Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to Full Time

When Ellie was 3-months-old, I went back to work. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. For the 3 months prior, Mark and I talked a lot about how we could work out a better schedule for us, instead of sending my daughter to full-time day care. I just couldn't do it. We finally compromised on a part-time schedule.

I was thrilled that my daughter was interacting with new people, learning social survival skills, and making new friends her age. She's still an only child, after all. It was nicely balanced with our time together at home in the afternoon.

Now she's two-and-a-half, money is tight, especially with the cost of my Crohn's medication, and our deferred school loans are looming. It's time to make some changes.

Ellie is in a fantastic classroom at day care, now the preschool room, with teachers I love, and friends she's grown up with. But I still can't justify being away from her 9am-5pm every day, rushing her home for dinner, bath, teeth-brushing, and bed, with no time for afternoon adventures, malt-shop trips, and art projects.

The most I'm willing to compromise is 2 extra hours at day care. So, yesterday I spoke to my supervisor about coming back to work with one stipulation that I'm standing firm on -- I want my hours to be 7am-3pm. She was all for it (just need to work out some scheduling details), and the ball is now rolling, as I rush to catch up to it, adjusting to the idea of not being home when my daughter wakes up in the morning, making lunches the night before, and picking her up at afternoon snack time. I'll start September 2nd.

Part of me is excited -- more me time, more time to focus on my career, more money -- we're planning a Florida vacation in November with Mark's friends (aka practically-free-room-and-board vacation!) and would love to spend a day at Disney with Ellie. We might actually be able to afford to do that and go on more family vacations as she gets older.

It'd also mean free health insurance for me and little cost to add Ellie on mine, versus paying out of pocket. It'd mean remaining loyal to the company that has always let me put my family first, and job security at a place I enjoy working with people who I consider friends, family even.

On Monday, I told Ellie about our plan. I asked her what she thought about spending an extra two hours at day care, staying for nap time and afternoon snack. I also explained to her the benefits. I know she's only two, but I told her that her happiness was more important to me than money, but that it would mean that we could do more things as a family and would still have time together in the afternoons.

"Would that be okay with you?" I asked, as I drove us home.
"Um, no," she said, playfully.
"Really? Okay, well let's continue to talk about it and think it through then."
"Yes, mom. It's fine," she said, rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, it's fine," she said, then went on to talk about butterflies in the field.

I told her that we could try it out, that if it wasn't working, we would come up with a new plan to work around my full-time schedule. She was totally unfazed... for now.

I've felt positive about it every day until I got to see her wake up this morning, got to see her open her eyes and look up at me all confused, then saw that beautiful, playful, silly smile spread across her face when she saw me looking down at her. There's so much I'm already missing, so much more I'll be missing, but she continues to reassure me that she's fine, that she'll be okay. So, I'm going to bravely try.


Shauna said...

Oh girrrl, I hear you! I work full-time as you know, and it's really hard at first but gets easier once you get into a routine. I live 15 minutes from work and the daycare is in the same loop, which helps. Also, my kids wake up wicked stupid early, so we get morning time, then dinner, bath, books and bed. It's hard but I try to just SHOW UP emotionally for every minute of it. Oh, and we have amazing weekends--lots of activities and snuggle time. Good luck with this hard change!

Gretchin G said...

I'm sooo glad to hear this!! Thanks for the constant support, I appreciate it more than you know!!