Thursday, 15 January 2009

Part Time Everything

On a return stroll from dropping our children at nursery, I was involved in the usual chit-chat with a couple of moms that walk my way.

To clarify, they do not walk like men; more so, share a similar route home to myself.

The conversation often hinges around play-dates with our respective kids, both appraisal of past experiences, and planning of the new.

This particular three-way was no different, or at least, it started in the same manner.

One of the ladies was the mother of the boy we took impromptu care of on Max’s first day back at nursery in 2009.

They have been passing colds through their four person household, for the last couple of months.

The parents passing ailments onto their offspring, and them returning the favour.

A quite disgusting, but sadly, sometimes, inevitable cycle.

Because of this, I think, she was feeling a little low, and vulnerable, but still, what she shared with us was very interesting.

Before becoming a mother, this lady was a full-time teacher, and a proud one, as far as I can tell.

A teacher that actually gives a monkies about what she does, like all the good ones.

After the respective maternity leaves of both her children, she has returned to the same profession, and school, but in a part-time capacity, to map better with their adjusted family life.

This would seem an ideal balance to me, not being all consumed by her children, but still being available to them for a good amount of time.

Balance is the word most relevant to her opinion of the situation.

In summary, she said, while she appreciate she was a part-time everything, mother, wife, worker and self, it was in a negative way.

Not giving enough time to all those different facets of her life.

Part-timer used as a derogatory term.

There is a lot of reading here, that may help her.

A lot of what she spouting, was unsupported nonsense, and simply not true. But the general theme of her angst resonated with me.

And I have yet to balance-the-books, so to type.

This year, or more specifically the end of it, is my target time for having a different balance to our life.

Max will start full-time school, which will mean I will physically be required for less man hours, and will need to find pursuits that occupy both my time and my mind.

Yet, I am mindful that will not be easy.

We are not alone, I know, the wonderful Ms Single Mama, felt the same recently.

I am unconvinced whether being single makes it more difficult or easier.

I appreciate that as a one adult household, there is actually more work for one person to do, but I also acknowledge that one person has the controls, and there is only that single person to organise, and set-up in an appropriate routine.

Finding something that you enjoy, that pays enough, that you can give enough time and attention to, that you believe it deserves, is a very difficult task, regardless of number.

Teaching is something people have always suggested to me. Term time employment, and all that.

I am not really interested, as I know it would not suit me personally, and like my village friend, would not feel committed enough to the cause.

This is why I believe thinking of a change of job maybe the longer-term answer for her.

For me I have not reached a panicked state yet, I rarely do, but I am starting to feel a little more pressured, by myself, to sort things out, or get nearer to it, a rolling start, rather than working from a standing one, later this year.

Part-time juggler perhaps?

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Tismee2 said...

Juggler? You are one already are you not?

I made the choice to return to work full time - because at that time I had to, meaning to see if I could cut back on hours at some convenient point.

Turns out the kids loved being with their child-minder families and seemed to have a much more balanced day than I could provide for them at home.

So it never happened. I don't regret my decision as I know I have two happy, well developed children.

I could understand how being part time would make you feel that way - especially if you previously had a very fullfilling job though.

Dan said...

I'm still trying to work out what I want to be when I grow up, so I'm not much help.

I've recently decided teaching isn't for me too.

Single Parent Dad said...

Tismee - Indeed. I don't think the fulltime option would work for me. I have appraised it, and looked at au pairs etc, and it would not be the worst situation, but don't think it would be the optimimum. I didn't particularly enjoy my previous job, even though it paid well, and still allowed me a decent amount of time at home. So I am looking more at the opportunity to do something I enjoy.

Dan - We're never going to grow up are we? And I thought you wanted to be the UK's number 1 (read only) R 'n' B ukulele artiste.

Penelope said...

I always wanted to be a stay-at-home Mum and, luckily, was able to until my separation when youngest was 6. Then I got thrown into part time work and actually loved it. I had no big career plans, I just went with the flow and 2 years later I got the job I have now. These days I work almost full time, the house is permanently a pig sty but I am still (almost) always home just about when the children are and I really feel that I have the best of all worlds. In my case it was luck, and for that I am truly grateful!
You'll work it out, or something will come along that you hadn't thought about. I'm sure of it :o)

Part Mummy Part Me said...

Like Penelope, my perfect part-time worker (copywriter), part-time mother arrangement was as much luck as it was planning.

Keep dreaming, keep planning and you will hit on something - or it will hit on you.

You have proved yourself through your blogposts to be infinitely resourceful, so I am sure you will find a solution.

Zoeyjane said...

I agree with the past two commenters, seems to me that the writing you're currently doing, once given more time and focus, could become as full-time and profitable as you're able to swing.

Now, I'm a tad envious, being that I don't see that full-time school, hands less needed thing in my future.

Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

It's so great to get your perspective. I run into a dad on the way to school each day, and I often wondered what he was thinking...

Kevin Spencer said...

I taught myself to juggle using balls not too unlike those pictured. I was about 8 or 9 I think - I got them for Christmas one year.

Mama Nabi said...

Interesting... I just wrote a post that is inversely relevant about being full time parent, full time job, full time decision maker, full time blame for personality disorders like strong-willed/stubborn (potahto/potato?). The thing that stuck out for me is the sentiment that being able to make your own decision might be easier. (Although, in every decision I make, I do run the risk of the non-participating parent to protest out of spite) I suppose, there are cons and pros to that.

Not that part time is negative, I never saw you as part time anything... you are a full time Dad Extraordinaire.

Single Parent Dad said...

Penelope - Thanks for sharing, and I think there will, hopefully, be some similarities in our stories.

Part Mummy Part Me - Thank you. Copy-writing, or commercial work, is something I need to chase/investigate more.

Zoeyjane - I hope so. Why no full-time school in the future, will you be home-schooling?

Susanna - Always happy to voice, or type, my opinion.

Kevin - Cool. I am, as yet, only a figurative juggler.

Mama Nabi - What a nice way to end your comment. It has not escaped my notice, that unlike separated parents, I don't have an absent parent to deal with in that case. The buck is mine.

Roads said...

I wonder what Sam would say. Because perhaps if you can think yourself into her mind, then she will know the answer.

It's not a great time to be looking for a job, and probably an even worse time for a job to be looking for you. But that said, life goes on despite the economic crisis, and if you look out there then there are opportunities around.

But which, and how, and when? Tricky. That's when the 'Phone a Friend' option comes in handy. Provided that they know you.

Best of luck!

Single Parent Dad said...

Roads - She would have an opinion for sure.

And I think it is a great time to look for a job, in certain fields. In publishing it seems to be working both ways, some cutting their freelance budget and some cutting their own overhead in lieu of more outsourcing.

I know I could, figuratively, get 'A' job tomorrow, but striking the right balance is much more important.

Potty Mummy said...

It's a tough choice. After our second I decided to stay home for a while (note 'for a while'), since, like your friend, I felt that if I went back to work I would end up letting everyone down; my kids, my job, my husband, and most especially myself. I had that luxury of choice so I could do that, and am most definitely grateful, but I still miss working. Every day.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I'm thinking about outside work too. Miss M will be in full time reception this time next year like Max, and I am doing some voluntary work at my girls school while she is in nursery. I'm thinking TA work in primary might be ok and may allow me to write as well, but I was a TA in special needs at a secondary school when I had M and I felt my girls didn't get the best of me so we'll see. It;s a toughy SPD. Maybe you could be an astronaut or a juggling astronaut or something??

Single Parent Dad said...

Potty Mummy - It is a gift to have the choice. And I've been lucky enough to not be under huge financial pressure for the last three years, and won't really need to earn a lot to live very comfortably from September.

Jo - But don't astronauts work weekends?

Mario said...

Hello sir,It is so great to get your perspective. I run into a dad on the way to school each day and I often wondered what he was thinking...



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