Now that it's official, I wanted to share a little bit about our plans for next year. (By next year, I mean next school year because that's the calendar my life revolves around.) With Baby #3 joining us late this summer, we have decided that I'm going to stay home with all three kids next year. This is something we've been planning for quite some time, and thankfully my school was willing to give me a one year leave. I'm beyond excited for the opportunity to stay at home with all three kids for the year before Miss A starts Kindergarten (as a side note, how can that possibly be only a year away!?).
I have enjoyed working part time for the past four years. This year I work Monday through Friday from about 7am to 11:30am for most of the school year. This schedule has allowed me to continue teaching while also having extra time with my kids. I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but I also really wanted to be home with my kids, so in a lot of ways working part time was an ideal situation. Teaching fewer classes not only shortened my work day, but also lessened the grading and prep work I bring home. The down side has been that I can't be as involved in the school as I would normally be. I'm not able to be at a lot of meetings because I only work in the morning, so I miss a lot of information. I also have less time to socialize with my coworkers because I'm not often around after school or at lunch, which is something I miss. My school also starts early, so I have to get myself, Miss A and Little J up and out the door by 6:45am every day. Thankfully, my girls love their day care, and I feel good dropping them off with Miss J each morning. I think E would say it has been beneficial because I have time to take care of most of the house related things so we get more time to spend as a family at night. I know I have a much better work-life balance because of my part time schedule.
Our decision for me to stay home next year is the result of a mix of factors. First, and most important, I really want to stay home. I could continue working, but I think next year would be really hard. I don't qualify for FMLA, so my leave would likely be limited to 6 weeks. I got a little bit of extra time with Little J, but I still had to return to work when she was 8 weeks old, and I hated it (I was incredibly lucky to be off for 5 months with Miss A because my maternity leave went until the start of summer break). I love having my afternoons with the girls, If my school hadn't given me a one year leave, I most likely would have resigned my position completely. I also know that I've been lucky to have every afternoon with my girls, but a lot of that time is taken up by errands and rest time, so I'm really excited to have whole days to spend with my three (wow... 3!!!) kids. We also would have to find new day care if I went back to work because Miss J has two other babies starting this summer. Just the idea of trying to find new daycare for 3 kids, including an infant, part time, stresses me out.
Overall, I am just so excited to be staying home next year, but I am a little nervous too. There are days now when the afternoons seem so long. When Miss A and Little J refuse to nap and are just wild. This winter was so, so, so terrible, and I'm not sure how we'll survive the winter months being home all day, every day. I think I shared before, but I've been loving Julia's Moms Make It Work series because it's so helpful to get tips from other moms, especially SAHMs about how things work in their families. Miss A is going to go to preschool two mornings a week, so I think (hope) that will help. I have to admit, I'm also a little nervous about having a newborn again in general. I feel like I've forgotten so much of what life is like during those first months, though I also think it will come back to me when baby arrives. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who has been super supportive through this decision (and is about everything).
So June 12th starts a new adventure for us. Not just an adventure to being a family of 5, but my adventure as a SAHM. Any other SAHMs, please share your tips or tricks for making it work!