I started working full time again this month. Hubby's out of work for the season (don't feel bad for us...it happens every winter, and we're used to it now. Money gets tight, but we'll be fine!) so it's time for him to play stay-at-home-dad and for me to be the bread winner.
I've always loved work. I love my job, especially the new challenges I have there now. After 16 years (really? 16???) in the classroom teaching everything from toddlers to kindergartners, I am now in a mentoring position where I work with all 15 classrooms in our center and help them in the day-to-day running of the class. I do a lot of in-room training, a lot of modeling for the staff, and a lot of consulting for everything from behavior issues to trouble meeting a requirement to screening for special needs to improving a program component. I am really enjoying it, though it is quite a bit more stressful than teaching ever was. I have to be the bad guy a lot of the time. And I have to practice way more patience and tolerance with the adults in the building than I've ever had to practice with the children. (I'm not sure that's the way it's supposed to be?!?) But I really do love it.
I haven't worked full-time since Munchkin was in preschool. I forgot how utterly exhausting it is to come home from a 9-hour day at work (after starting my day 3 hours earlier than that to get kids to school appropriately dressed, fed, and ready for their day) and throw yourself right into the dinner preparations and homework time and baths and eventually bed. Granted, it's easier now with Daddy at home to at least get the homework started (unless there's 4th grade math involved--then they wait for mom to come home). And Daddy does a lot of the running kids to therapy and dance and all that fun stuff too. So when I do drag myself in the door, all that's left for me to do is cook supper, and maybe a little homework stuff before bed. And in all fairness to Hubby, he'd gladly make supper if I got it started or left him detailed instructions. I just haven't managed to get myself that organized or that on-the-ball yet!
But what I especially forgot is how much I miss my kids when I'm not with them. I really enjoyed picking them up from school everyday. I enjoyed spending a little time hearing about their days while they had a snack. I liked touching base with their teachers each afternoon and seeing their friends. I enjoyed hearing them play together (at least when they weren't fighting) and I enjoyed--well, no. I did not enjoy homework time. But I liked everything else about being with them.
Now, I come in the door and Munchkin runs up to hug me, then heads back to the computer where he's engrossed in a game. Squirrel's usually buried in some activity and doesn't even realize I'm home until I hunt her down. They've both already had their conversation time with Daddy, and now they're both in their shut-down mode that finishes a school day. The upside to this, of course, is that I'm getting time to actually sit down and visit with my hubby each day while the kids veg, and that is something I've also missed out on all summer while he worked crazy hours. So, for that I am grateful.
But I do miss my babies. By the time we eat, it's 7:00 at night and time for baths and bed. I used to beg Hubby to take the bedtime routine, because after a day of staying home with the kids, I was done being Mom about an hour before they were done needing me. But now, he'll tell Munchkin it's bedtime, and I'm the one begging for 5 more minutes! Just one more story with my boy; a few more minutes of a video with my girl. I found myself actually wanting to stay in bed with Munchkin tonight just so I could cuddle him until he fell asleep. He is, of course, too big for that now in his opinion. He told me, "You can go now Mom. And close my door all the way when you leave."
I can't wait until March comes along, and I get to cut my hours back down and be the one to do the after-school pickups, and eat snack with my kids, and cook dinner together, and play outside before starting homework, and fit in some lego time or a board game while we wait for daddy to get home. But not homework time. Ugh. Daddy can keep that one.