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Aug 19 2011

Momma Needs a Job

By at 2:06 pm

I’ve made a decision.

I’m going to look for a part time job. One that will get me out of my yoga pants and out of the house.

Yes, I know, in the grand scheme of decisions, this one seems about as exciting as my extended morning conversations with my toddler regarding her underwear choice. Those of you who know me are probably wondering what I’ve got my decidedly-not-Hello-Kitty-panties in a twist about this time.

The thing is, it’s a big deal for me, even though my girls have been in day-care part time since they were 3 months old. I’ve used the time to work on my doctorate and part-time jobs that I could do almost entirely from home. It’s generally worked out well, as I’ve had the flexibility to take the girls to the pediatrician for their endless ear infections. (I’m still waiting for them to offer me a frequent shopper card.)

But now they’ve got tubes in their ears, and I’ve got cabin fever. I miss going into an office and seeing colleagues and having projects and goals. I miss talking to grown-ups on a regular basis. Although my nightly conversations with my husband are lovely, I need more stimulation than our check-ins about Frieda’s potty progress and Rosie’s adorable but generally ineffective attempts at walking.

I know what you’re asking yourselves. If the kids are already in daycare, what does it matter whether I’m working at home or in an office? To the girls, not so much. To me, it’s a major mind shift.

By working at home for the past three years, I’ve been available to deal with What Might Happen. It’s not actually about balancing the logistics, although that will require some work. My husband is supportive, my girls are flexible and adaptable, and we are lucky to have family and friends in the area who can help. The challenge for me is my anxiety.

I think about making a commitment to be somewhere at a specific time on a regular basis, and my mind starts spinning, spiraling between vague worries and specific questions.  What if one of the girls gets sick on a work day? What if Josh is out of town?  Will my boss be OK if I can’t come in?  Or what if I actually get to work only to have daycare call in the middle of a session? Will I be unprofessional and check my cell phone? Will I be able to ignore the call and still focus on my client?

In my clearer moments, when I’ve had some sleep and coffee, I see the absurdity of my worries, and the obvious solutions to my concerns. There are many parents who work outside the home, and their children are fine.  My girls are generally healthy, and now that they have tubes, the ear infections are few and far between.  I can give my daycare provider the phone number of the front desk at work.  These are not insurmountable challenges.

Except in my head.

Nonetheless, I know it will be good for me, and thus, for my girls and my husband. I know I will be happier and more productive when I have a reason to get out of the house every day, and a few hours each week when I am a social worker with children rather than a Mommy who also works. So, as my toddler would say, I’m going to be vewy bwave and start looking for that job. The real challenge is going to be finding one that will let me wear my yoga pants.


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