Cockamamie Idea for August 14, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I have been at home with my kids for over 2 1/2 years, and that is the longest I have ever gone without working outside the home or being in school. I graduated from high school and went straight to working for the federal government about 4 weeks later. I went to university a few years later, full-time, and maintained a 2/3 full-time work calendar at my job.

I enjoyed working for the most part. I did lateral transfers, got promoted here and there and did a management trainee program for a few years. I had been working straight for almost 13 years when I went on my first maternity leave in April 2002. Since then I've only worked a stretch of 7 months and another of 10 months, in between maternity leaves. It has been almost 3 years since I worked, but I'm on a "care and nurturing" sabbatical and I'm expected back sometime before November 2011.

In the beginning of maternity leave #3, my oldest was 3 1/2, I had a 2-year old, who predictably was a little on the selfish side, and a baby that had at least 2, and up to 4 medical or therapy appointments a week. For the first 4 months, I pumped breast milk 6 times a day to feed her. I walked my oldest to nursery school three afternoons a week. My two year-old was a handful and she decided to stop napping a few months in. I was barely hanging on.

Gradually, things started to get better. It was almost imperceptible at first. Precious started having predictable nap times. Sweet Pea got better at sharing and stopped grabbing knives out of the knife block seconds after I settled in for 20 minutes of pumping breast milk. Mr. Boy got more independent and could do things like zip up his own zipper. I decided to do less housework. It was a choice between a dirty house and going insane.

Eventually, we got into a little routine. Mr. Boy started junior kindergarten and Sweet Pea went to nursery school. I was walking everywhere, getting exercise, and Precious' appointments started to slow down.

Before I knew it, in September 2007, Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea were both at school in the morning, and Precious was accepted to a special needs preschool in the morning, too. I had an hour to myself every morning. I started to come up for air and do more during the day. I'd scrapbook a bit during the day. Read the paper. Scan a magazine. Wash and style my hair from time to time!

Now I seem to have too much time on my hands. The kids still need fairly close supervision. It's not like I can leave them alone in the house while I run errands! Precious is still a toddler and we all know how much work they can be, but the older two can play alone together for hours at a time. My main responsibilities are reading books to the kids, managing t.v. time and playdates, instigating outside playtime, keeping food in the house, keeping the house neat-ish, running people to appointments and school, organizing extra-curricular activities, making meals and snack, washing clothes and bathing the children.

So what do I do in the downtime? That's a good question. I've started blogging. I've started reading other people's blogs. I read novels, I try to learn about photography, gardening, fitness, or whatever topic catches my fancy that day. I surf the net. I yearn for adult conversation and a sense of satisfaction.

Christine put a bug in my ear the other day when she mentioned in passing that maybe one day we could job share. I mentioned it to DH jokingly and he thought that now might be a good time to do that! I thought, "What a cockamamie idea!", but DH was really onto something. I crave a bit of productive time away from the kids, but I don't want to be at work every day. I wouldn't mind a bit of extra money either.

Once I realized that this might actually be a good idea, I wondered if I could find fulfilling work with my employer, say, two days a week, job-share or not? Would I be able to find care for the kids? Could I manage Precious' appointments and make sure they were squeezed into my 3 days off? The first step is calling work and asking if there is any work I could do part-time. I like nothing better than a new project, so I'm excited, but nervous to find out where this goes.


meddler August 15, 2008 at 9:15 AM  

Bring me some bacon, Babe!

Christine August 16, 2008 at 6:07 AM  

I think you should go for it. There is no harm in asking for part time work.. and you know with the results from the CS04 coming out in September, there will be CS03 spots opening, and perhaps for part-time! I'd love to have you back!!!

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