Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy New Year

I've now been unemployed three months and I'm settling into the domestic engineer role. The house isn't pristine as I'd imagined it would be, and I haven't accomplished as much as I thought I might. But I have been able to exercise frequently, be there for the kids more and sign them up for sports. Normally, most activities for kids don't fit into the working parent's schedule, which sucks.

When I ask the kids if they want me to go back to work, they resoundingly say NO. They don't like after-school care. Personally, I think it has nothing to do with having me home with them; they just want to have more time gaming on their tablet. But for me, it IS nice to have more time with them, guiding them, working together on household chores, getting homework done earlier, getting into a rhythm, etc.

My l'il Chicken Hawk is five years old and in junior kindergarten, so it's special time we have when I pick him up from school at 11:30, have lunch together and he chatters away to me. I know these are precious moments that won't last and I want to hold on to them. Eventually I'll be be at full time work again and hurrying the kids from one thing to the next until they're older and have no interest in me being around.

The Christmas break was a long, drawn out, intense period of family time that was taxing though. Too much togetherness with sibling rivalry and general chaos, coupled with unwanted outside critiquing from the inlaws/grandparents. Mainly my step mother in law's expectations for more order, etiquette and peace from a family of five. Sorry, but that's unrealistic. I started to become so extremely irritated by her attempts to control all situations with her minimizing comments, food control issues, simplifying complex parent/child/sibling/family dynamics with her 'wisdom'. I don't like to be confrontational, so I stuff my anger and frustration, but it finds a way of seeping out. I welcome her to take our kids for a week and see how 'easy' it really is.

To be fair, she wrote a letter apologizing for her shortsightedness and thanking us for helping her to see things a different way. I will try to give her the benefit of the doubt and not let her get under my skin. The holidays can be rough for me emotionally and I don't like being trapped at someone's house (with limited WiFi/connectivity) and not having my typical routine at home.

It was a relief to fly away on New Years Eve day to go help my mom out for six days - alone. One post-surgery semi-elderly mom is so much easier to care for than three kids and a lecturing husband. She was in her recliner chair most of the time with the Hallmark Channel on at full volume from morning to night. I actually started to enjoy watching the Golden Girls and the cheesy romantic movies!

Now it's back to the grind with school, sports, clutter, bickering and attempting to find a job. I DO want to work, don't get me wrong. But I really want/need a job with flexibility and a manageable work load. Benefits and a decent salary would be nice too. We can't live off Daddy-O's salary alone and he often laments about it. I do have financial goals like paying off debt, saving for kids' college and retirement and buying a new car, so securing a job is necessary.

I have secured two freelance opportunities and some pro bono writing work, so at least I have things to keep my mind active and the networking going. I wish I could do that for work, but it's not the same income and predictability as a salary, unfortunately. I guess I haven't found the 'secret sauce' to it. I keep brainstorming though...

If you work from home, or work part time to accommodate your family life, please leave a comment below to let me know how you do it. Hearing how others make it work would be helpful to me.

Have a great week!