I am a teacher. Being a teacher allows me a schedule that few other professions have. I work many hours from the end of August until the end of June, but then I am at home for what usually amounts to 10 weeks.
I would be lying if I said that the schedule of a teacher wasn't an important part of my decision to enter the field. My mom was a teacher, and I saw how it allowed her to have a profession that she cared a lot about, but still allowed us to have a mom home with us when we weren't in school. I wanted that for my children. It seemed like the perfect way to "have it all".
Up until now, it has worked out ok. Last year was my first year of full time teaching while being a mother to two. Prior to that I had been in the flux of maternity leaves and half-time teaching since the birth of my oldest. One son was in a busy but nurturing daycare center, the other in a Montessori preschool. While both boys were doing well, I was struggling. The few hours a day that I saw them were when they were at their worst - tired and spent from the day, and I was not attending to them as I wanted, busy making dinner, moving laundry, grading papers, and preparing for the next day.
We survived. It wasn't graceful, and I had to let a lot of my lofty ideals slip away. The things I held tight to became even more precious. And as we skidded into summer break, we crashed in a heap of "who are you again?" and "how do we do this family thing?" It took at least three weeks to find our way back to each other.
But we did. With summer's grace, our days filled with nature's rhythm and time to explore. Mornings stirred slowly, rather than jumping at gunshot of the alarm. Park visits and laying on the carpet daydreaming took hours and we had time to fill the counter with Legos AND actually build something. It was this luxury of time that reminded me on a daily basis of what I had been missing during the school year.
As this school year began and the days and hours filled with life away from our home, the lack of balance became painfully obvious. Stress and agitation grew in both the adults and the children. Tempers flared and everything we did felt like it had a stopwatch attached.
This is not how we want to be living. And while we are fully committed to our current work situations, the time to begin working on restoring balance is now.
The goal is that by this time next year, we will be living a daily life that is more in line with who we are and how we want to spend our time.
We will get there.