I’m heading back into the full-time working world – mostly while wearing yoga pants. On Monday, I accepted a full-time Political Science instructor position for one of the universities I’ve been teaching for part-time. It’s online, from home, with flexible hours and a small amount of travel. If I can keep up, I can continue to teach for the other schools I currently work for as well. I’ve already dropped my traditional Thursday night class for the spring, however, I will keep teaching online for the local community college and probably for at least one other school for awhile. If it turns out that is just too much, then I will have to cut back — but I’m crazy enough to at least try.
I’ve worked part-time, in both a traditional and online setting, for just over 5 years. The last time I made such a major career move, I’d just given birth to Bo and was craving a way to continue to work but still maximize my time with him. The pinnacle — what I’ve always strived and hoped for — is a full-time online position. And now that it’s mine, I truly just can’t believe it.
Grading papers while in labor. Zero maternity leave with my girls. Feeling crazy many days. It’s all paid off. Instead of struggling now that my kids are in school to find an entry-level position to re-enter the workforce, I’ve continued to build my career — and while my earnings weren’t phenomenal (especially after deducting part-time child-care x3) over the last 5 years, this job places me right back where I should have been — even if I had continued to work full-time.
Like any life change, accepting my new position is a leap of faith. I’m hoping that I like it. I’m hoping it is a good fit. I’m hoping that it works well with my family. While I am excited, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m also nervous. I’m not nervous that I’ll have the skills to perform the job — but I am nervous about having the time to do it well and the impact that a full-time position will have on my family. I’m nervous about continuing to balance my families needs with my work and how my new role will impact not only various aspects of my life, but my kids lives as well.
Before I had children, I naively thought that I’d just be able to leave my kids and walk right back into the classroom. That didn’t end up being the case for me. Now, they are in school six hours most days of the week — but I’m still concerned. Concerned about having to work in the evenings. Concerned about what I’m going to do this summer. Concerned about how I will balance it all. But now, I also know that it will all work out — it might not always be perfect — but where there is a will, there is a way. I might have to work at 4 am so that I can take my trio to their swimming lessons this summer. I might have to pay more to keep a babysitter that the kids love and I trust. I’ll have to rely on my husband more.
While I have definitely managed to figure out a way to obtain the best possible full-time working mom situation there will still be compromises. There will still be moments where I question why I do what I do. There will still be times when I wonder if I’m crazy. There will still be times where I feel guilty for not giving my kids 110%. There will still be times where I worry that I’m not doing enough for work because my priority is my kids.
I’m not really sure why I’m sharing this — other than to say that it can happen. It is possible to spend lots of time raising children and continue to build a career. It isn’t easy. It isn’t always pretty. And there is a definite need for help and support. But it can happen. I’ve managed to land an amazing position — good pay, benefits, from home, flexible hours — what more could a working mom ask for?! I’m hesitant to say it’s my dream job until I’m actually doing it though…