Last week I had a taste of what it would mean to have my working life back again.
I went back to work when Eli was 5 months old for 3 hours a morning, 5 days a week. It's been a struggle but the job was one that had a lot of potential and I didn't want to let the opportunity pass me by. Now 18 months on a change in circumstances has meant we've had to move my hours around and for the first time in almost 2 years I'm working one day a week 9am-5pm.
It was a major shock to the system! By about 3pm I was completely worn out and felt like my brain was reaching overload point. But, I also really really enjoyed it. I don't know whether I should feel bad about saying that it was nice coming home and not having to pick the kids up as my Other Half was back and able to do that. Not having to fight to make dinner during whinge hour because the kids had already eaten so I just had to sort two of us out, and we could eat whatever we wanted! Playing with the kids for an hour or so, bathing them and then putting them to bed and sitting down to relax was way way better than spending an afternoon trying to entice two worn out children to engage in craft activities or walks in the wood.
It made me want to do it a bit more often, is that a bad thing?
Don't get me wrong, I couldn't do it 5 days a week as I think I would miss my time with the kids but it certainly has made me consider what would be the best work-life balance for me going forward. I have Wednesdays off with the kids now so we have a full day to do whatever we like, instead of a couple of hours in the afternoon and there is the possibility of me taking another day off and working another full day in the week and to be honest I'm a bit torn.
I've always been on the fence over working and not working. I only just earn enough to make it a viable way of life but I don't think I could be a full-time stay at home mum. I admire so much the mums who are as I've never been very good at it. If I've got the time to make a plan of activities then it usually goes a lot smoother but I become easily disheartened if the kids don't want to do the things I've set out. They often spend a great deal of time moaning for me to put the TV on when we're at home and I'll hold my hands up and say some days it doesn't take a lot to break my resolve and for me to get the Peppa Pig DVD's out.
It's also hard work (in my opinion) trying to balance having my head in work mode for a couple of hours, coming home and engaging for a couple of hours with two energetic toddlers whilst trying to plan food menus, make sure the washing is done and the house remains (semi) clean and tidy. Last Wednesday was my most productive day yet as I felt I had all the time in the world to achieve what I needed to.
BUT! It was only my first week. I think I'm afraid to jump feet first into changing another day as it might just be the rose tinted view of something new. Then there's the added dilemma of what happens come September when Meg starts school. If I'm working from 9am-5pm how am I going to be able to pick her up and drop her off? I don't fancy paying a childminder to do that job for me as it's one I always envisaged doing myself.
Finding a work-life balance is tougher than I thought!