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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Work - Away From My Kids

Blog land has been a little quiet lately.  
I've been reading that people are finding themselves a little busy with life and therefore blogging is taking a back seat.  
Understandable.  I'm not the most regular blogger myself despite the best of intentions.

This past week has blessed us with absolutely gorgeous weather.  We've been wearing shorts and spending every waking minute outside enjoying the feel of a warm sun.  I've been watching Sierra marvel at the trees "waking up", the new green grass poking through the old dead brown stuff, and listening to the birds' noisy return from down south.
Spring has sprung!


In my dreams maybe.
I'm pretty sure our area of the world has gotten stuck in February.  We experienced a blizzard this past weekend with well over 6 inches of snow and it was -12 degrees Celsius the other night.


It is April!!!!

Okay.  I'm done ranting. I've made my point.  The weather sucks.

About my job.
I mean the one I get paid money to perform.
The one I've been back at for four months since maternity leave.
I sell glasses as my job.  I help victims patients select the perfect set of frames.  I measure up the lenses for the lab to make.  I also fit and adjust and repair glasses.  Sometimes I get to figure out why someone can't see out of their new glasses when they should be able to.
I am called an optician.  Or, more formally, an 'ophthalmic dispenser'.

I quite enjoy going to work. 
I work for an optometrists' office owned by three - soon-to-be-two (but that's a story in itself) - doctors.  They are great employers.  The rest of the staff are also all very pleasant to work with.  Most of the patients are fairly agreeable and nice which also ensures that my day is good.  Of course there are always the quacks that cause one's blood to boil over in anger, or one to have fits of frustration over their ridiculousness but they are the people that make things "interesting".
Who am I kidding?
They are the ones that make us wonder why we showed up at work those days!

Most of the time being at work is a bit of a break from my life.  I don't ever have 150 demands coming at me all at once.  I do not have to deal with squabbles or tears. I get a half-an hour for lunch entirely to myself! (on the one day I work a full shift)  I'm not constantly cleaning up only to have it immediately messed again behind me.  It feels good to earn a paycheck.  I've been doing this type of work for over ten years so I'm pretty comfortable with it.  Being an optician has just enough variety amid the consistency to keep it interesting.
For me anyway.

Unfortunately there are stresses related to working outside the home, and they all have to do with external factors.  Getting my kids out the door on time and fed and dressed is nearly always a panic and yet somehow I always manage to accomplish it.  On time even.
Then there is coming home:
Two cranky, tired kids who have missed their mommy.  A somewhat frazzled husband who has also worked all day, picked up the kids and attempting to meet the 150 I-need-it-now demands.  A hungry me.
Get supper made. Eat.  Clean up.  Kids in bed.
And I only do this one day a week.  Mondays.
I also work a four hour shift on Thursday evenings which is still a gong show but not quite as tiring for me, and Saturdays which are calmer because I'm the only one needing to get things done and go somewhere in a timely manner.

As nice of a change of pace going to a job outside the home is, it would be simpler if I could just stay at home.  Sadly, our budget does not permit that.  Economy and circumstance have meant that Trevor does not have the job he went to university for which in turn means no salary that we can live solely live on.  The plan was for me not to have to work after Sierra was born.
When we built our house we even set the budget based on a mortgage we could afford on a single (expected teacher's salary) income.  We had it all figured out.
I've spent my share of time and more being bitter about that and I'm over it for the most part.  Being at work isn't so bad, it's the aspects surrounding it.

Child care has been my hugest stress by far.  We've chosen the shifts I work to minimize the amount of childcare needed.  It's amazing how when one's kids are concerned how everything just erupts.  When the care of my children is an issue than everything is an issue the I-wasn't-supposed-to-be-working and poor-mes start surfacing.
My friend with two kids of her own started out by taking my kids on Mondays but in March made the difficult decision to quit.  I don't blame her or begrudge her one bit, four kids is a lot of work. A fantastic temporary replacement was quickly discovered but she is having a baby in summer.  So I've been searching and the search has given me a not in my stomach and sour taste in my mouth.  I want someone/someplace that is reliable and good for my kids. How does one determine who's worthy of caring for your kids or not?  What do you look for? Ask?  What is a reasonable fee?
Day care facilities do not take part-time kids for part time fees and it is also a challenge to find registered day-homes taking part-time.  Usually if people decide that caring for others' kids is their occupation than they prefer the consistency of full-time. Private day-homes are the next option and those can be really good or really sketchy.  I got the sketchy feeling about one yesterday.

Go with your gut.
That's the advice I've been given from several sources.
My gut doesn't speak English very well so it can be hard to understand.  The brain and heart like to interfere too.

There are more options out there than  I initially thought.  It's just a process and a rather annoying one at that.  I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and so to be discerning is a challenge and I've been praying for wisdom and guidance for the right place to come along and for me to make the right decision.
There's a promising option that I'm interviewing next week.

Overall I've been very fortunate with how things have worked out.
I feel blessed that I can stay home as much as I do, that the job I go to is enjoyable, and that my children and husband seem good with our current schedule.


Cam and Wendy Earl said...

I actually LOL at this post. Victims.. HAHAHAHA Im still laughing! Anyways. I believe you wrote this post for me. I work casually as well, as our budget cannot permit it. Its a break but it also stressful at times. I too am in need of a baby sitter. Man if only we lived near each other. We could do a one day each deal thing!! Good luck Carla. I know how you feel!!!

Karen said...

I had a friend back home who did live-in nanny work for years and then later switched to live-out positions and just went to people's homes to care for their children. They are usually considerably cheaper and since you don't need a live-in, you could probably get a great sitter at a very affordable price. Can you put an ad up at your church or community center to see what kind of response you get? Just a thought that might help you find someone.
Oh and I just couldn't resist the urge to rub it in a little, but it's a balmy 90F here now, no snow in sight :-) You're welcome to come down anytime to warm up if ya like LOL