Now that the school year is underway, the boys are comfortable with their new routine, and the major house construction is complete, I feel like I am able to come up for air. It has been almost three months since I left my job, so I can compare the working life from this life at home. I have a new perspective, which is a nice thing.
When I was working full-time, every week, every day, every hour almost was scheduled in advance. Laundry had to be done on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. We had to leave the house by a specific time in order for me to make it into the office to attend meetings. The same thing in reverse at the end of the day, when I had to be in my car by a certain time or I was doomed to be stuck in traffic, late getting the kids, with no hope of having any time at all to make dinner. Speaking of, dinners had to be planned and usually prepped in advance. Weekends often filled up with chores and errands, but we also tried to fit in fun activities to do as a family - those often needed to be planned and scheduled in advance in order to make time for them. And then there were all the other little things that cropped up - car repairs, dentist/doctor appointments, sick days... We made it work. It was exhausting, but I spent time every day making it work.
It was the only way I had ever known. I'd worked full-time since I left college 16 years ago. After Aaron was born, we talked about my moving to part-time. It lasted only a few months, at which time I was offered a new job and promotion, but it required me to be full-time. I took it, recognizing that it was an opportunity I shouldn't pass up, and also recognizing that part-time wasn't really working anyway - I was simply trying to squeeze a full-time job into fewer hours and getting paid less. So for five and a half years, I balanced the kids with the full-time job. It was hard.
Now I find that I have the luxury of time, and it is a strange feeling. I find it almost unnatural. I'm used to having a structure, a routine, and without one I find it more difficult to stay organized and on top of everything. There is still much to do, and I do need a system. I'm getting the house in order, and the organization is coming. Knowing what my week looks like in advance is still helpful, even when it's full of school events, dentist appointments, and playdates.
I also think about the future. I do not plan on staying home forever. Once both boys are in school, I will want to go back to work. I will be very clear on what I want, though. I will want a job from which I gain some satisfaction, and one that allows me the flexibility to prioritize my family first. That shouldn't be so hard to find, right?
In the meantime, I am cherishing these days at home. I was able to volunteer to chaperone a nature walk with Aaron's kindergarten class yesterday. The smile and look of pride on his face while I was there is something I will not soon forget. It was important for me to be there, and I am so happy that I was able to be. I'm going to continue to soak in these days while the boys are young. I know they won't last forever.