Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Working Mom and Other Adjustments

Happy New Year!? Can one really say that on February 12th? We really enjoyed having Annette and Stewart spend post-Christmas and New Year's with us. It got us out of the house and we were able to make a trip to Spokane and even had a couple dates sprinkled in there with a provided babysitter, which was so nice!

 Right around when the kids got out for Christmas break, Josh forwarded me an email from a woman who works at U of I, who was looking for a part-time employee to serve as a "web content manager". In reading the description, Josh thought it might be a job that I could handle from home, remotely updating their website in a "blogger" type program. It sounded interesting, and the thought of being able to do the work from home with some flexibility sounded appealing.

 I've been concerned for several months for Diddles. Although she's making progress, she is SO behind, compared to her peers. The school speech therapist is doing her best, but her case load is enormous, and after trying to combine three three-yr-olds into one class, it ended in disaster and tears. I've felt strongly that she needs extra help, and kept hoping we'd be able to find a way to financially pay for private speech therapy lessons with Betsy ($100/hr AFTER insurance). We also lost a lot on the sale of our house last fall, and are essentially starting over from scratch to "resave" money to put down on a house. And then there's the dream of the kids having a piano to play. I know Boo especially would love to learn!

All these things are just looming, and we were left scratching our heads on how on earth to pay for them! So, when I got up the courage to pick up the phone and essentially interview for the job, I did so with some hope that it would work out if it was meant to be, and could be the extra income that we were praying for. I haven't worked in eight years, but I tried to spin every experience I have had in the meantime, into something that could benefit their office. She was thrilled to hear that I had had experience in editing, data analysis, event planning, and even blogging had its place in there! I was hired on the spot and plans were made to go meet in her office on New Years' Eve for my marching orders.

 Since then, It's been a whirlwind of WORK! They are a grant-based division of Ag Science, researching approaches to dry farming (wheat, soy beans, lentils) and the effects of climate change. Each year they have to account for how they have spent the grant money, so every January they have an annual report to turn into the stakeholders and board members. For weeks I've been editing, compiling, and organizing sections of that 100+ page report! I hope I never see it again!! This week they all meet together at a conference to share student presentations and research that has been done by students and scientists. The conference lasts for three days in Portland, so I've been making travel arrangements, picking menus, approving A/V equipment, and creating and sending things to the printer for the conference. The job I applied for was offering under 20 hours/week, but it's been more like 30. So, so busy! You've heard of the term "too many cooks in the kitchen"? That definitely applies to this report! A MESS is how I often described it. The other saying that applies to this conference is:

 But, I'm really grateful for the work (money), and my boss is a very nice woman when she isn't totally stressed out! It's hard to operate day after day under that kind of stress. I like things calm and predictable, and this is not that! At the end of the day, it's so nice to cook a familiar recipe or fold a basket of laundry. No surprises there. I TOTALLY know how to do those things! haha. I hope it will be after next week, but that's where I've been this whole month.

 As a result of Mom working (yes, I'm a WORKING mom, eventhough I work from home), things have had to change around here. Meals are really simple, everyone has to pitch in, structure and routine have to be maintained! I've found I've had to personally organize myself more than I've ever had to before. Boo's been great to help me with family nights, and has loved planning and preparing lessons.

Yaks is an expert table-setter and salad-maker. Josh has been a champ to help walk me through tricky computer stuff that I can't figure out like headers/footers in word, section breaks, and the difference between a jpeg and a tiff file!   I have set rules/boundaries for myself that I've tried to follow: 1.) Diddles takes precedence over anything work-related. 2.) 3:00pm I'm done until the kids go to bed. 3.) Don't take the stress of your job out on the family.

 The worst part is the GUILT.  Oh, friends, the guilt!  The guilt that there's only so much you can do in a day, and there's always SOMETHING that's left un-done. My calling is busy and demanding. My advisor had a baby and is moving in the Spring, so I'm on my own with lessons and weekly activities, joint activities, etc. I feel guilty for not spending more time magnifying my calling and doing my visiting teaching. Keeping a house doesn't disappear, and there's always a meal to fix, a load of laundry to fold, ironing, etc. I know YOU know!  I feel guilty when we have hot dogs and mac and cheese for dinner. Surely my family deserves better than that! Then there's family time: Homework, reading, projects, playing, chores, etc. By 7pm I'm ready to CRASH, but often that's exactly the time when kids want to talk or hear a chapter. I feel guilty when Diddles has watched TV for several hours during the day, not uttering a word, meanwhile I am "working" so that I can pay someone to help her TALK? You see what I mean? Ugh, the guilt!

Anyway, enough about that. Here are some other fun things we've been doing this month:

 Diddles "lost" her last binkie, and I've been amazed that even with that small adjustment, how much more she talks. I miss the self-soother, but it's worth it in the long-run for sure! Way to go, Diddles!  I'll do another post on her cute words.

 Boo got a spacer and braces. It's new to Josh and me, since neither of us ever had braces. We turn this little key every-other-day and the spacer makes room for her crowded teeth. The biggest adjustment for Boo is not being able to eat Skittles for her "party night" treat. Chocolate is a nice substitute.

 Yaks is eagerly anticipating his birthday (three long weeks away). We've been window shopping online for a gift.  All of the lego sets he wants are super-expensive, so he's decided he wants Lego books instead "So that way I don't have to worry about ruining them".  He keeps a running total to be sure "it's not too expensive".  Dearest boy.  He decided for himself it was time for a haircut, although his friend is growing his own hair super long, he declared, "I don't really like it long."

Josh's Grandpa 'Bestafar' passed away this past month. Thanks to a generous gift of frequent flier miles from his good friend Josh, he was able to fly home for the weekend and attend the funeral.

So, as you can see, we've all been adjusting.  Adjusting can be uncomfortable and even painful, but it helps us grow, for sure!  


Sarah said...

busy, busy, busy. no doubt.
Hang in there!

Cel Frumos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trish and Matt said...

If anyone can make this work, it's you, Amy! GO and DO. :) So glad everyone is pitching in to make up the difference. Hang in there.

Liz said...

I know that every new job takes a long time for adjustment. Hopefully now that the report is over things will slow down at work. You can do it!