Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Working for a Living

This week I begin a new, temporary, chapter in my life. Working full time outside the home. I was a single mother for over 10 years, I am not in unfamiliar territory. I hated it then and I hate it now. But, my mother needed surgery and wouldn't get it unless she felt things were handled and her boss trusts me, so I have agreed to do her job for six weeks.

We need money, it's true and this is a good opportunity to keep my skills fresh. (I am learning Windows 8. Yay) The most important thing is that I'm helping out my mom though. I wouldn't do it otherwise. It is simply not worth it to (as my husband dramatically puts it) let "the institution" raise my child. After I pay daycare, I have very little money left and that's going to gas, clothing and easy to prepare meals. What little is left has debts waiting for it.

Mothers who work outside the home like to sneer at mothers who stay home with their children and say "I do everything you do, plus I work full time." But the truth is they don't, I didn't before and I can't now. They make enough money to pay someone else to do what stay at home moms do all day.

Right now I am paying $41 a day for someone else to supervise, entertain and teach my child. And no, I don't think they can do it better than me. Yesterday was story time at the Library and we missed it because I had to be at the office. Tonight, I paid someone else to make Chinese food which I dropped off at home, along with my toddler to my teenager who babysat (that is, played Super Smash Bros on his DS in the same room while the toddler watched Toy Story) while I ran out to train a dog(because I still have to do my job too). I got home in time to catch the tail end of bath time with daddy and give little man a kiss goodnight, run through the week's schedule with teen man, make sure I still have three ducks, do the dishes and finally settle into the desk chair to check email and throw my angst at a hasty blog post.

Tomorrow is parent teacher conferences at the High School, the next day is Parent night at the Technical Center, so those evenings will run similarly to this evening. Unless I decide to skip Parent Teacher Conferences. I could do that... He's only in two classes at the High School and they are both variations on Gym...

You see. I've been a working mom 2 days and I already don't do the things I did as a stay at home mom.

Usually, I clean out the duck's crate daily and take the poo-soaked newspaper out to the garden and turn it into mulch. This whole process takes about a half hour. Today I didn't even collect the eggs until I was ready to put the ducks back in for the night and I just tossed clean newspaper on top of the old stuff. Wow, I am going to have to start giving away eggs because I don't have time to bake or make breakfast from scratch anymore!

Bread. Crackers. Cookies. Muffins. You can buy them if you don't have time to bake. Who knows what's in them? Is it even food? They sure cost a lot more. Yes, paying other people to do what  you don't.

I have not seen my garden in daylight since Sunday. I do not expect to do so again till Saturday. If there is anything ripe out there, something else is going to eat it. I hope it's the ducks. I hope the ducks eat my weeds. I hope nobody eats my ducks while they're all unsupervised out there all day every day.

I wish I could afford a housekeeper.

Transitions always suck for me.

But this will be a grand experiment. You see, in my memory, being a working mom was easier than being a stay-at-home mom. My house was as clean as I left it when I got home (of course I didn't have teenagers at home, just kids in school and daycare all day) and I didn't have to think of ways to entertain and mentally stimulate my kids. They got all that stuff at school and daycare and all the time I spent with them (about 3 hours a day) could be just us time. I cooked dinner, we ate dinner, we cleaned up dinner, we got ready for bed. At home I decompressed from work. At work I decompressed from home. I had work friends. My kids had school friends. I didn't have to arrange play groups or get along with their friends moms. I just had to occasionally nod and look appropriately concerned as the school or daycare people told me what terrible thing my kid had been up to that day. Nobody expected me to volunteer for anything or make snacks, because the stay at home moms had that covered and they all knew I wasn't one of them.

But what was I talking about? Oh yes! This is an experiment to explore the question: Which is easier, staying at home or working outside the home? I'll do it for science.

What I'm worried about though is how this will affect my son. For six weeks he will be in daycare from 8am to 6pm every day. And then it'll stop and he'll go back to once a week. How weird is that going to be? I am thinking it might be better to just keep working full time and keep him in daycare/pre-school, but the jobs advertised in my area are $8-10 per day. Since daycare is $40 per day, I'm not sure it's worth it. Something to chew on/research over the next six weeks.