Daily Prompt: If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?
Well this is a prompt I can really relate to. In fact it is an ongoing discussion between my husband and I right now.
To set the scene, I work in a high school. I manage the Withdrawal Room which is basically time out for the kids sent out of class for a single period, or kids further down the discipline chain who need to be here for a full day. I’m not a teacher, I’m a supervisor. I definitely get to meet some of the more colourful personalities in the school. And I love it.
I work Monday to Friday, 9.00am-1.30pm and I have school holidays off. This is great to balance the needs of my family – they need taxiing around to their various after school activities and as we live across town from their school that’s also a 45 minute round trip. This means I get about 30 minutes between finishing my paid job and taking up my ‘Mum’ job (which generally keeps me active until about 8.00pm). On weekends we have sport, church, youth groups etc. so sometimes it feels like the weekends are busier than the week days in terms of running around.
So how is this relevant to the daily prompt?
Well, my job is on a contract that ends at the end of the school year (December). I’ve been asked to come back and take it on again next year. Part of me wants to, I enjoy the kids I work with (seriously) and the money makes our bank balance a little more elastic.
But I’m exhausted. I have so little energy. There is never any time to take for myself. My husband works night shift every other week so he disappears while I’m out picking up the kids from school – that week we don’t see him aside from breakfast. The house is ‘kinda’ clean and tidy and while I’ve learnt to lower my standards, it is only getting the bare minimum attention. I’m constantly battling that washing pile, there is plenty more I could do around the house, and we’re eating takeaways on a weekly basis which I don’t love. Basically I’m not able to give anything 100%. Yesterday I had to decline helping one of my chosen charities with their annual appeal as I would be at work when they needed me.This makes me sad as I like to help out where I can.
So my husband and I have agreed that we’ll take the hit financially to better balance our lifestyles. We’ve prayed on this. I’ve asked my boss if they’ll consider me job sharing and cutting down to three days a week. I’m pretty sure that’s not a realistic option for the school but it’s worth asking the question right?! If the answer is no, I won’t renew my contract. We’ll step out in faith and believe that something else will come along. We’ll make the financial sacrifices to allow a better quality of life for everyone (when the mama bear is happier, the rest of the bear family are much more settled!). This will allow me to have more energy for the kids, run the house how I like it, to have time to myself to relax and exercise (essential to good state of body and mind), and my husband and I to spend time together before he starts night shifts allowing us to be more than just ships passing in the night.
We both recognise that there are plenty of families who balance two full-time jobs with raising a family. Some out of financial need some out of financial want. I am feeling so blessed right now that Richard and I are on the same page and he supports me so fully even though it does mean sacrifices for us all.
If money honestly was not an issue, I would do my Masters/PHD part-time which would still allow me to balance my family needs with my own needs. I love to study, I’m such a geek! Who knows, perhaps I’ll take on the study option at some point anyway.