Sometimes when people find out that I only work a couple of days a week (and sometimes only 1/2 days at that) when both of my kids are in school full-time - I get "the look."
You know the one. The look that says, "Wow - don't you have it made? Sure must be nice to have all of that time to sit around and do nothing!"
Is it nice to have a few days a week to be at home without the kids? Sure is. To be able to go grocery shopping all by myself, to get household chores done without someone else making new messes faster than what I can clean them up? You bet. To be able to sit and play my guitar, watch an episode of Ellen and do a blog post at my leisure? Of course.
But I'll be honest - it's not all sunshine and roses. It can get lonely and it can get boring. Not boring in the sense that there's nothing to do - just that sometimes I feel restless and ho-hum. And I can't just afford to drive in to the city every day in search of something else to do.
Believe it or not, there are times when I even consider trying to get my old job back - by saying I'll agree to working full-time. It would certainly help financially around here, and it would be a desk job again - which, let's face it, is way more up my alley than my new house-cleaning job. It would get me out of the house and interacting with people while still feeling productive (whereas now, if I spend some of my empty days visiting with friends all afternoon, I feel guilty).
And I tend to do better with keeping up with things in the house when I'm under time restraints too. If I have all week to tidy and clean...well, it just seems to drag out. Whereas if I worked full-time and only had my evenings & weekends to catch up on everything, I think I would actually get more done, if that even makes sense.
So the idea is more than just a little bit tempting. But it all comes back around to one thing: My kids.
And ultimately that is my job. Yes, they may be in school full-time so I could be working more hours during the week than what I currently do. But it's just not that simple. What about before & after school? What about spring break (which we are currently in)? What about the two weeks off over Christmas? And the kicker - what about the 10 weeks of summer holidays?
Les and I are both in agreement that we don't want daycare to be a part of our kids' lives. This is nothing against those who choose to go that route, it's just our own personal decision. I don't want to have to wake my kids up at 6:30 or 7:00 every morning to drag them to daycare. I don't want them to have to head back there after school when they're already exhausted from a long day of sitting and learning and have them wait for me until suppertime.
That only would leave us 2 hours each night for supper, homework, showers and any family time. As it is, with them getting home at 4:00 from school, time seems short enough.
And when it comes to school breaks? I don't want my kids to have to spend those times at daycares either. I'm sure there are lots of great daycares that make sure the kids get lots of outdoor time, etc. And I'm sure they would make other friends there that they could play with. But what about the friends that they WANT to be spending time with? What about day outings to the splash park or visits to Grandma's house? What about just getting to be a kid on summer holidays? Sleeping in, frolicking in their own backyard, playing with the neighbors, being able to have their own "quiet time" instead of always being surrounded by a roomful of other children.
I know in a few years Joelle will be getting to that age where she will be able to stay home alone with her sister. But even then - do I really think that my 11 year old needs to have that kind of pressure? To be a temporary Mom at her age? An hour after school is one thing - but to have the responsibility of getting Malia up, fed and out the door for school in the morning AND starting supper after school and helping her with homework...and once again of course all of the school breaks. Does she really need the job of staying home with her little sister day in and day out being the one 'in charge' when she finally has a break from school?
When she's 14 or 15 - okay, that's a different story. But as an 11 or 12 year old girl, I think that's too much. At that age she should still be able to just be a kid. There are so many more years as an adult where the burdens and responsibilities of life take over - why would I want to put her in that position as soon as she is legally allowed to?
So yes, I know what you're thinking when you give me those looks. But just so it's clear as to what I'm thinking - I'm thinking of doing what's best for my kids...even if means that sometimes I get bored and lonely. Even if it means giving up a job I enjoyed to do a job that's just not my thing. Even if it means people thinking I'm lazy.
Because more important to me than what anybody else think is what my kids think. And they think it's pretty awesome that their Mom is home the majority of the time.