Life is What Happens

It’s been a while since I’ve written—well, at least it feels that way. John Lennon was right: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Hence the tagline of this blog!

April has been kind of brutal for us. This weekend I’m recovering from some kind of tummy bug, which I NEVER get. As in, I can count on one hand the episodes in my lifetime. Blerg. BB#1 and his dad suffered through it last weekend. Really unfair since the weekend before that, BB#1 was out with a fever and sore throat. And the weekend before that, it was BB#2 with one of his periodic fevers (long, long story).

In between all this, I did a week of temporary work “outside the home”, which meant commuting, taking a lunch (ew!), and leaving my husband to handle the drop-offs/pick ups and dinner etc. Should have been fine; it was a week where BB#2 had three whole days of school (rare!), and on the days he wasn’t in school, we had arranged a playdate one day and a grandma visit the other. Then there were the usual weekly activities: Beavers, Cubs, swimming. Also a dentist appointment and after-hours meeting for my husband. Then add in BB#1 home recovering on the Monday, and BB#2 needing to be picked up early from school on the Friday…

All of this was a good reminder of how much more flexibility we have with a parent at home full-time (picking up occasional freelance work), and another parent who works from home (when he’s not travelling) than we would if we were both working full-time outside the home. Now, this is not feasible long term for a variety of reasons, but the experience did make us ask “how do other people do this?”, “how the heck did we do this before?” and “how are we going to do this again?”

When I returned to work after my first maternity leave ended, BB#1 was in daycare, and my husband and I staggered our hours. He dropped off while I picked up. It wasn’t too difficult, with just one child and one location to get to. After BB#2 came along, having one in school and daycare on alternate days (plus before and after care on school days), and the other in a different daycare (there was no option for them to attend the same centre based on their ages) was not going to work for us, especially when my husband was frequently away on business. I was not okay with them being in care from 7 am to 6 pm. So we had a nanny, something we never thought we’d consider. But it worked for us at that time. It gave us the flexibility we needed the days BB#1 didn’t go to kindergarten, or when one child was sick, or when I had to shovel out my car to be at my office for 8 am. We continued this arrangement when I left my job to return to school, but I’ve been home with the boys myself since I finished.

In September, BB#2 will be in school full-time. And I hope to be working outside the home again. Before and after care is lined up for the boys, just in case (if I’m fortunate enough to get work as a supply teacher, my start and end and commute times will vary). And while I know we are by no means unique, and even have it easier than many families (I bow down to all you single parents!), I still can’t help but worry about scrambling for care when someone is ill, or losing money when someone can’t work.

So you tell me, how DO you do it?



Filed under career, child care, education, parenting, random, schools, teaching, the beautiful boys, work, working parents

5 responses to “Life is What Happens

  1. I have a toddler and a baby on the way and I work partly from an office and partly from home and my husband works full time outside the home. We have a combination of help from grandparents and a nanny. I have always been way more comfortable leaving my toddler at home with someone than at a day care and it costs about the same (plus the nanny does my dishes!) Occasionally we have to scramble if all the babysitters are sick and one of us has to stay home for all or part of the day.

    • Yes, the cost of a nanny for two vs. daycare for two was what convinced us to go that route (in addition to the mission impossible of drop off/pick up at two to three different places). It worked for that period in our lives, though when we had just one, a centre was right for us. Now that the boys are older, I’m happy to have my home to myself again (plus our nanny was a pretty tough act to follow; she’s coming for a visit later this week, just because!) Grandparents/family is not an option here, no one lives near enough to be here regularly (and some of them still work their own jobs). The whole child care thing is really complicated, isn’t it? Doesn’t matter if it’s a need to work or want to work situation, or a bit of both.

      • I looked into a center that I LOVED for my son, but I go to work Tuesday and Wednesday, and their only part-time options were either MWF or TTh, otherwise we might have chosen differently. Yes it is always complicated!

  2. Karen

    No family near us, so it’s all on us. Both of us work part time. I work the first two days of the week. He does the next three. Means less money. And a bit of social stigma still around for blokes that decide to go part time to care for children… but it’s worth it. The other downside is that we have less money.

    • It’s great you were able to work something like that out! Part time seems like it would be ideal for many, but not all that available in some industries.

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