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Posts Tagged ‘work’

The Work Conundrum

working.jpegBefore I begin this monologue, I would like complete disclosure. First, I know I am fortunate to be able to stay home with my children while they are young, even though it has cost us ungodly amounts of student loans. Second, if I were to return to work with two preschool-aged children, the amount of money I would bring in after taxes and all the child care costs would maybe allow us to rent our Saturday night movie without guilt. This is not a “should I go back to work for the money, even though I don’t need it” post, because God knows we need it.. but wouldn’t get it. This is a “should I go back to work, even a little bit, to save the sliver of sanity I have left” post.

There are two realities I cannot get around, when conceiving my ideal work scenario: a) Hubby works insane hours and that is not going to change until after all the children are school-aged, and b) we don’t have the money to have a sitter while I do non-paying good vibe volunteer work. Also, I do love hanging out and playing with my children, especially in the beautiful summer and fall months. Therefore, if I returned to work, it would have to feel very real and rewarding to warrant leaving the children. Alright- so after all those stipulations, what is left?

Here is my ideal scenario: Be home with the children in the morning, and have some fun adventure,- a hike, a swim, the bike ride, etc. Then Baby lays down for nap from 11-1, during which time I prepare dinner and get ready for work. The babysitter comes from 2-5, while I go…change the world for the better for more than the $12/hr that I’m paying the sitter. There is the clutch. How does one find a meaningful part-time job that pays enough to cover the care?

I know there are jobs out there, specially-made for moms who want a part-time gig. And if all I wanted was a break, and half my sitter money paid, I would stuff envelopes or make direct marketing calls (well, maybe not), but I am looking for something outside of a creative pancake recipe that that will challenge me.

I am coming to the conclusion that I need to make something up myself. Something fun and challenging that will better my community, pay at least as much as the sitter charges, and be part-time. If I were a just a sculptor…or a shoemaker….

I would love to hear what you think about working as a mother. Do you? Do you want to, but don’t? Does it bring you the sanity I dream of, or make life even crazier? Is it possible to have job charming while raising children? Or do I need to put all this on hold for another few years? And one last question that could fill a whole new post: if you have decided to stay home with the children, but plan on returning to work some day, at what age do you think it is right to return to work, and why then?

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Reality Check

News for mothers of pre-school aged children: It DOES NOT get easier once your children are in school. Especially if you have one in a preschool and another in a big kids school. And especially if they both get out at the same time. And also, if one goes to school five days a week and the other only two days a week, and you are working, that leaves babysitter coordination– not just “hey, how about Wednesday and Friday mornings at our place?” More like, ” I’m dropping Sunshine off at 8:30 and have to be at work at 9:00, so where can you meet me so we have a nice transition for Boo while still getting me to work

on time? The coffee shop in Harvard Square? Great!” (Have you driven through Harvard Square at 8:45?) Oh, and making two lunches a day. That’s fun to do at 10:00 every night before school. Oh, and nut-free schools, right. Has anyone out there found a brand of bread that WASN’T made in a nutty facility, because I’m sending Boo to school with sunflower seed butter and apple slices.

I guess I always thought life would be easier once the children were in school because then I would have TIME TO MYSELF. The joke is that for some God known reason, we tend to sabotage time for ourselves JUST as we get it by doing something crazy like going back to work, or volunteering on school committees, or canvasing for our favorite candidate. (Maybe you think these activities qualify as “me” time. I don’t. I picture laying on the couch, sipping tea and reading a David Sedaris book as good “me” time.) And so when you add in the lunch packing, the pick-ups and drop offs, the carpool and sitter coordination, what have you left for yourself? Sleep deprivation and anxiety. Sound familiar?

So my advice to current stay home mothers of pre-school aged children is this: Either stay home for the next several years to make up for lost “me” time, or get a grip on reality so that you don’t wake up one morning, like I did, and wonder what…just…happened?

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How does anyone have time to write, read or comment on blogs with holiday weekends away, kids starting school and melting down every three seconds, and work? Really? The past week, I have even forgone writing down a grocery list (which is a BAD idea when all my blood is in my belly anyway. I get to the store and just look around like, “Hmmmm.. all looks good, but what in the world can I ever do with any of this stuff, and why am I here?” Then I get home and wonder what we will have for dinner).I’ll get back in the saddle (if I was really ever there in the first place) again once the school gears are greased and moving, my babysitter RETURNS from vacation (!!), my husband graduates from school, and then residency, we settle someplace we’re going to stay for more than two years, the mortgage is paid off, the kids are away at college… Where did that saddle go?

Right- as soon as the kids are fully back in school (does two mornings a week qualify as “fully”), and the babysitter is back (tomorrow!), then life and it’s often seemingly mundane, but enjoyably predictable routine is back in gear, then I will hitch my saddle.

And four weeks later have a baby.

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The Meaning of Summer

What is the meaning of summer? Isn’t it about play, freedom, and sun? Or is that just for the school children and the free-but-too-young-to-appreciate-it college kids?

I have mentioned before that I am thankful for the opportunity to be working and diversifying my thoughts a bit, and I AM. But I received an e-mail from my daughter’s school teachers yesterday that ended by saying “Enjoy the last days of summer.” What? I started working (out of the house) the beginning of July and now people are claiming that I have missed the summer! My children, who I expected to be at parks and beaches, dripping with BBQ sauce and popsicle juice all summer, ended up at gymnastics camps, with babysitters, and running around doing errands with me all summer. (Thank goodness for the friend who helped out and actually took the children outside to play!)

How did this happen? Is this what summer is for families where both parents work? They have to go to the beaches on the weekends, and contend with the other 5 million people who also work during the week and NEED some sandy toes and salt-crusted hair. Tricky. I need the work. I like the work. But being inside all summer bums me out– not just for me, but for Boo and Sunshine.

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Guilt: Part 2 of a Series

I dropped Boo, my 2 1/2 year old boy, off at gymnastics this morning with his sister, Sunshine. Now, gymnastics, what could be more fun for the kids (other than the &!$@% sprinkler park that I cannot do anymore this summer!)? Though usually seen as fun, when I have to be at work and have a meeting with a new boss candidate, Boo decided he would rather be home baking muffins with me. Of course, were I planning on going home and baking muffins (in a quite house with my music on- glorious!!), he wouldn’t want anything to do with me. So I hold him while the other children start on the trampoline. All it takes is for him to give one go on the trampoline, and he’s hooked, gives me a kiss and I’m off- late, but at least showing up to work. (What would I have done had he not let go of me, crying and begging to go home? Would I really leave him there, crying? Would I really not show up to work because of separation anxiety?

Am I ruining my little Boo? Sunshine never had so much independence (not even a babysitter!) when she was 2. When she started school at 3.5, it was two mornings a week and I sat by the window waving and blowing kisses until pick up time. Now, I drop Boo off almost every day with friends or gymnastics with a swift kiss and hair russle. What does #3 have in store for him?

It is not like I have had a five-year break between children and I’m so excited to stay home and oogle all over Baby. I’m on the edge of SAHM burn-out. Working part-time in an office with other adults is FABULOUS. So, will I regain some of my original SAHM love with Baby comes? Please, say yes, because the guilt is already building, and he isn’t even born yet.

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