IN March I posted about taking my blog in a new direction, focusing on learning skills that would help build a resilient family. I was looking forward to a time when my teenage children would be testing themselves against peer pressure and I wanted them to be able to chart their own course confidently, without following the crowd or caving to the demands of their peers. Then in April …
…I was offered a fantastic opportunity to take my career in a new direction by joining a PR agency.
Returning to full-time work has been a seamless transition for me and I’ve enjoyed the return to a stimulating environment. I’m not sure if it has been equally as enjoyable for my husband, whose work-from-home business has taken a bit of a hit now that he’s responsible for drop-off and pick-up of the children. But if it’s been difficult, or a trial, he’s kept this largely to himself.
Going back to work has really reduced the amount of time I have free to focus on the children. Suddenly, I’ve been forced to step back and delegate some of the things I used to focus closely on.
For example, instead of checking the children’s school bags at 3pm for notes and newsletters, I’m now relying on the kids to tell me if they’ve brought notes home. If they forget to give me a note, they face the consequences at school. I’m now relying on the kids to take care of their own homework, rather than have me there to remind them, push them, and prod them into doing it on a daily basis. And if they don’t do it, they face the consequences at school. I’m relying on the school to administer the consequences, which was something I previously considered to be firmly in my domain.
And previously, I would be checking in with teachers regularly, having a quick chat after class every now and then to touch base with them about how my child was faring in their class. That’s gone now, as I rely on one note, the end-of-term report card, to give me a clear idea of how my child is going and whether they need to work harder. I find this lack of regular contact difficult. I feel that I’m in the dark and have no idea about my kids’ lives at school. That’s challenging.
But, for the moment, this is how it must be while I settle into my new working life. I’m lucky that my husband is able to step into the breach and our family life hasn’t changed drastically. We’ve been able to avoid after-school care or a latch-key kids situation. For the moment.
My children are in Year 4, Year 3 and Year 1. They’re independent and resilient and they haven’t skipped a beat with the change in our family situation. To be sure, the change has been subtle, but sometimes kids can surprise you and they could have found it all very upsetting. They didn’t. They’re doing great.
Back to work not all plain sailing
There have been bittersweet moments, for sure. Shortly after starting back at work, the school’s day-long musical fundraiser was held and it’s traditionally been a day for me to catch up with girlfriends as we burst with pride at our kids’ achievements. I missed out on that this year.
Also, the regular Friday afternoon in the park – a four-year tradition where girlfriends and I would take the kids to the park on Friday afternoon, let them run wild and we would enjoy some relaxing beverages while cooking sausages on the barbecue for the kids’ dinner. That’s ended too, and I’m really sad about that.
But as our kids get older, those other mums are planning their own return to the workforce. So those events were going to come to a natural end anyway.
For the moment, we’re all doing fine and that’s all we can hope for, in my view.