This is the end of my first week working four days a week, and the start of summer vacation. I’ve got six kids bopping around my house, giggling and fighting and eating and making a mess and giggling some more. This is what summer vacation always looks like at my house, a mad house of children running around everywhere. Only this year, they’ll only be doing it in the afternoons and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Because I’m going to be working the rest of the time.
Working is wonderful, and I really, really love my job. It’s challenging and rewarding and I wish I had more time do it. Similar to being at home with the kids – I’m constantly feeling as though I’m not putting in enough time anywhere. There’s work that gets undone, and work that gets crammed into home time, and there’s child care woes and worry that my babies are missing out on time with me. And that’s before I start to think about the housework – oh, the housework. The laundry, the shopping, the dishes. Did I mention the laundry? Because the pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded is starting to scare me, and I’m now always behind in washing/drying as well now.
That being said – so far, so good. The kids have adjusted fairly well to my working -although Julie is having a lot more temper tantrums as of late. Of course, that could have more to do with the fact that it’s summer and light out forever now, so she’s up later and not sleeping anywhere near enough. Let’s blame that – and not me. Because the truth is that blaming myself, and my schedule, has become second nature. I blamed myself because Jessie had to wear shoes that were too tight and had to walk home from school yesterday. Not that either was technically my fault (Jessie hates shoe shopping and refuses to go, and lost her pair of shoes that fit her well. And it was a gorgeous day, we live less than a mile from her school, and both her dad and I were working). But let’s be honest, I felt like it was my fault.
It’s a major shift in self-identification for me. A shift in how the kids identify me. I’m not endlessly available anymore – but I’m learning to forgive myself for the lapses in mama-time. To be grateful for the time I have with them, which is still a lot more than most working parents get. I’m grateful for working – because it turns out that I like working. A lot. I like doing well, I like organizing and managing and getting stuff done, and working is so much easier in many ways to staying home. Nobody wants me to get a drink for them, and my co-workers don’t randomly start screaming and chasing each other around the room.
And it’s summer vacation – and even though I’m working, I still have days like this. When six kids are running around and screaming and giggling. When my five year old will curl up in my lap and my nine year old will show me his drawings and my twelve year old disappears into this tween world that fits her so perfectly. When stepdaughters and friends make themselves at home, because my house is home for them. Being a working mom isn’t all that different from being a stay at home one, at least not for me. But I’m so grateful that I get to blend the two – and as happy as I am to be home today, I’ll be equally happy to dance off to work on Monday morning.