But, I'm not gonna lie. It's stinkin' H-A-R-D to try and manage everything at work and everything at home.
When Choi Boy first came home, after a 3-month break to help with his and our adjustment, I went back to work half-time. Every weekday, I dropped CB off at daycare and was at school by 7:45am. Then I was out the door again between 11:30 and 11:45, just in time to pick CB up after lunch and head home for nap time. The schedule worked wonderfully for us -- I was able to get a lot of household chores done, including cooking dinner, and still have some "me" time before CB awoke from his nap. And once he was up, we were off to have some afternoon adventures, whether it was out of the house or at home. Plus, the mornings at daycare were wonderful for CB -- he learned a lot and had lots of fun, too.
Last summer, the hubs went through a career change. He took a big pay cut and had less flexibility with his schedule, but was a lot happier. To help make up for the reduced income, I went back to work full time for the 2011-2012 school year. In addition to the extra income, I felt ready to head back to work full time and was excited for the new school year. So it seemed it was a win-win situation.
Fast forward to the end of the school year and I am exhausted and feel beaten and battered. It can be argued that I usually feel that way at the end of a school year, but this year, more than ever, I am spent. Like, stick-a-fork-in-me and don't-expect-me-to-get-out-of-my-pajamas-for-the-first-week-of-break done. And the sad part is, I felt like that for most of the year.
For the last six years (with the exception of last year's half-time stint), I've held two different positions at school. I worked in the mornings in my Kindergarten classroom teaching Reading and Writing, and in the afternoons, I worked in first grade as a Reading Recovery teacher. Technically, it's two half-time positions, but most of the time, it felt like two full-time positions because I was juggling both positions and all the responsibilities that go along with each. And though I'm supposed to be able to finish all of my responsibilities during my 8-hours/day contract time, there is rarely a day when I don't bring work home with me. (sonotgettingintoteacherpoliticsrightnow. ha!)
So, when I got home each afternoon, I had just enough (sometimes not even enough) energy to make dinner, get in a little play time with Choi Boy, give him a bath and then tackle our bedtime routine. On days when the hubs came home while I was making dinner, it made things a whole lot easier, but at least two days a week, he was working nights and it was difficult to keep up the energy to manage the evening on my own. On top of that, I felt like I was so depleted that it was difficult to maintain my patience and enjoy the afternoons and evenings without counting down the minutes until bedtime.
When it came down to it, I was just exhausted and felt like I was barely being mediocre in all the roles I was juggling -- wife, momma, teacher, friend, etc, etc... And I hated that.
So we decided something had to change. I still wanted to work, but I wanted more time at home, too. And sadly, cloning myself or adding 5 extra hours on to each day weren't really viable options.
After talking it through and reworking our budget again and again, the hubs and I decided that we could make it work so I could return to a half-time position next year. It was a difficult decision to make, but after going back and forth, we decided that this was the best decision for our family right now.
It was certainly humbling to admit that I just couldn't do it all and that I needed to cut back on something. I felt like I was admitting defeat and that I wasn't good enough to manage everything.
But in the end, it wasn't so much about me as it was about us and what was best for our family. So, as of this September, I will be returning to work half-time.
It will definitely be an adjustment to cut back on things -- we'll have to eat out and go out less and I am trying to learn all I can about couponing...but, we think it will be worth it. Especially because we're hoping it will mean I will get to spend a lot more time with and have loads more energy for our little hipster.