I’m fully aware that I’ve been quiet over here, but there’s a (somewhat) good reason for that! I got a job! As an instructional assistant at my middlest’s elementary school, the school where my oldest spent six years of her life and the school where my youngest will start in less than two years (*sobs*). And so far, I am really, truly loving it.
But I also have yet to find that magical work/home life balance. So I’m sort of spinning in this spiral of chaos and confusion and dirty laundry, desperately trying to grasp a few moments where I’m not completely exhausted and can manage to get things accomplished around the house.
Lots of moms work outside the home and manage to keep a clean and organized house, cook dinner, transport kids to activities, and still practice some semblance of self care. I know it can be done. But it’s sure as hell not happening around here. At least not yet.
I should also add that between the time spent staying late at work and/or working from home in the evenings, my husband is working 60+ hour weeks. I can’t expect him to pick up the slack. If we were working the same number of hours, I’d be all “Get your ass in the kitchen and make dinner tonight! Mama’s tired.” Some nights he even has, which sort of makes me feel like a jerk. But as it is, I just don’t have another adult available to share the burden of housework.
I think what it boils down to is this… I have been a stay at home mom for over nine years. NINE YEARS! My family doesn’t exactly remember a time when I wasn’t here to do every little thing. So I think they might be having a harder time adjusting to my new life as a working mom than I am.
Filling my days when I stayed at home was not difficult. There was always plenty to do… the husband and kids made sure of that. Now I’m short eight hours each day. So I need to make those few hours I do have each night (barring total exhaustion) extremely efficient.
How do I do that? Enlist the help of my three minions, of course! Which in their eyes, makes me the absolute worst mother in the world. “WHY did you have to go back to work?!?”, they shout through tears. “Because not only are you guys getting freaking expensive, but your brother is driving me insane and I need to get out of this house,” I reply.
My response is 100% accurate, by the way. Yes, the girls are getting more expensive as they get older. We have been making it work, but not without a lot of stress that I would like to lessen on both of us. But the larger part is that being home all day, every day with my son was pushing me to a place that I didn’t like. And honestly, I’ve only started feeling that way over the past nine months or so. I’ve had two kids at home with me at a time without a problem… just having him here should be a walk in the park. But no. More like a walk across hot coals. Powering through it as quickly as possible with your eyes on the finish line the entire time. I was bordering on needed a straitjacket.
All three kids have a chore list. Of course the Ninja’s is minimal, but the girls have legit housework to help with. Because this is the only way that things are going to get done. They may hate it. I may hate having to enforce it (especially when it’s not done as well as I would have done it). But it’s a necessary evil. And a good life lesson. Not only do these entitled little turds need to learn some responsibility, but they are now realizing just how much I did as a stay at home mom. How worthwhile and difficult and valuable that choice is.
My going back to work has been a struggle on all of us, but ultimately, I think it’s making me a better mom when I’m home. I have more patience. I appreciate my time with them more. My knee jerk reaction when they do or say something distasteful isn’t to throw them out the window. I don’t actually do that, but OH how I’ve wanted to. All good things.
And my job is great. I’m on the same schedule as my kids, I love teaching other kids (and I’m already getting attached to them), and I have the best co-workers in the world. I have a purpose outside of my home and outside of the lives of my own kids. That’s pretty rad.
But no, we haven’t found a balance yet. But I think we will. I hope we will.