Thursday, March 31, 2011

Puttering along..

I thought it was time for an update, although I don't have much of anything interesting to share. It seems pointless to continually post that school and work are going fine and that I'm very busy with them and my family. Basically, that's what it all boils down to.

My first semester of school will end in about 2 and a half weeks. That's extremely exciting! After that I'll get a couple weeks off from school before the second semester starts in the beginning of May. It's hard to believe that soon I'll have officially completed four college classes. I did get my schedule for next semester. I'm taking English, Sociology, Medical Terminology, and a transcriptioning class. I'm a bit anxious as I'm slightly worried they might be difficult classes. But I think at least the medical terminology class will be interesting and fun. We'll see.

I don't really have a whole lot to say about work. They're keeping me busy. I'm getting around 25 hours a week, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it sure feels like a lot. I suppose that's because I haven't really worked much in the past eight years, and getting back into it has its ups and downs. I do like working, I like the people I work with, and for the most part I enjoy the job itself. The hard part is gearing up to get ready for work. It's not so easy with five kids. I don't want to pay for child care costs, so I've been having my father-in-law watch the kids for me. The problem is he's getting up there in age and his health isn't so great. He's not capable of doing a lot of things. Thankfully my oldest child is nearly 14 (but not mature enough to watch his siblings alone) so grandpa has some help. But the kids give him a hard time sometimes and of course I have to be sure everything is ready before I can leave for work. This usually means I have to make dinner before I leave so it's ready for the kids.
My most recent problem has been that my job is now scheduling me for some day shifts. They appreciate the work I do and really want me on their busy lunch shifts. I appreciate the vote of confidence, but having a day time sitter is a struggle sometimes. I am not comfortable leaving my father-in-law alone with a 3 and 4 year old all day without the older children around to help get snacks, drinks, and clean up minor messes. As I said, grandpa is a bit older and I don't want to put too much stress on him. I do have a friend who is willing to watch my kids for these day shifts, but she's not always available. She's got her own life and her own kids and has another on the way. She hasn't charged me for the few times she has watched my kids in the past, which I do appreciate. However.. this coming week I'm scheduled for two day shifts and they happen to be on days that this friend is not available. They're also 8 hour shifts so I can't expect my father-in-law to babysit on these days.. that's a very long day for him to be alone with my kids! I just don't have enough back up plans for circumstances like this, and it gets a little stressful.

Thus far I've been handling these stressful moments well enough. I continue to look for back up babysitters for situations like this, and thankfully have found one for this coming week's shifts. However the stress of trying to find adequate child care which is affordable takes its toll. Now I understand what all those working moms have been going through! It's not easy at all. I don't want to limit my availability or cut back on my hours because I need and want the money.. but I wonder if I'll be able to continue going through this stress every week of ensuring I have child care and ensuring the kids are taken care of before I get ready to leave for work. Then there's the added stress of coming home to discover they didn't behave for whoever was watching them, or they made a huge mess, or some other ridiculous thing. It's enough to make a mom nuts!

Then of course I'm already starting to feel guilty about this upcoming summer. I know our summer fun is going to be limited with my school and work schedules. I know I can take some of my school work with me to playgrounds or the pool or wherever we feel like going.. but my classes are online and I usually need an internet connection to get my work done, and there is no wi-fi at the playground or the pool. Then on nights or days when I'm scheduled to work the kids are basically stuck indoors because of our living situation. We have no backyard and we're too close to a busy road. I don't let them play outside here.. I take them elsewhere to get their fresh air and exercise. Grandpa can't take them places for reasons I've already mentioned. My back up babysitters can't take them places either and none of my friends live in areas that are any better than my own. The whole point of what I'm doing is to give us a better life.. but I'm feeling really guilty about the sacrifices being made by everyone in the meantime.

So I certainly give credit to moms who've been doing this all along. I can't say forsure who has it harder.. working moms or moms who stay at home. Both deserve a whole lot of credit for what they do!
Oh, and dads do too!

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