This is a question I ask myself a lot lately. Is this simple? Really? Sometimes I get a little stuck on the answer.
Recently I was asked to work an extra day a fortnight at school. My initial reaction was a very Little Fearsian ‘nononono’, but it’s never that simple, right? Could we do with a little extra pay coming in? Yes. Would the extra child care costs make it worth while? Just, yes. The thing that was troubling me the most was how Little Fearse may react. On my three day working weeks she is much clingier. For the rest of the week I’m not allowed out of her sight – not to pee, not to shower, not to hang out the washing. On my two day working weeks this doesn’t happen.
I knew that working that extra day would mean a lot to my team at school and also to my students. As a teacher whether you go to work or not is never as cut and dry as doing what suits you as an employee, the less impact your own decisions have on the students the better. It takes time for children to build trust and relationships – for some kids half a year. Being there, standing in front of your students in the morning, is sometimes all they need to reassure them that today is okay, they can learn today. Of course there are also plenty of kids who couldn’t give a hoot if you showed up or not…and later in schooling those that would prefer you didn’t.
Big Poppa and I discussed all the pros and cons. We discussed options with our parents. Eventually a plan emerged that we could be okay with. Little Fearse would spend the same amount of time in day care, but would have an extra day with my parents. This was still not simple. It was more complicated than I really preferred, but as Big Poppa sagely pointed out, it didn’t mean one less day with me, it meant one more day with her grandparents. That was something to be celebrated, not something to make me sad.
Armed with this knowledge we spoke to Little Fearse’s day carer and asked to exchange one of her days in care for a Wednesday to accommodate my parents volunteering commitments. She had filled her last Wednesday place a day earlier! Was this simple? Yep! We were not going to outsource Little Fearse’s care to a third person, so there was no way I could (with good conscience) take on an extra day.
The point I’m making here, is that while not everything will be simple, it’s important to us to view decisions with the lens of simplicity. It won’t always work out for us, but ensuring that we keep simplicity at the forefront will help us to maintain this ideal as much as is possible in a world that is often very complex.