September is flying by. It's difficult to imagine that this picture was taken over two weeks ago, on a day we found ourselves in Fairfax, Virginia. I was desperate for a cup of coffee and we stumbled into this cafe, which turned out not to be a coffee shop but a Thai restaurant and one that, with its decor and soft music, transported me back to the many small eateries on the streets of Bangkok.
Even more difficult to imagine is that I will be back to work in a few short weeks. I'll be greeted by one of those crazy caffeinated weeks at a certain international institution. I've been stewing, disheartened by my maternity leave options, or lack therof. I'm with an organization that has worked on international human rights for many years and yet I had to fight to get more paid leave. I also fought for more unpaid leave and lost that battle. And while I admit we're fortunate enough to have the resources where I could work very part-time for a while, I have no job protection if I choose to do so - and thus, I will be going back to work earlier than I had planned.
In the past weeks, I've wondered several times if we made the right choice to move back to the US. I know we did, but it's not easy to reconcile that conclusion with the realization that I would have better maternity leave options (and easier access to affordable daycare) abroad. I think back to the position I was vying for before this DC position came up. It was with an international group based in Paris and would have had me ping-ponging between Bangkok and Paris. Interesting, but not ideal for motherhood. Yet, I am certain my maternity leave options would have been far more favorable. But in the end, I didn't make the final cut, so it's a moot point.
How do women do it?