Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting it together…

In one month from today, I will relinquish my title as full time SAHM. I’m going back to my position as a teaching assistant and marker grader in the department where I completed my undergrad and graduate degrees. I will be working part time, and a good deal of my work will be able to be done from home, yet it is still going to require some adjusting.

Back in January, when Eva was 3.5 months old, I took a very very part time position. At that point, I was responsible for leading 2 seminars, which worked out to about 10 hours per week. This year, I will have 5 seminars under my charge and will be the marker grader for 3 other courses. My contract will be for 25-30 hours a week. Some weeks I will have much less work than that, and some weeks, more. The way it works is that my contract is spread out evenly over the academic year, so I am paid the same amount each week, no matter how heavy the load is at that particular time during the semester. Near the beginning, all I will have is prep work and actually leading the seminars. As the semester progresses, the grading will start coming in and things will be b.u.s.y.

I am blessed because our child care arrangements have worked out better than I ever imagined. To begin, Evalyn is going to be staying with my girlfriend, C-Biscuit, who is expecting her own little one in December. This means that the adjustment will take place with someone Eva is already comfortable with, she’ll be at a house she’s familiar with, and my worries will be eased. Once C-Biscuit feels as though she is too, ahem, rotund, to continue caring for my baby (who will be a gigantic toddler by then!!), and/or when I reach a busy point in the semester where I need childcare more often than just when I have to be in seminar, we’ll make the switch to day care. At first I thought it would be a breeze to find childcare for just a few hours a week. But, since we don’t really have any family in the area who is able to help during the day, it actually made it more difficult because keeping a kid for just a few hours a week isn’t really worth it for most daycare providers. Thankfully, I found a daycare that is, literally, two minutes away from our house, which is run by a girl I went to high school with. She is very relaxed so I am able to take Eva as little or as much as possible, depending on the amount of work I need to do each given week. Some weeks, I’ll only need her to go for two half days. Some weeks, I’ll probably need three full days. It’s not often you find a place with that flexibility. What a blessing!

All of this is to say that in the next month, I need to get my act together as we prepare for these changes in our family. I’ve been a bit nervous about how I am going to manage splitting my time between work and home/family – especially since the two will overlap quite a bit. How will I get all my work done without taking away from the time that Evalyn needs me? How will I manage the housework, the work work, the mom work, the wife work, the secretary work and so on? It’s not like any of the responsibilities I have right now will disappear. I’ve had a few moments of slight panic attacks and my dear husband attempts to calm me – reminding me that I tend to thrive under pressure and stress and that when I’m busy, I’m productive. He is certain that I will quickly get into a groove and settle into a new normal. That being said, he also knows that he will have to pick up some of my slack around the house, take on a little more of the childcare, and become more organized in terms of time and communication.

And I know the areas I need to make changes in. I need to become more organized with menu planning and grocery shopping. Some mealtimes will be rushed. Some evenings I won’t be home to cook or eat or clean up, or all of the above. Menus will need to be planned accordingly and groceries will need to be bought efficiently to avoid 68 unnecessary trips throughout the week and weekly take out. Of course, there will be times when it just has to happen, but for the most part, a little planning can avoid this and help me feel way less stressed on a week to week basis.

I need to become more strict with our budget. Once I start bringing in an income, I need to make sure we’re not letting things slip. Am I the only one who feels like it’s easier to stay on track with the budget when you have less money? I mean, when there’s no money, it’s simple – you can’t buy stuff. But when there is “extra” money (ha, extra?) it’s easy to let loose here and there, and before you know it, you’re living to an entirely new standard. That is exactly what we’re trying to avoid as we don’t want to get too comfortable with the extra income.

I’m going to have to become more efficient with housework. I am considering formulating some kind of weekly routine, where I do a little bit each day. I’ve always been a “housecleaning day” type person – where I spend a day doing the cleaning, but that just may not be possible anymore. In order to avoid going through an entire month before I realize I haven’t cleaned my house, I think I’ll need to set up a chore chart. Eva should be able to start scrubbing toilets or something pretty soon, right?

And the biggest area where I will need to become more efficient and organized, obviously, is with my time. Specifically, naptime and after bedtime. At this point, Eva is still taking 2 solid naps per day. That may start to decrease as we progress through the school year, but for now, I count on that. I tend to get a lot of my stuff done when she’s sleeping. It’s just easier. I can unload the dishwasher in 4 minutes while she’s sleeping but it takes me 40 if she’s tugging on my legs. That being said, though, I do give myself quite a bit of downtime during naps and after she goes to bed in the evening. Especially in the evening … usually I just finish cleaning up the kitchen if it hasn’t been done, put together Evan’s lunch (which I slack on all.the.time) and maybe do a little bit of work out in the garden or something… but usually, I spend a good few hours in the evening on my booty.

I don’t want to get to the point where I am not having any down time –  that’s just not healthy – but realistically, I need to accept the fact that naptimes and evenings will have to be productive if I’m going to stay on top of things. Grading, prep work, chores, paperwork for Evan’s business, cooking and so on will need to be done. And done efficiently at that. I have a feeling when September rolls around I will be relying on my trusty list making system more than I ever have before. Organization and efficiency are what makes me tick and I’m counting on those skills to help me out.

13 comments:

SnoWhite said...

yes, organization will help -- but it will be a big change. Nothing God can't and won't provide for you in though!!! Enjoy the remainder of the summer and the transition back to work, friend. And, welcome back to menu planning :)

This Texas Momma said...

You can do it! Mom's are incredible creatures of adapatation....otherwise I think the species would have died out eons ago. ;) You will do fantastic! (and it is easier to manage your money when there isn't any!)

Carrie said...

Aww, yay! C-biscuit will make such a good babysitter for you! And it's so true about the "extra" money disappearing. I love the part about Eva scrubbing toilets soon haha. I'm sure you will manage everything wonderfully :)

Katie @ Loves of Life said...

D & I just had a convo about the housecleaning schedule thing. I am a housecleaning-day person. Although I DREAD IT and it ruins an entire day...I like seeing everything clean AT ONE TIME. And that is the concept I cannot grasp with the other way. So, nothing is ever clean all at the same time?? Blasphemy.

lol :)

You will figure it all out. If anyone can, it's you.

Penny said...

Organization lists always help. I make a list every morning of things that Need To Be Done Today.

Jackie said...

That was big adjustment for me--cleaning separate parts of the house over the week. I was SO a house cleaning day person before Peanut arrived too. But if someone as neurotic as me can do it, I am sure you will do wonderful. Hang in there....sounds like you will have a full plate, but I am sure you will do great.

Erica said...

Oh wow, I didn't know you were doing this! I hope this next month is wonderful, and know that when you do go back I'll be more than willing to hear any venting you need to do. Evalyn was lucky to have so much time with you this past year!

Gina said...

I agree with Katie 100% on the housecleaning thing. When you figure out all those other things, I want a spreadsheet so I can get all organized like you. ;)

Taryn said...

I hope you enjoy your next month to the fullest. I am so glad that you have a good day care situation- that must be a huge weight off your shoulders. I am totally a one day cleaner- so I will be interested in what you come up with for cleaning. Keep us posted!

You can do it dear. You can and you will.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I think you'll find that once you get into a new routine, all of this will figure itself out. I take a room a day to clean which gets cleaned when the kiddo goes to bed at night or early in the am when she's still sleeping. Menu planning is done on Sunday followed by shopping. I also agree with the less money better budget and I'm still trying to figure that one out with my income now.

Part time is going awesome for me. I hope, hope, hope it does the same for you. Email me if you want to chat :) I'm sure you're feeling a lot right now. Thinking of y'all as you figure all this out.

Kar said...

You will Rock- no worries :)

Katie said...

Change is always an adjustment but I know you will do great. You'll have a new routine down in no time :)

Brittany Ann said...

Oh, my sweet friend, I sooo relate to this, as you know.

I realized after this successful work/w my baby week that other things had to slide. And that's so hard to grasp. I've basically written off MWF, only working, washing dipes, and taking care of Ella because that's when I work the most. It sucks and makes T/R crazy, but it's what I'm gonna have to do to survive.

I was JUST realizing that I will, indeed, not be able to have my "housecleaning day." So funny. But it's too much w/her.

You'll get it. You're so good at adapting and adjusting. I know you can do it!