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I changed my work schedule so I can be home in the afternoon when Noah gets home from school. Now he doesn't have to go to the aftercare program and we don't have to worry about getting approval and coverage for his TSS hours.
I also thought after the stress of our evenings last year since we didn't all get home until 5:30pm or later, then had to get dinner, do homework, and get the boys to bed (Kiel at 7pm and Noah by 8pm) that this would make life easier for all of us.
It means I'm going into the office one more day a week, but I leave by 3pm to be home to meet Noah's bus.
I'm going to say right here and now, and I am NOT being one bit patronizing, that I have a whole shitload of respect for full time WOHM's, WAHM's and SAHM's. I do not have the patience or temperament to stay home with my kids full time. The chances are that if I had to stay home with my boys for an extended period of time that my already fragile sanity would break completely. If I had to work full time nothing would get done around the house at all and my stress level would be even higher.
When you have kids I don't think being a "full time" anything is easy, it's not to say you might not love it, I just don't think it is easy. And when you have to worry about other mom's criticizing your decisions, or thinking what they do is harder than what you do, well, it just makes it worse.
I have been incredibly lucky that my job, and our finances, allow me to work part time and have a fairly flexible schedule. We are even luckier that our daycare (one of the employee benefits of the hospital my husband works for) is teh awesome! Both my boys love(d) it and thrive(d) there. They both have the temperament that makes it easy for them to be in a group setting like that (well, maybe saying easy isn't the right word with Noah, but he always enjoyed it and went with a smile on his face). And the staff are all wonderful! So any guilt I may feel about working or not working has nothing to do with daycare.
I'm not even sure the last three paragraphs are necessary for this post, but for some reason I felt the need to say them. Probably because I fear anyone getting all judgy on me and the decisions our family has made. Which is ridiculous I know, but I do, so I did.
Anyway....the point of this is that I changed my schedule and now I'm home every day so Noah can ride the bus home and we can go to karate class, or therapy appointments (which I'm trying to find and figure out still) and have time to do homework and get dinner, and maybe even clean the house
And you know what? I kind of hate it so far. Like to the point of crying a few days as I'm driving home because I'm dreading it, then feeling guilty that I'm dreading being with my own son, and playing the pity game because why is it I have to make all the "sacrifices."
And oh my god, Martyr Complex much?
Adding to all of these muddied up feelings I'm having is that once I decided to make this change, and started to put the pieces into place to do it, I started to have fantasies of a "June Cleaver" afternoon.
Picture this: me greeting Noah at the bus with a big hug and an "I missed you son" and hearing from him "I missed you too mom, I love you, you are the best mommy ever," then coming inside to fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk waiting for him at the table, talking about his day, and then effortlessly moving into homework time which he did with a smile and little assistance from me as I started dinner. Then after his homework was done and he puts everything back in his backpack ready for tomorrow he asked what he could do during "help mommy" time. And again, with a smile he would take out the trash, or water the plants, or clean the toilets. And then I'd let him watch a little TV while I finished making a nutritious dinner that everyone will eat. Rich would get home with Kiel and soon after we would all sit down to our nutritious dinner that everyone will eat and talk about our days.
OK, are you done laughing yet?
Imagine my surprise when it didn't exactly go like that.
Instead: I greet Noah at the bus, the bus driver waves me over and tells me Noah has been spitting at the other kids. Noah tells me he only received 46 behavior points out of the 60 he could get because he hit a kid at recess and was rude and defiant with his teachers. I ask him to pick up his backpack and come inside with me so we can have a snack and he starts to whine that he wants to play outside. I tell him that after snack and homework (which seriously, if he would just sit his butt down and do would take all of ten minutes) we can come back outside and play. He whines some more and says he's not hungry, that his stomach hurts because it is still full from lunch. I say that's fine, we don't have to eat snack, but we do have to do homework. He stomps inside, throws his backpack down, and refuses to come to the kitchen table. When I do get him there, where I have a bowl of pretzels and some juice waiting, he refuses to actually sit down. I take away a smiley from his token board and he gets mad. He starts to knock things off the table, then he kicks some things in the family room. I tell him he has a choice, he can come to the table and do his homework and earn his smiley back, then we will go outside and play, or he can go up to his room and take a nap. He gets angrier. He throws things. His speech starts to race and he complains. And then he gets really mad, picks up his glass of juice and throws it across the kitchen floor. Then he stomps up to his room, throwing and kicking things in his way and slams the door. I let him stay there until Rich comes home, because ohmyfuckinggod, I might kill him.
Understand why I'd rather be at work? Because that was an actual afternoon last week.*
I'm insightful enough (sometimes) to realize that if I come into this with a bad attitude Noah is going to pick up on it. I do realize that to get him to change his behavior I need to change mine. I also realize that change can be hard. And I'm making a lot of changes at once. So I'm trying to cut myself some slack and not beat myself up when I slip and fall back into my old reactive ways.
But damn, most afternoons, I'd rather be at work.
*Yes, we are doing a new behavior program, and I will have my new blog up soon where I'll be talking about it. It is helping, but clearly, not enough yet.