Sunday, August 18, 2019

Expectations vs Reality

Obviously no matter what situation a person is in, there are going to be challenges related to what they’re going through. I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to stay home with my kids and be their primary caregiver since birth. But that also means being out of the paid work force now for over a decade. I got my degree 13 years ago, only used it for volunteering around that time, worked in a completely unrelated office job (that I would never go back to), then made the decision to start our family and the rest is history.

 The opportunity to work cleaning houses sort of fell into my lap several months ago, and when I decided to commit to it, it became obviously that it would have to be as part time as part time can get. We were just headed toward Spring Break at the time, which would mean two weeks with 3 kids at home, and no one to watch them for me other than James. He said he could commit to working from home once a week occasionally, so I took on one shift per week, alternating between two clients. Eventually that changed to be twice a week bi-weekly, which was agreed upon with James as doable, since it would (hopefully) only be during holiday times.

 Fast forward to when those holiday times crop up, and while I DO appreciate James’ help and I know he would say he’s amenable to doing it, I also find it not uncommon to get a particular reaction when I remind him that the week I work is coming up and he’ll be needing to work from home those two days that I go. It’s not ideal for him to work from home, and even more than that, knowing he’s also on point with the kids should they need him for anything can complicate the scheduling of meetings, for example (although for him they seem to occupy themselves for much longer stretches than they do when they’re with me, so I’m not sure they’re all that distracting to him for the 3.5 hours that I’m gone).

 It causes me a lot of stress that it appears so complicated for me to work barely any hours at all, yet at the same time I also feel as though I should be working full time and generating a large enough income to justify spending shitloads of money on childcare since ultimately in order to work full time I’d need someone else doing a lot with the kids (school drop offs, pickups, after school care). For 3 kids that would not be cheap. And realistically, what job can I get after being out of the paid workforce for almost 11 years, with no real experience in my field of study, that would offset these costs? There’s NO WAY I’d be able to find something that would also justify me basically spending no time with my kids at all and paying someone else full time to look after them at Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer Break, Pro-D Days. And what about sick days? Between 3 kids there are a lot of them.

 Do I want to clean houses forever, or even more than part time, when I also have to completely maintain our house, too, since I KNOW that would continue to fall on me even if I was working outside the home full time? No. But even if it’s what I resorted to doing because it’s easy to find work doing it, I still face the conundrum of who’s looking after the kids. If it’s a struggle to have one or two half days (not even) per week, realistically how am I supposed to take on more? I can’t tell clients that I can only clean their homes during school times and during all the long breaks I’m not available! I need to be able to be consistent.

 So what am I supposed to do?! Am I supposed to go back to school to specialize in something? There’s thousands of dollars we don’t have to spend on something that won’t guarantee me a job. Not to mention how I’m supposed to be able to go to school when the hours tend to mean I wouldn’t be able to take the kids to school nor pick them up, nor be with them after school. And when I got home I’d be cooking, cleaning, and finding time to do homework when?? I KNOW PEOPLE DO ALL OF THESE THINGS. I’m not saying it’s not doable, but I’m not sure I’d have any sanity so I know I wouldn’t be the best mom to the kids, because I’d be too tired by the time I had time with them.

 I also just don’t understand how it’s supposed to work when I’m the one who has to be there if the kids need a parent during the work day. James is far away downtown and is the one providing the income that pays for us to live. He can’t suddenly not be present at work on a regular basis. So it’s a situation where I’m supposed to have superpowers, because I have to be the stay at home mom that also works and does everything for the kids. That’s several full time jobs but isn’t really viewed that way by a lot of people. I’m made to look lazy or, I don’t know, something along the lines of just not pulling my weight, when in reality the situation makes it so that I’m having to pull the weight of more than one person, it’s just not recognized.

 I know a lot of people are in this situation. And a lot of people are in a lot more difficult situations. I know that, and don’t need judgment as though I’m a whiny little baby who can’t seem to handle life. I know I could have it much worse. It’s just hard sometimes, because we’re put into these roles and then so much more is expected of us.

 I don’t necessarily want to go back to a time where automatically my job was in the home, pumping out babies and looking after the cooking and cleaning and home maintenance, without the opportunity to have a career if I wanted one. Feeling like you’re being deprived of something creates resentment, and I agree that regardless of whether or not you have kids, men and women or just partners in general should have equal opportunities. But at the same time, opening that up and saying you can have kids AND a career and do it all also makes it complicated, especially for the parent who may have put that on hold to be home with the kids for a period of time. We also had twins, which would have been a nightmare in daycare costs, there’s no way we could have had 3 young kids in care! I don’t know how we would have managed that, or how I would have coped, especially in those early years when I wasn’t getting any sleep at all. I wouldn’t have been able to do a good job at a career outside the home. Maybe if I’d already had a career before kids it would have been a less complicated transition back into it, but that wasn’t my situation.

 It’s true that as the kids get older and can be more self sufficient, it shouldn’t be as complicated for me to be able to be away from home more without the need for outside paid help for the kids. But I’ll have been out of the paid workforce that much longer by then, and will still have the issue of needing focused training in a particular field if I’m going to land a job that pays well and hopefully makes me feel fulfilled in some way - because heaven forbid I should get a job that doesn’t make me resent my life, especially after all the schooling I’ve done in the past and would have to do to re-hone my skills. I’m also at a major disadvantage by that point, given the factor of age, a huge gap in my work history, and the fact that I have kids that would obviously come first no matter what. The new grad fresh out of school with a career focus and no kids is going to look far more attractive as an employee than someone like me.

 I know these things are all doable, and I know it’s in my future to have to sort it all out and somehow be able to do it all. It just causes me a lot of stress because it’s a lot more complicated than just getting a job. And I don’t think that’s always fully recognized by those who aren’t the person having to face that reality. I want to earn money for our family, and I do feel I have a lot of great skills that would make me a valued employee in the right position. It’s just complicated given my situation, and I wish it was more recognized what a struggle this can be.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Summer Camp

Side note:  Issues with my blog and being able to paragraph my writing...I'm working on fixing it, but in the meantime....sorry...!

For a while there I was on the fence as to whether or not to put the kids in any sort of summer camp, but in the end decided it would be a good idea for them to have some structured play time with other kids, and at the same time to give me a bit of time to do my own thing since I don’t get a break at all in the summer otherwise. This ended up being the week and it proved to be a great success. The kids all loved it, and even said they found it way better than the camp they did last year. They all wish they could be in it longer than just one week! It was the only camp I could find that all 3 kids could be in together, and the price was reasonable for what it offered when compared to other camps out there. We could only justify one week, as one week for 3 kids was $450. Which is slightly insane when I think about it. But they had so much fun that it really was worth it, and I did get some hours to myself, which is basically priceless! I knew with some of the time I wanted to spend it doing some things around the house that I’ve put off for a long time, as well as things that are better done when no one else is home. The main thing I wanted to accomplish in that regard was shampooing the carpets. I did all of downstairs on Monday morning, and that evening I got the stairs done. I took Tuesday off from that particular job, but got the upstairs shampooed on Wednesday. The carpet is in desperate need of being replaced, but it’s definitely a huge improvement having cleaned it. I’m proud of my work, it really does make me feel better to have that done, and it really didn’t take as long as I’d thought it would (although by the end of getting the upstairs done I was pretty sweaty and exhausted! It had needed a deep clean for far too long). I did take a couple of hours out on Tuesday and my mom and I took a nice stroll at BMP, which is one of my most favourite places to be. It was a beautiful, hot summer day and there was the perfect amount of breeze. We are pretty sure we saw a whale for a very brief moment, and also enjoyed watching an eagle as he looked out over the water in search of his next meal. Yesterday my mom and I went out for lunch after a bit of shopping, getting in on some good sales. It was nice to have some quality time with my mom this week. I had decided to keep Friday (today) as my ‘me day’ where I promised myself I wouldn’t focus on chores, and I wouldn’t go anywhere but just stay at home and relax and try to clear my mind as much as possible. Then last night, I suddenly (TMI alert) got The Curse and the beginnings of a migraine. I took one of my migraine pills right away, which didn’t seem to kick in for several hours, but at least eventually I got relief from the headache. Unfortunately the cramps from the stupid curse took over that no amount of Tylenol was going to cure. So I writhed in pain literally all night, with barely a wink of sleep. I was even up for a while at 3:15 thinking I was coming down with something and bordering on throwing up. So while I was sticking with my plan today of ‘doing nothing’ and just taking care of myself, I was doing so while sleep deprived and feeling generally unwell. Not quite the same as taking time out for one’s self to relax and enjoy some downtime. Then a little past 11 I get a phone call from the camp coordinator that Margaret has a stomach ache and wants to go home! So I went to pick her up, which happened to coincide with the camp volunteers setting up the hot dog hot lunch the kids would be having. At the beginning of the week when they informed us that the kids would be having a hot dog lunch on Friday, I mentioned that my kids are vegetarian, so while they could have the the drink and chips, I would send them to camp with their own main lunch item. I was totally fine with this, as I’m used to it when they have hot lunches through their school program. Then yesterday the camp leader for the girls’ class told me they would be getting veggie dogs for them as there was another child who was also vegetarian in the group. I hadn’t expected this, but was pleasantly surprised to not have to make their lunches for today. So pleased that I told James to go out for lunch today so I could be off the hook for making his as well! Especially given how I was feeling last night, the last thing I wanted to do was think about preparing a lunch. So when I was picking Margaret up and saw them setting up, I noticed there wasn’t a separate container with the veggie dogs. I asked the coordinator to verify that the veggie dogs were indeed being kept separate and she responded with, ‘What veggie dogs? There are no veggie dogs.’ It turns out that the other camp leaders had it wrong, and they didn’t have a vegetarian option after all. So I said I’d run out and quickly grab something for my kids since they otherwise wouldn’t have a lunch. The coordinator was apologetic and it was handled well, but I still needed to feed my kids! Margaret and I quickly drove over to Safeway and I picked up some pizza buns and some Yop and figured that would have to do (it’s not like a veggie dog would have been any healthier!) Meanwhile, James let me know that they had called HIM (not me, which seemed strange given I was down at the main contact person) to say someone was heading out to get a veggie dog for Andrew. I said what about Emily?! Well she hadn’t been mentioned. So I went back to the school with the food I’d bought and they said they had sent someone out to get the veggie dogs for all the vegetarians. Which was super nice of them, but omg...I could have done without that whole insanity. On the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing Margaret called sick wanting to come home, or the confusion might have been worse when my other two got to the food station to discover there was nothing they could eat! I guess it all worked out, in that I’m sitting here outside writing this while Margaret is chillaxing playing a game on my phone for a few. But it’s not quite the same as the relaxing, calm ‘me day’ I was anticipating. Note to self: Take your ‘me day’ at the beginning of a week to myself, so it’s more likely to actually happen, because it’s Murphy’s Law that getting an entire 5 days with 5 free hours is not allowed.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Summer Vibes

Summer holidays! I can’t believe it’s here already. The end of the school year felt slow at times but there were so many activities - and expected parent involvement - so when all was said and done it went by pretty fast.

The kids all did really well on their report cards. Andrew was on the Honour Roll again. Emily got an award for her excellent behaviour. Of course she did! She’s gotten it every term since starting Kindergarten, and I can’t imagine her ever not getting that. Margaret did really well, too, it’s just that her personality makes it challenging for her to get the status needed for that particular award. Just as proud of her as Emily, though! I can’t believe they’ll be in grade 5 and grade 2 next year. They’re getting so big and seem so much older. I miss them being babies, but enjoy that they still love cuddles with Mommy. Andrew not so much, but he’ll cuddle up to watch a show or just to chat sometimes still.

We kicked off summer with the best Canada Day that I think we’d had since having kids. We used to always go to Burnaby Village Museum, which we liked for a few years when the girls were quite small, but last year we opted not to go because we kind of felt over it. Last year we went to a park and to Red Robin for lunch afterwards, which was good, but didn’t feel all that festive because we didn’t go to anywhere that had specific celebrations happening.

This year we decided to check out Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam. It was our first time ever going there at all, let alone for an event. It ended up being better than we even expected. We got there early so we got a good parking spot, which was something we’d been concerned about. Andrew enjoyed free rock climbing, the kids all got free popcorn, we saw people in costumes walking around on stilts, lots of mascots and all sorts of fun things to do. Margaret and Emily enjoyed doing some crafts and also enjoyed free face painting. I was amazed at how much was free at the event. We did end up spending on food and drinks, but it was worth it (although James spent an HOUR waiting in line waiting for 3 tornados (potato spirals) which were DELISH but we probably wouldn’t have got them if we’d known how long a wait it would be! The kids were really good while we waited, though, and I was able to sit under the shade of a tree while they checked out a few nearby booths. I love so much that they’re all at ages now where they can do things like that. Of course I’m still keeping an eye on them at all times, but I trust that they won’t do anything they shouldn’t, and they know where I am to come back to. It’s such a huge difference from how it used to be, as much as in moments I miss my ‘babies’, it’s so much easier now that they can have a bit of independence!

We spent about 3 hours at the park and then went home and had dinner with my parents. We sat out on the deck until the flying ants started to bug us (pun intended!) Every year now there seems to be a day when they rear their ugly heads and they don’t care about flying smack dab in the middle of your face. When one of them actually hit my eyeball I said, that’s it, I’m done, and went inside!

We’ve been enjoying the pool a lot already this season and I’m grateful our complex has one that we can use without having to spend a fortune. The kids finished their paid swim lessons last Friday - all 3 failed their set LOL but it didn’t matter. Andrew was in Swim Kids 5 and missed the most important class of the session when we went to the Shawn Mendes concert on June 14th (which was AMAZING and totally worth missing swim lessons for, obviously!) so he wasn’t able to catch up with just two classes left after that one. He’s decided not to continue with swim lessons anymore as he is confident in the water and knows what he wants to. I’m totally fine with that, as I didn’t even take that many lessons myself as a kid and enjoy swimming. I never intended for them to have to go all the way through every level, just to have the basics of how to swim and confidence in the water as a life skill is what my hope was for them. The girls are in Swim Kids 2, and I’m hoping they’ll take it to level 3 or 4 completion before we re-evaluate whether it’s worth it to continue.

All 3 love the water and are swimming like fish. Margaret jumps into the deep end no problem, and loves to dive down and look for toys at the bottom of the pool. Emily enjoys doing the same, but she prefers to jump in closer to the middle or the shallow end of the pool, and likes to stay where she knows she can stand up if she needs or wants to. Yes, they can now stand up at the shallowest end of the pool and their heads just pop out of the water! We’ve been taking them to the pool here since they were probably 3, so it’s been fun to see how much they’ve changed in terms of what they can do there.

We have quite a few things on our Summer Bucket List and I’m looking forward to all of it, but also loving not having too much structure at the moment. It’s so nice not having to be out the door early, fighting to get everyone to get ready and madly dashing around getting lunches sorted and everything else that goes along with school mornings. Now if I could just convince the kids to let me sleep in a little longer...Why all 3 of our kids are early risers is beyond me. They certainly didn’t get that trait from their mom!!

Monday, May 27, 2019

The loss of a friend

While we were on our trip to the island recently, a friend sent the text message, ‘Have you heard??’ My heart sank as soon as I read it, because I knew right away something bad had happened. I didn’t know what it was, so I texted her back for more info. It turned out that another friend had a massive heart attack and was in the hospital but his chances of survival weren’t looking good.
It was such a shock to hear this. He was 'older' (58) but not old enough to ever suspect something like this happening. I had just talked to him the week previous when we were collecting our flowers from the school fundraiser. I didn’t even say goodbye to him when I left with my plants because I was so sure I would see him again. I regret that now.

While I smile and say Hi to lots of people, there are only so many that I tend to have actual conversations with regularly, him being one of them. Not as much this year with our kids being on opposite sides of the school, but we used to chat at drop off and pick up times pretty much every day. Andrew goes to the same dance school as his daughter, so I associate him with year end performances. We used to work together volunteering at the school treat sales, and we worked well together. We met up at Maplewood Farm a few years ago on a weekend with our kids. Even though I was more friends with his wife and ultimately that’s how I met him, I saw him way more often than her because he worked closer to the school and therefore had his schedule tailored to drop off and pick up times for their daughter. So I saw him pretty much 5 days a week. Even if I didn’t talk to him every day, I knew he was around. And I always expected I would see him again. I’m in shock that he’s gone. He had the heart attack on Friday, May 17th, and basically died when it happened, but was officially pronounced dead on Saturday, May 25th. I just can’t believe I’ll never see him again. It’s hard to comprehend. I feel so bad for his daughter most of all, because they were so close, and I can’t imagine going through what she has/is. It’s truly heartbreaking. He was a good person, and I know how much he loved his daughter and would have wanted to be there to see all her milestones in life. I’m trying to process it, and reminding myself how fleeting life is, and how important it is to enjoy the little things while we’re here. It’s just hard to shake the heaviness of how absolute death is.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Island Living

For our Christmas present James’ dad and partner said that sometime in the Spring they would pay for us all to go to Chemainus for two nights to spend some time together and have a little getaway. This weekend it happened. Chemainus is a little town on Vancouver Island that is famous for its murals. Having grown up in Nanaimo, we used to go about once per summer to peruse the antique shops, and have lunch and maybe an ice cream cone. I always enjoyed going there as a kid, following the yellow painted footprints on the sidewalks and looking at all the murals. It’s not like there’s a ton to do there, and I was worried that we would struggle to come up with fun activities being there for longer than just one afternoon since we were just there last September for a few hours, (and knowing what our kids can be like, needing a clipboard of fun at all times!) but it ended up being a really great location for our holiday weekend (with Monday being Victoria Day). The hotel was wonderful, we had a perfect amount of space and beds (which is no small feat for a family of five!) and James’ dad and significant other were in the room adjacent. There was a decent sized pool so everyone enjoyed going for a swim on both Saturday (shortly after we checked in!) and on Sunday after a day of activities. We had dinner on the patio of a little restaurant in town that evening, and then hung out at the hotel. Had a wonderful breakfast (included in the price of the hotel stay) the next morning, which impressed us with a make-it-yourself waffle station. I honestly think it was the best waffle I’ve ever tasted, and makes me want to go out and buy a waffle maker! Then we went to our main activity of the day, where none of us had ever been before: Pacific Northwest Raptors (PNR). If you’re ever visiting that part of the island, I highly recommend going. It’s an amazing experience for all ages - in all honesty I think we adults enjoyed it the most, but the kids loved it too (other than Emily, who didn’t seem quite as into it for some reason). I thought it was totally awesome, especially since birds are my favourite animals. PNR is run by a group of biologists and falconers, with the mission of bringing people closer to birds of prey to educate and encourage people to think about how we’re all responsible for the future of these creatures. So it’s all about conservation, and they clearly look after the birds there and truly love them. It was a highlight of our trip for sure. The bird show is a must-see, as the raptors fly through the audience and it’s amazing to be so up-close to them, and to learn so much about birds we often don’t think about. Margaret and Andrew also got the experience of getting to hold one of the smaller birds, which was a lot of fun, and we got to see a tiny 3 week old red tailed hawk, which was absolutely adorable. Although I think the owls were my favourite, especially one that had these huge yellow/green eyes and kept batting it's long eyelashes at us! We went straight into Chemainus from there and had lunch, followed by a bit of shopping (not many of the stores there interest us, but Andrew managed to find a video game, and Margaret and Emily got small sequinned backpacks. A panda bear one for Emily, and a brown bear one for Margaret. They had their own spending money and were quite excited with their finds!) Back at the hotel everyone went swimming while I had a short little time to myself, and then we went over to the local golf course for dinner, where we had one of the worst dinner experiences ever! 1.5 hours to get our food, one of the dishes never even came, and the server didn’t even apologize for the wait. We’re pretty sure they forgot to put our order in, then came up with a lame excuse for why it was taking longer, and then took another half hour to bring the food out. It was absolutely ridiculous, and in that span of time we all felt hangry and antsy, so you can well imagine what the kids were getting like. They actually did really well, all considered. When we were mostly finished Emily ended up getting a nose bleed all of a sudden, and I took that as my cue to take them back to the hotel, which was just across the street anyway. I think the dry air/air conditioning in the hotel caused it. She’s had them a few other times so she’s not phased by it, but I find it nerve-wracking when she gets them. She ended up with another one in the van on the ferry ride home the next day, but luckily I was able to wash her new(ish) jacket as soon as we got home and the blood came out. Oh my, what an adventure! Yesterday morning we had another yummy breakfast at the hotel, then said our goodbyes to James’ dad and partner, then made our way to Cobble Hill to visit James’ sister and family. It was so nice to see their new house finally, and to spend a bit more time with our adorable nephew, who is a little over 10 months old now. He’s just delightful, and I think he thoroughly enjoyed all the attention he got from his cousins! From there we went to the ferry and thankfully had a reservation for our trip home, which went smoothly. It seemed to take forever, but when we got home I put together a quick supper and we got the kids bathed and to bed and that was the end of our trip! It was a whirlwind, but it went really well. It kind of got James and I thinking how we really do prefer certain aspects to island living over being here on the mainland. I’m not sure if we’ll move over there or not, but part of me thinks it wouldn’t be the worst idea ever. It would be a few years away still, but it’s a possibility. There’s something different about the pace over there that’s appealing. I’m really over what a concrete jungle the mainland is turning into. Not that the island isn’t being further developed, but it’s nothing like the scale over here. But those are thoughts for another day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The tooth fairy has been visiting our house a lot lately!

Last night at 2:30am I was suddenly jolted awake by Andrew.  He had a frantic look on his face and whispered to me, ‘Mommy, I’m sorry to wake you, but my tooth is falling out and it hurts!”

This particular tooth (beside the first molar on the bottom right) has been bothering him for ages.  It’s been quite loose for many months, but very deeply rooted, and too stubborn to come out. He lost the molar last week, and this tooth got looser each day but was attached fairly firmly by one big strand of gums.  

I handed him a kleenex in the bathroom and he yanked on it but it was too painful.  I told him to try once more, and it came out fast. There was a fair bit of blood, but I think he was just relieved to finally be rid of that tooth.  

By this morning, both his adult teeth were poking through the gums already!

Emily’s front top teeth are almost completely in, one being a little longer still than the other.  Margaret’s are coming in now, too, and each day I can see the progress. We were a little more worried about what hers would be like because her front bottom teeth came in fairly crooked (well, one of them did, starting out as a ‘shark tooth’ and finally moving it’s way forward after the baby one came out) but so far her front teeth look perfectly straight, too.  It’s so cute when kids are missing their front teeth, and if I really thought about it I could get teared up because none of my kids will ever have those toothless grins again, but there’s also something so sweet about seeing their adult teeth come in.

Spring is in the air!

It’s hard to believe I’m sitting outside in the backyard writing this.  Yesterday I got the majority of our summer stuff out of our storage shed, and it feels like a warm summer day.  This is actually my perfect ideal weather, because it’s warm but there’s enough of a coolness in the breeze that it doesn’t feel too hot.

I LOVE this time of year most of all because it means we have months of better weather to look forward to.  It’s officially Spring, the days are longer and brighter and we can plan fun stuff to do outside.

Spring Break is notoriously wet around here so it’s a real treat to be having outdoor time this year.  On Monday we had a particularly good day. Margaret and Emily have so many friends living nearby, and in particular their new best friends are also twins, a boy and a girl.  I think it’s adorable! They’re all in the same class at school, too.

They came to our door this morning and when the girls saw that it was them, they were so giddy with excitement, and they all took off on their scooters together.  They played outside on Monday without coming in to ask for something or say something was wrong every two seconds (which is their usual) for a long time, which made things a lot easier on me.  Andrew was inside with me (he knocked on a few friends’ doors but no one was home) but he was mostly reading, and creating his own songs in GarageBand or on Dropmix. He did read a lot of silly Jack Handy quotes out loud to me, which took me back to when I was a little older than him, because I read those same books out to my mom!

I haven’t really had any ‘breaks’ where I’m kid free since Spring Break started, which is a bit of an adjustment, but if more days can be like Monday was, I think I’ll get through it OK!  I love being with the kids and having this break from school - the drop off and pick up routine is something I am happy to do without - and it’s nice not to have too much of a schedule for a little while.  That being said, the kids are all going for their very first ever eye appointments today, and tomorrow Andrew has a dentist appointment. I like getting those things done now, though, when they don’t have to miss school for it.

I started a new job a few weeks ago.  A friend of mine was cleaning houses full time and got a job offer at a store that she couldn’t pass up.  She asked me if I’d like to take on some of her clients. I would have liked to be able to take on more, but currently I have two clients and I work once a week, alternating houses.  It’s not much, but it’s all I can manage at the moment because realistically the kids have a lot of days of school (holidays such as Spring Break, Summer Break, Xmas Break, a pro-d day at least once a month, other random holidays, sick days, appointments…) and I don’t have anyone who can help me on those days.  For Spring Break I was able to have James work from home once per week on the days I’m working so he’s here if the kids need him but it’s not ideal for him, and he can’t commit to doing that regularly. So I’m kind of stuck. Once a week to start off is working well for me, though, and I feel good about contributing something, at the very least to our saving up for a trip to Disneyland HOPEFULLY next year.  It’s not my ideal job, obviously, but I don’t mind it because for the most part I’m left to my own devices (the families generally aren’t home when I’m there, which is awesome because I enjoy cleaning alone!) and I can just go about my work, and it’s very low stress. I feel like all I do is clean sometimes, but unlike at home, it’s a bonus to get paid for it at the end of the day when I’m doing it for someone else!  So for now I’m happy with it.