After several days at my parents' house, the boys are home. While the time apart was a treat, it feels great to have them back. The house feels whole again.
With the return of the children, though, comes the Sunday night blues. Anyone know what I'm talking about? That feeling down in the bottom of your gut where the stress about the week ahead begins to build? The disappointment of all that you didn't fit into the weekend, knowing that it will have to wait a week until you can try again? The feeling that once again you have to leave your real life to go back to work?
Or am I the only one who feels that way?
The thing is, for a couple of years, I didn't feel like that on Sunday nights. Sunday nights were just another part of the week - the reset button for the week, where we got the house and laundry ready, but didn't feel totally overwhelmed about the days ahead. Those were the years when I was working half time. (The year that each of the boys was 1, I worked mornings only.) Knowing that I had each afternoon to accomplish some of the household management tasks made the week seem so much easier. I could be prepared for work, without worrying that our home life was on pause until Friday night. We felt like EVERY day was part of our real life, rather than just the weekend.
Last year I returned to working full time. While the financial benefits were a small part of the reason I went back, the larger reason was seniority. In our current economy schools are having to make major cuts, and when you are working part time, you are among the first to go. In order to protect my position, I went back to full time so that I could be guaranteed a job. But that choice has had a large impact on the way that our family functions. Many of the tasks (cleaning, cooking, errand running) that had been accomplished in the afternoons had to move to the weekends. The relaxing pace of enjoying our time as a family on the weekends grew shorter and more harried.
We know that it doesn't have to be this way. I could look to return to part-time next year. I love the flexibility it gives to our schedule, and the slower pace it gives to our life. But there is a large part of me that feels it is selfish to want that. Why should it be fair that I get to work part-time, and not my husband? With our oldest in first grade all day, and the youngest in a school where he is comfortable all day, they won't need me at home (although, if I were home, the youngest would only go half-day). Our benefits (insurance and retirement) are greatly impacted if I don't work full time. And it does limit our choices for schools for the oldest - if I work full time, the private Montessori is an option, while me working half time means he's headed to our neighborhood school.
There's a lot to sort through. We have about 4 months before I would need to make a firm decision. And either choice has it's consequences and benefits. A lot rides on those Sunday moods...