Mostly stay at home mom tries to carve out space for another job

I’m about to find out just how much work I do everyday. Next month, I’ll have 12 hours less every week to launder and nurse and clean and shop and cook and shuttle and coordinate.

I got a job.

The acquisition of this job was a complete miracle.

As I bounced Cal down for one of the first naps after AJ returned to work after his paternity leave, I thought one of those thoughts that feels three dimensional. It popped up like a glossy cartoon bubble with words dressed in a distinctive font above my head:

I think I want a job.

It’s time for a big caveat now because, as we all know, I already have a job. A big, fat raise-2-children-and-keep-a-house-going job. And since I had Jo, I’ve had many paying jobs—freelancing video production or taking doula clients. But the cartoon bubble thought was about an employee job, an I-do-what-you-tell-me-to-and-you-keep-the-work-coming-and-sign-the-checks job.

Literally (and I mean Literally!) half an hour later, I got a phone call from a woman I’d met at a 4-year-old birthday party the week before, and she said, “Hey, this is Ada from Lex’s birthday party. Do you want a job?”

Why yes, I do.

And so now I have one. Weird.

The day before I got the job, I was lamenting the oceans of time I had at home. I could go into existential fits about the next sink of dishes or diaper change—“Is this all there is?!”

I’d find myself fantasizing about this.

Photo by Tim Caynes

Photo by Tim Caynes

The day after I got the job, I started clinging to Cal, and feeling all nostalgic hanging the laundry up on the line. I would actually find myself enjoying, nay treasuring the idyllic fantasyland that is staying at home with your children.

IMG_1726

Grass is greener anyone?

I start mid-November, and I’m nervous about all the logistics—getting Jo to pre-school, then Cal to the nanny share, then me to work. And then, 6 hours later, do the whole thing in reverse, burst into the house and start sorting dinner out while I try to deeply re-connect with one kinetic 4 year old and one snuggly 5 monther.

The amount of energy and coordination it is taking to free my time for 12 regular hours of paid work is extraordinary.  It’s as though I have to build up enough speed to catapult myself into orbit or something. I have to coordinate childcare schedules for two different kids at three different locations, re-work my participation schedule at Jo’s pre-school, figure out the whole breast pumping palava and wonder how, after all is said and done, the groceries will find their way home and the clothes will get washed and the food get to our table.

At the risk of sounding like a privileged, ungrateful whiner, I’m resentful about the particular overwhelm I’m feeling during this transition into work.

I wanna get all 4-year-old trantrum-y and stomp my feet. It’s just not fair that I feel like I’ll still have all the same responsibilities AND 12 hours of paid work to do every week. If I don’t initiate some conversations with AJ about a significant re-organizing of responsibilities and maybe finding a house cleaner, I’m basically expecting it to look like a hell hole around here in a couple weeks. I want someone to step in and equitably re-arrange everything so that AJ and I both have equal and manageable responsibilities on the home front.

I think that person will have to be me.

Well, would you look at that—another new job.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  October 30, 2013

    House keeper. House keeper. House keeper! Just sayin. Saved the day here with one toddler + 40 hour work week + absentee husband.

    Reply
  2. adiaaveanimi

     /  October 30, 2013

    Congrats on your job! You’re posts rock me. So to-the-bone representative — I was just complaining today with an understanding Mom about “finding the balance” as I try to squeeze freelance video work into the week … (having no time lately to blog). I hope after the curve of establishing new routines your job and the balance feel good to you. I know this stuff isn’t funny, often, but you are soo FUNNY! LOVE the way you express and describe things, the crazy ups and downs … You’re brave! Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Sarah E. Edinger-Gomez

     /  October 30, 2013

    That is an amazing story and congrads to you on your new job! I am having baby no. 3 in April! ;-) Cheers, Sarah

    On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 3:02 PM, An Honest Mom

    Reply
  4. Amen, sister. I got a part-time job a month ago, and my house looks like crap now. Also, we’ve been eating a lot of frozen pizza.

    Reply
  5. Mrs B.

     /  November 5, 2013

    I feel ya! It’s such a hard roller coaster. I went back to work and have been battling a love\hate relationship with it. I’m starting to reassess our needs/wants budget so I switch to part-time in January. This 40+ hour bullshit is only making the dust bunnies grow bigger and my sanity level diminish. ♥ congrats on the job and hope it levels out soon.

    Reply
  6. Nancy

     /  November 9, 2013

    It’s your old neighbor :) I don’t think it’s always a case of grass is greener, but it’s worth trying if you do have that feeling of wanting to work a paid job, so you know. Plenty of my coworkers told me they preferred being at work because they felt more competent and liked the break. I think it changes over time too. And yes the house cleaning totally sucks when you go back to work. I find the food part more stressful though because it has to happen whereas cleaning…let’s just say you prioritize and accept it won’t ever be clutter free and spotless. And totally ask A to do more. My thoughts are with you as you transition since I’m going back to 32 hours next week and dreading it. The challenge is to stay engaged with the kids when you are exhausted from work and all the arranging.

    Reply

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