This post is in no way meant to diminish the importance of parenting and the choices women make—be they voluntary or not—about their careers and their families. This is about me, and a need I feel to clarify my situation, in case there are any incorrect assumptions being made.
I am the sole breadwinner in my family. My husband will be taking care of the new baby for the first 18 months until we plan to start daycare/preschool, just as he did with our first son. I wish this was not an unconventional situation in our society. It takes the stress of hiring a nanny or finding an infant daycare off our shoulders. My children will have a bond with their father that is like no other. How many newborns spend time strapped to their dad’s chest while he edges the grass? It’s something we are thankful for every single day as a family.
But even if I weren’t the sole breadwinner, I wouldn’t take a step back from my career.
I am one of the few lucky ones who found vocation, not merely a job. “Financial advisor” is a part of my identity that can never be severed. I laugh to think about how badly I wanted a job in investment banking after college, and I am forever grateful that I landed, by accident, in wealth management. I’ve dedicated most of my mental capacity to learning how to be a high-quality financial advisor. It occupies my thoughts at all hours of the day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I live and breathe this job, and I’d be miserable if I left it now. I would not be a good parent without it.
My job doesn’t feel like “work.” I don’t feel relieved that it’s Friday, and I never dread Mondays. Now that I work remotely and most client meetings are over the phone, I don’t report to a physical location where coworkers are expecting to see me at certain hours. For these reasons, I don’t find it necessary to take several months off for maternity leave—barring any medical complications for me or the baby of course.
Don’t get me wrong, I will disconnect temporarily from the day-to-day grind to bond with my newborn and get through the fog of those first few days/weeks of sleeplessness. I am very lucky to have a rockstar team to handle the needs of my clients during that time. But pretty soon, I’m going to want to read the news, write a blog, log in to social media, and check my email. It’s just who I am. I have moved my office to my home temporarily, so I won’t be leaving my newborn to do this. I really am one of the lucky ones, and I acknowledge that privilege.
The United States lags every other developed country in public policy for parents of young children. We have no mandated paid leave for new mothers, and in companies with less than 50 employees, no guarantee of returning to a job after unpaid leave. These statistics are abysmal, and the burden falls predominantly on the lowest earners—those who can least afford to take time off from work after the birth of a child. I will continue to advocate for change in this area because it is important. Most mothers do not have a job like mine and cannot easily return to work in a few weeks. They deserve better. Our economy will be stronger when we support and encourage young families to have more children.
Being a parent is one of the best decisions I’ve made in life, and I am excited to welcome a new member to our family in a few days/weeks. I have a special bond with my brother, so I always knew I wanted a sibling for my son, if it were possible. I’ve never felt “mom guilt” for prioritizing the importance of my career. I have never felt that working and parenting at the same time was a burden, and I throw myself wholeheartedly into both roles. I am forever grateful to have a partner and spouse who picks up the slack I leave at home.
So, now you know. In case you were wondering…
This post originally appeared on The Belle Curve.
Blair duQuesnay, CFA, CFP, is an investment advisor at Ritholtz Wealth Management, LLC. She works with the firm’s clients to create sustainable financial plans and investment strategies, and is a member of the firm’s investment committee, where she provides an advisor’s perspective and has a pulse on the questions clients are asking about their portfolios. Blair is an active contributor and commenter on the financial services industry. She is the author of the New York Times opinion piece, “Consider Firing Your Male Broker” in January 2019. She has been featured or quoted in publications including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Marketplace, Forbes, Morningstar Advisor Magazine and Business Insider. Follow Blair on Twitter and Instagram.