“This too shall pass”~Lisa Richards
That is my friend’s parenting mantra. Sounds a bit like something that was written on stone somewhere are read outloud by Moses. That, combined with an article she posted on Facebook the other day, was a strange kind of revelation to me.
For non-parents (and probably parents that aren’t me) this might not seem so amazing to you. But for me it was a concept that hadn’t really sunk in. I couldn’t see the forest for all the trees, so to speak.
Somehow, in my day-to-day battles with two toddlers it hadn’t occured to me that in a year things would be much different, in two years, then three years, the situation would be completely different.
But this is not about tantrums, lack of sleep, mess and other general tedium directly related to being a stay at home mother (SAHM) of two toddlers, this is more about my recent anxiety about going back to work.
See, I have been away from work since my daughter was born two and a bit years ago. For generations past that might not seem like a big deal. Perhaps when I first decided to start a family I should have accepted that my working (well, payed working) days were done. But for this current generation of parents the situation is not like that. I feel like I’m expected to go back to work as soon as my kids hit 12 months.
It’s not as simple as that. It’s not exactly that people are telling me to go get a job. My husband doesn’t pressure me in any way to do that. He insists that if I want to be a SAHM for ever then that is ok. But it’s not ok with me. I feel the urge to “bring home to bacon”. I have been programmed over the years to support myself, to provide my own financial support. This is, of course, not the right mindset to have in a family.
Paying off our mortgage at a faster rate would of course be awesome, but in the meantime, we aren’t starving. OUR budget is fine.
It’s not my husband’s money, it’s our money.
But like most irrational mindsets, this is a hard one to really accept.
Also, a part of me really wants to get back to regular adult conversation and using some of the higher brain functions. Dammit, I studied music and mathematics in university, not laundry or floor mopping 101!
I know, I know, raising the children is an important job. Maybe THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB. But it is also a really hard job that every parent needs a break from.
Every now and then I do a day of work and it is amazing. I feel regenerated. I feel purposeful. I come home in a good mood and feel like I am changing the world.
I did do 3 weeks of FULL TIME work a few months ago. That was not so regenerative. Our home and family sanity was being held together by a fine strand. The only way we got through two adults working full-time was that my working stint had a definite end date.
This is where some of the anxiety comes in. I’m a high school teacher. It’s a very demanding job physically and psychologically. When I go in and do emergency teaching it is a very different thing to being a regular teacher. I don’t have “homework” to do. There is no preparation, marking, parent-teacher meetings, staff meetings, camps, on-going disciplinary issues or PD expectations for an emergency teacher. It’s like having one of those “normal” jobs where when you leave work, you can turn work off in your head (well, in theory). Or at least a job where you don’t have to take home huge piles of text books, assignments, tests and reading tasks to do in your own time.
How will I ever be able to juggle school teaching and my family life?
How many days work can I manage without taking on too much stuff?
Can I find a school where I can work that many days (in between kids, I went back to my regular school to work, they allowed a minimum of a 4 day allotment which was, in my case, spread over 5 days)?
Should I change professions?
What can I do other than be a teacher with my current qualifications?
Do I need to return to study so as to broaden my qualifications so I can get different types of jobs?
But the big one that really sends me into an anxiety spiral- is this going to be detrimental to my children? (I’m sitting here trying to think how I would have managed the carnage that was the great head lice debacle of 2012? That would have set me back a month a work by the time I took days off and then tried to catch up again…)
So, I come back to “this too shall pass”.
Next year my kids will be at three and four year old kindergarten. That doesn’t really take up many hours of the week, they won’t be there at the same time. But the following year my eldest will be at Primary school. In 2015, both of my children will be at Primary school.
Is this really all the case or is this just the depths-of-winter-vitamin-D-deficiancy talking?
In the meantime, if anyone has any jobs for me, drop me a line. I’ve got a lot of interesting skills…..