Sunday, August 30, 2009
Oh, that's right -- I have a "real" job, too!
Tomorrow, I officially go back to my other job. (As opposed to my ongoing job, known as "Mommy, Wife, Bill-Payer, Housekeeper, Educator, Dog-Poop-Picker-Upper, Maker-of-all-Important-Appointments, and Family Cook", among other titles.) This job is one that pays me in money, rather than in hugs and kisses (although I occasionally get those, too). This job is one that allows me to step outside of my own life and problems for a while, and to focus on helping others deal with their personal challenges. And, this job is one that makes me feel competent, in control, appreciated, and fulfills me in a completely different way than "Mommy". For about 10 months out of every year, my second job is working half-time as a Certified School Counselor in a middle school. I love my job. I really, really do. Like any job, it has politics, paperwork, long meetings, and other frustrating aspects. But, I love helping these kids, whose minds and bodies are in a constant state of chaos and confusion, overcome the obstacles that are in their way. I love helping frustrated, scared, stressed-out parents navigate these tricky years and adjust to their childrens' rocky entrance into adolescence. I love working with caring, motivated, dedicated teachers to figure out how to work with kids who need extra support and ideas and unique ways of being reached. And, I believe that, for me, being a working Mom has made me a better Mom and a more fulfilled, happy person, overall. (Wow, I'm sounding kind've New-Agey here, aren't I?) With that said, I face this yearly transition from summer vacation back to work with mixed feelings (primarily GUILT, in spite of the fact that this isn't simply a choice -- it's a financial necessity). I look at the beautiful faces of my sons, and I know that there will be fewer hours in each day spent playing with them, reading with them, having tickle fights with them, teaching them, learning from them, ooh-ing and aah-ing over gross things with them, and laughing with them. On the other hand, there will also be fewer time-outs, fewer instances of losing my mind because they will not stop poking each other every time I turn my back, fewer times when I face a long, rainy day with them and am completely out of ideas as to how to keep us all sane for the next 12 hours... And, I know that my little guys (Foster in the preschool he loves, and Spencer starting - gulp - kindergarten) will be learning new things, having new adventures, making new friendships, developing crucial social skills, and becoming more independent. These are all things any parent wants for their kids, right? SIGH. Doesn't make it any easier to head back to work on that first day. But, I will say this... When I am working, the hours I spend with my boys are more full of adventures, more full of play, and more flat-out fun. Yes, the quality of my housekeeping declines dramatically during the school year. I mean, who wants to spend the short amount of time you have with your kids cleaning, when you could be kicking a ball around in the backyard, or going for a walk, or looking at bugs under a microscope, or playing Pirates? Yes, during the school year we have more dinnertime peanut butter and jelly sandwich picnics and fewer family meals that involve actual cooking. And, yes, I appreciate every smooch, every hug, every tickle fight, every wonderful, creative thought expressed, every story, and every "I love you more than you love me, Mommy," that much more. So, I guess I'm looking forward to work starting up again, afterall. (Except for the 4 boxes full of work stuff I optimistically brought home to work on this summer and haven't opened yet!) Ah, well... For now, my boys and I are off to the playground, to spend our last day of summer playing, laughing, and loving every moment together. Cheers!
Posted by Beth