I am going back to work soon after being an unemployed bum (a.k.a. stay at home mom) for close to seven years, that’s since December 1, 2004.
I am optimistically terrified. That’s another way of saying I am positively positive that I am scared to death. It’s a big change after all; a life-altering change. Seriously, I haven’t worked in seven years. What if I suck? What if I have no idea what to do? What if I come across as a bumbling stumbling fool?
The number crunching alone to figure out what it will cost to work and how much money I’ll need to earn to almost make going to work worthwhile was worse than doing taxes. Ok, so I never had a nervous problem with doing taxes, but if I did this would have still been worse. Seriously, I needed one heck of a raise over what I left my job at seven years ago just to break even on the costs to work with two kids needing child care.
One thing in my favor is the simple fact that the minimum wage employers have to pay has also increased drastically in the past seven years. A salary that was higher than the minimum seven years ago is now just barely scraping over the new minimum wage.
Going back to work is a big upheaval of course, not just for me but for my entire family. The search for before and after school child care was ridiculously difficult. In fact, further up heaving the kids’ lives by pulling them out of their school and away from their friends to put them in a new school just to find child care still isn’t out of the question. If you think it’s hard to find child care in the city, you should try doing it in a rural area. I’d be tempted to move if it wasn’t such a nice little town and such great neighbors.
Our whole schedule has to change. The main focus our lives will now revolve around getting the kids to and from daycare. Everything else is secondary. But that’s nothing new to the seasoned daycare parents. As newbies, it’s a bit of an adjustment for us.
Mornings are expected at first to be a frantic frazzled stress-filled scramble to get the kids up and ready (and ourselves ready too) to leave an hour earlier than they had to be out the door before. No more throwing sweats on and a jacket to hide my pajama top to walk the kids to the bus, and no more leisurely picking away at eating their breakfasts for the kids.
And only time will tell how our evening schedule will change with getting supper done, homework and reading, baths, and kids to bed.
I’m almost afraid to see what the house will look like. On the one hand, the kids will have a lot less time at home to spend trashing the place. But on the other hand, all those household chores, laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping and stuff, will all have to get crammed into a few too short evening hours and the weekends now. Yikes.
The one thing I do regret is that the kids will never be able to enjoy those lazy day school breaks I had as a kid. You know the kind, the ones kind of like a weekend day where you have nothing planned, nowhere to rush off to, and kids actually have to think for themselves and use their imaginations to entertain themselves – an amazing thing happens when not every moment is pre-planned for them, their imaginations come alive.
My second regret isn’t really a regret at this point, but more of an unknown. Will I be able to find the time for writing? I’m keeping my toes crossed – I’m using my toes to keep those fingers free for typing, after all I do have writing to do.