Sunday, March 6, 2011

Still getting my head around the working and parenting gig

I really struggled over the summer holidays with work.  I found it hard that I was missing out on time with the kids. I also found it hard that I was running programs for kids at my library when my own kids were at home.  Now that school is back it's a lot easier - they are busy so I'm not missing out on time with them.  But I found it so hard - I felt genuinely sad.

There may be those of you who think that's a bit mad.  Especially those of you who would love to go to work to get a break from your kids.  Or those of you who have been juggling work and kids since you had babies.

I don't like feeling sad but also I don't think it's a bad thing. It stops me from getting consumed by work.  It gives perspective.  It helps me remember what's important to me in my life.  It stops me from having my sense of well-being tied up with how work is going.

I think working has also confirmed for me that staying at home with the kids full-time for a long time was the right thing for me to do - for myself as much as anyone else.  If I'm struggling now, I would have been a mess when they were all little.  

In saying all that, I am happy to be working and am enjoying the new stimulation that comes from working.  I think it's taken some of the sadness out of moving out of the baby stage which I was feeling a few years ago.  I have new things for the future to think about.

But I'm also realising more and more that parenting remains complicated and demanding. Just because I'm not wiping bottoms, pushing prams and chopping up food all day anymore, parenting doesn't stop.  It's become emotionally demanding - and having time to talk to the kids about all these things is time consuming.  I have to avoid the trap of thinking that because they don't need me physically that they now don't need me.  And it's an easy trap to fall in to when the offer of more work is on the table.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Yes. I understand. I have felt much the same over the past couple of weeks. And it is the talking to the kids bit that stops for me when I am feeling tired from a long day at work.
We try to arrange for our big kids to spend time with their grandparents and cousins over school holidays when we are both at work (although I am guessing that is probably less do-able with the numbers you are dealing with!). Sometimes we have to use vacation care and then I feel sad that we are paying someone else to have fun with them. Having them with family is a bit different, I think. It just feels more "right."

Heather said...

A wise friend recently told me the following: When your children are young, you feel physically drained (lack of sleep etc), when they are a bit older, you feel emotionally drained (dealing with high-spirited preschoolers and Kindy-aged kids) and as they move through primary and into high school you feel increasingly wisdom-drained (guiding them through peer pressure, learning to study, decisions about screen time/ what to watch, juggling and choosing between extra-curricular activities etc etc).

It's describes my experiences to a T - the complications and demands of parenting often feel as though they're increasing on a daily basis - and I need all my resources to cope. You're certainly right that more work is on the table! In more ways than one ... and it's hard to choose between the tables.