Is this simple?

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.

Mama xo

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3 thoughts on “Is this simple?

  1. Nothing seems simple when we have children! I had a similar situation when my youngest was 4. I was working for a friend 3 days a week (the time my kid was at pre-k) and when I was asked to take the job full-time it was just before the end of the school year and I would have had to pay extra for daycare on the 3 days he had pre-k and then have to find a baby-sitter for the two other days. I ended up not doing it (and sometimes wish I had done it – it was only for 2 months) because deep-down, summer was coming and I figured it would be my last one off with my boys. It was a good decision at the time and it really simplified MY life, though I ended up with no job at all. I did have the summer with my boys and in October, I got called by another friend for a job so all worked out in the end.

  2. Its a tough one I agree, my J as you know had a full time working mum from when she was 18 months, not through choice just circumstance. It is important to have a roof over your head, food on the table and for your child to be able to participate in all school & social life has to offer for them to develop as human beings. The time they spend with others gives them time to learn independence and to share. This is great for when another child comes along. It didn’t happen in my case but when I look at my 21 year old I am proud of the way she can adapt to most situations. Separation anxiety for any child is at is peak in 2-3 year olds. But it is from what I understand about development for resilience in the future that they need to understand and learn to understand Mum and Dad are not always there, but when they are give their all. I saved my time for leave at work for the teenage years. No after school care, holiday programs once they start year 7 and that’s when they really need it. At the end of the day as parents we do what we have to do and as a Mum who has not had life progress as I planned, in hindsight we need to build resilient humans because life is tough and the more positive you can approach change the better. Just my thoughts and I truly do not engage in the whole working mum vs at home mu m debate, if I had the security and choice of not working, I would be the at home mum all the way. That was my plan originally working part time, mum full time.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Gussy. I am pretty sure that you did EVERYTHING right because you have raised an exceptional child. (And by child..I mean young adult…who will always be your child hehe)

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