Family Mom Work

Why I decided to return to work

I wrote this post pre-COVID19. I’m not sure why I didn’t post it at that time. I guess talking about a job is weird for me. And I don’t like to mention my employers on my blog, but this isn’t about my employers. This is about me and why I decided, in what was arguably the busiest time of my life, that I needed to take THIS job. This is about how my mama heart juggles, how my wife role has changed and why, for me, this is a good move. So, remember, this was written before both of my jobs went remote and I started homeschooling my children. That complicated things, but I’ll get to that later.

I hadn’t really considered adding another part-time job to my life.

We were super busy, what with moving and the holidays and my husband’s insane travel schedule. Three girls, three different schedules, homework, dinner, oh and the moving thing I mentioned.

Working part time and freelancing really worked with our family schedule, but I was also losing my sense of self and any motivation to better my life.

For the last five years, I’d worked part time. At my kids’ school. I’d been able to juggle child care, handle things at home, freelance write when the articles were available and work 25-ish hours a week. Occasionally, a job I was interested in would pop up. Sometimes a friend had heard of something that was a “great fit” for my skill set. Sometimes I just felt guilty bringing less into the house and went in search of something that could help pay the bills.

I’d go on interviews. Sometimes I’d get call backs. Several times I got offers. And every time, I said no.

“I don’t really want to drive downtown to work.”

“That office environment was not for me.”

“I wasn’t really looking for full-time hours.”

“My husband’s travel schedule is about to become really intense and I need to be at home.”

Found it on Facebook

In the fall, a Facebook friend, posted a job. He posted it and I think I saw it a few days later. I read the job description.

“Hmm. That’s interesting,” I thought. “Maybe I should apply?”

I mentioned it to my husband. He said the same thing, “Interesting.”

It required my unique skill set and was part-time hours. Meaning I could keep my current part-time job, which I really wanted to do.

But it was further away from home. It would require more than the 10-minute drive I had to my current job. I’d need help. With my husband traveling, there would be a need for someone to help with the kids.

Yet, I still wanted to apply.

I set to work applying one night, late, after the kids were in bed and my husband was gone on yet another business trip. Then I forgot about it.

I was too busy trying to work through flood insurance, closing dates, moving boxes and a dog who really didn’t want to adapt to his new surroundings.

My voicemail is always wonky. This is especially important to note. I’ll have a missed call, but then it doesn’t always tell me I have a voicemail. Or it does, but the missed call number is from some weird area code out of state and I assume it’s some sales call.

Randomly, on a Saturday night, I was checking my voicemail to make sure an insurance agent, home appraiser, real estate agent or someone else hadn’t called to let me know there was yet another form to be signed. I never check my voicemail.

Anyway, I had a message from a woman about the job I applied for. Oh no! When did this come in? How did I miss the call? I looked back through the call log. I had no missed calls. This must have happened when I was visiting my grandma in the hospital and had zero cell signal. She left a number and I called her back, leaving a message on her office phone even on that Saturday night.

She emailed me the next day and we set up an interview for later in the week.

I got really busy with kid stuff, house stuff, dog still not adjusting to the new house stuff and felt like there was no way I was going to be prepared for an interview. This was horrible timing. I considered canceling. I probably have the text messages between my husband and I where we discuss how stressful life is right now and how this might not be “the time” to add in another job.

Somehow, I got my act together and on Friday morning, I made the drive for an early interview while the kids slept in. They had the day off of school. It went well. I had done some prep work, brought some clips, came armed with references and expected it to be round one.

At the end, she said “You’ll probably hear from my by Monday either way.”

Well, OK then.

I went home and took the kids to the library and they got their first library cards. I spent most of the day in that stress-induced haze that I’d been living in since we had decided to move. The weekend came and brought chores and moving activities and trying to get the dog to accept that he now lived in our new house and, no, he couldn’t try to get in everyone’s car and go home. Monday came and went and I had a fleeting thought.

“Huh, I guess maybe I’m not getting that job. That’s fine. Like I need one more thing to do right now.”

Tuesdays were my day off from my part-time job. This particular Tuesday was rough. We were on the clock to get our flood insurance set up so that we could close on our house before we went to Florida for Thanksgiving and before our 30-day rate lock expired. I had been on the phone several times that day with our agent, while my husband was coordinating with the mortgage company to ensure they would use the company we were going with for flood insurance.

Side note: Don’t buy a house that needs flood insurance. It’s just a huge hassle.

I was also busy with general “house wifing” like folding laundry, watching the impeachment proceedings and then taking a nap. I missed a call from the insurance company and realized I had to leave to pick the kids up from school.

I was straight up embarrassed. I was sleeping far too much lately and if my husband found out that I had missed a call because I fell asleep at 1:30 p.m., he was going to be upset. I got in the car and on the phone with the insurance company, got some information and put my phone down.

It rang again. I figured it was the insurance company, the mortgage company or my husband. It wasn’t. It was my new employer calling to offer me a job.

I couldn’t even process what was happening. I remember where I was driving. I remember my phone beeping over and over again as my husband tried to call me, probably curious about the information I was supposed to get from the insurance company.

She talked about details and I told her it all sounded great. Yes, I definitely wanted the job.

Just Do It

Did it? Did I? Up until now I had always turned the job down with one reason or another. You know, reasons that I had formulated in my head before I even got the call. Or reasons that I came up with and then called to cancel second and third interviews.

I hung up with her and clicked over to my husband. I said, “Hey, I just got that job.”

There was a pause. He said, “I’m not trying to negate this. I’m super proud of you, but we really have to get this flood insurance thing figured out. Did you get that information?”

That’s the speed at which our lives were moving. I hadn’t come up with an excuse this time. I had barely given it additional thought.

Logically, I could list the reasons why I didn’t say no to this job.

  • It was a good opportunity.
  • I can’t find good part-time jobs that allowed me to keep my other job.
  • I’ve worked at this organization in another capacity in the past and I generally like the environment.
  • It’ll be good for us long term.
  • I was sleeping (read: depressed) a ton and feeling like a hopeless lump of a maid and I needed to do more–something where I felt like I was actually contributing to more than the laundry.

Inside, I was terrified.

All the reasons that had prevented me from taking other jobs in the past came up. The drive, the need for help, my husband’s travel schedule, my ability to have time to “do stuff” for myself (although, most of the time that was sleeping).

How would we adjust to a new schedule? How would I keep up with everything? Who would help me shuttle the kids back and forth? How would I get dinner made every day? Would our weekends go back to grocery-shopping, laundry-doing, grass-mowing, unexciting days? What if someone got sick? What if I got pneumonia? What if the dog wouldn’t stop pooping in the house and I had to stay with him 24/7?

Busy mom things scare me.

Well, nearly two months in, I’m happy to report that all is humming along.

Sure, there are days when I’m straight up dragging. There are times when I wish I could sit at home on a Tuesday afternoon and craft. There are mornings when I have to find a ride home for my kids or leave early because there is no one else to get them. I don’t get in as many workouts. I certainly don’t get in as many naps. And, I got a Pampered Chef Quick Cooker and upped my meal prep game. (We recently went 3 weeks without eating out. THREE WEEKS!)

But there were some things that I didn’t expect too.

  • We have more money now, which gives us more freedom in our decision making and planning for the future.
  • My seasonal affect disorder, while still there, seems better because I have to get out of bed and do something or I will get fired.
  • I don’t feel guilty for hiding afternoon naps or defending small Amazon purchases.
  • I feel motivated in my other job. I’m taking things I learn at both jobs and applying them to each other. It’s pushing me forward in a way I didn’t expect.
  • I’m learning that I can juggle a lot.
  • My self-confidence has increased times like 1,000 percent.

So while this wasn’t planned, expected and I certainly didn’t think I was ready, getting back to work for more than 40 hours a week has actually been really great. I will put it out there that both jobs are incredibly flexible and understanding of family and the demands that just happen to be on me because of my husband’s travel load.

And the rest of it, well, it’s just like Elsa says, “Into the unknown….”

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