The most difficult job of all that a mother has to do is balance her roles. I often say in a funny accent "Everyone wants a piece'a me!" And often times it is true.
I work outside the home, four days a week. I have every Monday off. I really love my stay at home day. I put my apron on and bake and organise and clean and get ahead with things and it gives me a wonderful sense of peace.
I used to be a school teacher.
After my first son was born I went back two days a week in a job share and it nearly killed me. I hated having to leave him, even though I had a really good 'Day Care Mum'.
I agonised over whether to leave or not. In 2000 I started studying again externally and fell pregnant with my second son. That was all the persuading I needed. I resigned from my teaching position and cranked up my study. I studied full time waiting for the baby to come.
My son was born in May 2001 and I juggled two little ones and the study. It was then that I learnt the value of redeeming my time. I gave up television ( except Seachange on Sunday nights on the ABC) and started to get up really early, sometimes as early as 4am, to do my study without interuption.
To cut a long story short, I had about five years at home with the children. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to work three days a week in the area that I had done my second degree in. I started the three days and eventually it turned into four days.
The boys are in school now, but not a day goes by when I don't consider coming home again. It's just the little things. Number Two son sat doing his homework this week and I thought I need to be there with him when he does it. Hubby is home with the boys when they do their homework and he is very good with them, but it's not the same. He is a great cook as well and has a meal ready when I get home. but it's not the same. The difference is , that when I get home from a busy day I have very little left to 'give'. I would be happy just to lock myself in a room for an hour until I 'come down'.
So... it's the great balancing act. I enjoy my work. I like the stimulation. However, the stay at home mum is the most important job in the world in my books! It's not about the money. We have survived before on very little money. Sometimes we do better on a tighter budget because I manage it so much better - last time I budgetted really strictly when my first son was born, we ended up being able to carpet the house with the surplus !
So, if I don't need the money and I agonise over the stay at home role, I bet you are asking why do I stay ?
The answer is complicated. I really like my work and I am grateful for the opportunity to be getting the experience. I don't want to walk away and live with the regret of what I could have acheived. I also think that I can invest as much money as I can for the future of my boys. Goodness knows what it will cost to put them through university if that's what they choose.
One good thing at the moment is that I can work flexible hours. My aim this year is to start early and finish early, hoping to be home at 4.30pm. That way I can still have a little down time before I slip into my apron and enjoy my children!
Are you caught in the great balancing act ? How do you juggle work and family ? Does your financial situation pin you to a job you hate ? Email me or leave a comment. I would appreciate your feedback.