Over the past two weeks I have transitioned from 40 hours per week in the office to twenty. I have dipped my toes back into the turbulent waters of the stay at home mama. Straddling two worlds. One day rushing into the city, sitting at a desk in grown up clothes and settling back into being a "professional", the next day wearing worn jeans and flip-flops sharing a sunny morning at the playground with Evan. One day savoring a latte while on a conference call, feeling the chilling thrill of an honest compliment "job well done". The next day surrounded by preschoolers, meeting the eyes of my own child, clearly happy that I am there for circle time. One day coming home from a busy day of phone calls and emails, exhausted and not up for the dinner challenge. The next day drumming my fingers for hours while Evan naps, trapped at home with a pile of laundry and carpet that needs vacuuming.
Clearly both worlds have their ups and downs, and I believe that I have found the winning combination. Working part time allows me to be Rachel for a while, to have a life outside of the house in North Berkeley. Working part time lets me feel that I am still capable of supporting myself, that I am contributing to the household in a monetary way based on my talents. It feels good.
Working part time also allows me to be more present in the day to day activities of the boys life. I am there for the preschool parties, the doctors appointments and the playgroups. To be honest I enjoy being mom even more this way.
Sadly, I am fairly certain that this lovely arrangement will be short lived. My contract is up at the end of next week, and I don't know if it will be extended. Finding work isn't as easy as it once was, back in the day when I could "wow" hiring managers in an interview just by dressing nicely and being articulate. Finding the ideal part-time gig is even more far fetched.
I am frightened by the prospect of being at home full time again. For those of you who have never tried it, do not dismiss the work that full time parents put in. You may see them lounging at the park or pushing a stroller and think lucky. What you don't see is the mind-numbing boredom that can come with another story hour at the library, the edgy frustration that is felt at yet another melt down, and the admirable creativity demonstrated by creating yet another interesting art project. For those of you who do it every day, I raise my glass to you. Perhaps you love it, perhaps you have ambivalent feelings, perhaps your wishing for your own part-time job. Either way you are there every day, rain or shine, sickness or health, happy or sad. You are there and you are doing it. And so will I, if I must. There are worse things in life. Either way, I know that I will likely look back at my life and think.... lucky.