Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Balancing Act

You may have noticed that I have been rather absent around here lately. Last spring I was offered a small contract job working for my "before kids" employer and any free time I had to write was immediately swallowed up by the 6-8 hours of squeezing in phone calls and emails between diapers and school pick up. When summer came the prospect of trying to squeeze those things in with all three kids at home seemed impossible so I gave my notice and prepared for the whirlwind of summer.

Summer. It's hard to believe that next week I will return to the hustle and bustle of getting out the door with everyone dressed and fed by 7:45 am. Everyone around me seems more than ready to embrace the "freedom" of children in school and quiet mornings when they can hear their own thoughts. With Buttercup at home full time that won't be my reality and perhaps that is part of the hesitation I feel about the start of school. I'm not looking forward to rushing around town in time for two different drop offs and pick ups, packing lunches, homework, sports, PTA meetings, parties and strict schedules. I have enjoyed the relatively unscheduled chaos that happens on summer days in our household. My boys, at four and almost six are excellent big brothers; I feel like the eyes in the back of my head have gotten a break as Buttercup has been under the watchful eye of her brothers. They make sure she doesn't get into the choking-hazard Legos or go up the stairs of the bunk beds. They help her wash her hands and face after breakfast and clear her place. They provide endless entertainment with all their shenanigans and I think we will both miss them next week. This been my BEST summer yet, filled with a perfect blend of museums, adventures, parks and biking balanced with staying in our jammies all morning, reading books and entertaining ourselves.

After such a fun filled summer with all the kids, I've found myself wondering what I'm going to do with one kid for the next 10 months. Hopefully a deep cleaning on my house. Maybe a new exercise routine to shed all the summer beer and ice cream pounds I've put on. Perhaps some more gainful employment? I've been thinking about going back to work a lot lately and I have mixed feelings about it. Doing all the cooking, cleaning and child rearing I do now AND working seems like it might be too much and yet the financial freedom of additional income is so appealing. Using my brain for something other than mentally doubling my pancake recipe seems dreamy. But I'm not ready to give up my summers. I really enjoyed the contract job I did last year but I also remember struggling with the juggling. I've mastered the art of summer but I've yet to find the perfect balance of work and family. I suppose that's a balancing act that's going to take a lot more practice.

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