Saturday, August 3, 2013

Back to Work

Some crazy things have happened in our life recently. 8 weeks ago I went back to work full-time. Sometimes it's kind of hard for me to believe too. We waited a long time to have Orion so that I could stay home full-time and I never would have dreamed I would be working full-time when he was 13 months old.

I've never only been a stay-at-home mom. I've always watched another child or did part-time childcare at church. I always brought some income to the family, albeit very little. When I worked full time I worked in banking for 6 years and also worked in the legal field and politics. I worked full-time until Brennan was 5 1/2 and I quit my job to go to school full time. When Brennan was little I had no desire to be home full-time but maybe because financially it wasn't an option. I was very career driven, I wanted to be successful. I planned to go to law school and become a lawyer.

Meeting Nate and going from 1-3 kids overnight was a big adjustment for me. I was working full-time while we were engaged and it was hard for me to meet the demands of a full-time job and 3 children. I decided watching a child from home was the best of both worlds. I would save money on daycare, gas, commuter pass, eating out, and work clothes. Add to that the money for watching 1 child in my home and I about broke even.

6 months later we moved to Maryland. I interviewed for a few jobs but ended up taking a full-time nanny job that paid well and allowed me to follow my kids schedule and have breaks and summers off with them. It truly was perfect for me at that point in my life.

When we moved back to Colorado I had secured another nanny job for twins but at the last minute decided not to accept due to some of the parent's demands. I interviewed to watch a baby in my home but during that process I found out I was pregnant with Orion and they decided to go with someone else because they were concerned about finding someone else during my maternity leave.

After that I started working 2 mornings per week at church doing childcare. It only paid minimum wage but the big kids were in school all day and it kept me busy and got me out of the house. I got to hold cute babies and I met a lot of nice people.

I kept that job through pregnancy and went back when Orion was 4 months old. He came with me for free so it only made sense to keep doing it. The times I was packing up a screaming, crying baby to get out the door in the morning I wondered if it was worth it but I kept working.

Orion is a high need baby. Maybe you've never heard the term but he was extremely demanding, clingy, and cried a lot, especially from 4-10 months old. As a newborn he wasn't too bad but I did hold him most of the day, he nursed every 2 hours, and he slept on and off. He cut his first teeth at 4 months and he hasn't slept well through the entire teething process. I began to get frustrated with being home with him full-time when he was around 8 months old. I loved my time with him but he was so demanding of my time that I couldn't get anything done around the house and he spent a good part of his day fussing or crying. I began to wonder if working part-time might be a good break for the both of us. I wasn't considering working because we needed the money so I only occasionally looked and only applied if something seemed like the perfect part-time job. I thought a 2 full day per week, professional job would be a good fit for me. In January, I saw a part-time paralegal job posted locally so I applied and they called me for an interview. It ended up they wanted someone 4-5 hours in the afternoon, 4-5 days per week. I talked it over with Nate and that wouldn't work with the kids school schedule so I declined the interview.

I continued to look occasionally for jobs, maybe every couple weeks. In March I came across a 20 hour per week position at a non-profit that paid well. I love helping people and I've always thought working at a non-profit would be a great fit for me. I applied for the job but a couple weeks later I received an email saying they had changed the position to full-time but the hourly rate ended up being several dollars per hour less. The instructions said if you were interested in the full-time opening to re-apply. I wasn't interested in working full-time so I didn't reapply.

Around this time our church was going through a lot of changes. A new children's pastor came on board. I received an email from my boss, the early childhood director, saying she was resigning. I was kind of surprised but Nate had said since I started at the church that was the job I needed to have. I always brushed Nate off and told him that my boss had been there 17 years and she was never leaving. I felt like this email was a sign, coupled with the fact that I had been considering going back to work. I thought I should email my resume and cover letter and express interest that day. Orion ended up being extremely fussy and I didn't get a chance to. Before I had done anything I received a phone call from the new children's pastor asking if I would be interested in interviewing for the position. I really about died of shock because the job Nate had been telling me all along was perfect for me was now open, I thought I should express interest, before I could express interest the children's pastor called me asking me to interview. I firmly believe God speaks to us and due to this string of events I felt he was speaking to me and my job was to listen.

I went through the interview process which started with a somewhat informal meeting with the pastor, then went on to a formal interview with the children's pastor and his boss. Throughout the month long process I didn't say anything to anyone at church. I had heard two other people applied and was kind of convinced one of the others would get the job. Since we didn't need the money and I wasn't looking for full-time work I kept just praying, "Lord, your will be done. If this is the job for me, let me get it. If it isn't, that's okay too." Churches are incredibly slow at hiring and I ended up following up several times throughout the process to remain professional. By the time I finally was offered the position I had all but convinced myself it was going to be someone else and was totally shocked to get the offer. Nate and I talked about what the minimum the salary had to be to make going back to work worth it with childcare factored in. Crazy part is my salary came back the exact figure that Nate and I discussed. God is good!

My biggest concern about going back to work was Orion and how he would adjust. He'd always nursed to sleep for naps and bed. He'd only been away from me for an entire day a couple times. Finding the right caretaker for him was extremely stressful. After interviewing many people, God provided me the perfect person to watch Orion and I feel extremely blessed. He has adjusted amazingly and she loves taking care of him. The big kids have done great too. It really has been a great thing for our family. Sure our house isn't as clean as it used to be but with 4 kids is it ever really clean?

My job is great and really the perfect fit for me. It is demanding and includes night and weekend hours but I try to set firm boundaries and go home at a reasonable hour each day and not work too much from home. My hours are very flexible outside of scheduled events so if I have to take a kid to the doctor or pick them up from camp no one minds. I manage a large group of staff and volunteers and for the most part everyone is really great. It is really surprising to see how much work happens behind the scenes at a big church like ours. It is a busy, busy place. This isn't where I expected to be right now but I know where I'm supposed to be and I couldn't be happier.


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