What's the stuff? Well, I am a working mom again. Now, I will be the first person to jump down the throat of anyone who accuses stay-at-home moms (or dads) of not "working" but I must make it clear that I am not defending myself and my own experience when I go into attack mode. I am a crappy stay-at-home mom. I am terrible at it. I have no idea what the hell to do with myself and my kids and usually end up doing next to nothing and then wrapping myself up in guilt along with my blankets when I go to bed at night. My righteous indignation bubbles up out of a deep respect for the SAHMs and SAHDs I know who are actually good and enthusiastic about what they do - my idols to whom I beg forgiveness after disappointing my kids yet again. So when I say that I'm working again, you are free to assume that I wasn't doing anything before besides occupying space.
I'm extremely excited to be working at the University of Montana again. My confidence in my abilities to be a productive employee was dealt a very hard blow with my last experience so I entered the workplace with some trepidation. I am now ending my third week and the difference between this time around and the 4-month horror show at the sleep clinic is night and day. The sense of belonging that I had when I last worked for the U has returned even though I'm working for a different department. The people here are warm, friendly, helpful, fun, and blessedly free of psychotic, micromanaging battleaxes. Joy! I am being reminded of what my last job caused me to doubt - that I am a good employee. It's silly that I let that ONE experience overshadow all my other years of employment but I tend to focus squarely on the bad while ignoring the good. And now I will tell myself, for the millionth time, to stop doing that.
Of course, this has been a huge change for our family. I stressed myself out trying to figure out the logistics of daycare, after school care, and (the part that caused me the most stress) how Ben was going to get to school each day if I couldn't take him. I despaired that the Y doesn't offer before school care and fretted over whether or not I could get away with coming in to work later and halving my lunch break. I eventually called upon my awesome neighbors who stepped up to the plate and agreed to walk Ben to school. Through all my scrambling and worrying, it never occurred to me to just get another car seat for my husband's car so that he could take Ben to school. Thankfully, this idea DID occur to my husband and that big, scary Issue is no more and I just feel silly.
So now Ben gets picked up by a bus and taken to his after-school care on days when Clyde is working. Ethan, meanwhile, goes to a full-time daycare in a different building. Ben has had some behavioral issues pop up since I changed our daily routines but he's handling everything much better than I thought he would. Ethan has been a different story altogether. He tends to cry every morning when I get him dressed and we've had two mornings so far in which he seemed to be vying for the coveted "Loudest and Most Violent Hissy-Fit Award.". I'm positive that if such a thing existed, he would have won. My neighbors would probably agree, too, considering how they were all treated to his banshee wails of outrage when I carried him to the car during the first fit. You're welcome, neighbors. Although the second fit was as recent as yesterday, I am confident that things will get better. He's always smiling and playing when I pick him up and the people who work at the daycare seem to really care about him and enjoy having him.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that my job continues to go well and that the kids settle into the newness of it all. They've done it before and I'm sure they can do it again. However, I don't want to keep putting them through so many drastic changes. Hopefully, this go around as a paid worker will stick and what's new will become normal. I have many different items on my self-improvement list and a long road ahead of me but I feel like I'm on pretty steady footing. I'll take a lesson from the British and keep calm and carry on.