Way back in our pre-kiddo days, Chris and I had a little standing “joke” that I never let die. The joke was that someday I would be a stay-at-home housewife. It would be great! I told Chris that I’d always have our household in tip-top shape. He’d come home everyday to a nice home-cooked meal and a spotless house. I’d spend my mornings playing tennis with my lady friends or working out with a personal trainer. Afternoons would include hair and nail appointments at the beauty shop, or perhaps I would spend time shopping with friends or seeing the latest movie. Our house AND my body would be in immaculate condition. It would be perfect. If only I could be a stay-at-home housewife.

Then babies happened.

And suddenly, staying at home was not so much about being a “housewife” as it was about being a “Mom.” And being a Mom is most definitely a full-time job with no punch-out time.

Until last week the babies had still been in daycare two days a week because we were locked into a contract. Now the contract has ended and last week was my first real week as a completely stay-at-home Mom.

Let me tell you something…..being a Mom is definitely NOT what some people imagine. There’s no sitting around, watching TV and lazing about the house. Instead there’s poop, puke, and pee (the 3 P’s). There’s constant feeding (milk, solids, snacks, repeat). There’s one baby trying to play in the toilet while the other baby is digging in the kitchen trashcan. The girls have learned to climb. Now Baily can effectively hoist herself onto the couch (though getting down is still precarious business!). Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of laughs and fun times playing games. But there are also lots of tantrums and tears. It.is.HARD! I’d say it is definitely the hardest job I have ever held….quite possibly the hardest job, period! It’s been interesting to reflect on it in light of all of my research on human relationships – especially the importance of a strong female coalitional support system. It’s usually made of relatives (Moms, Grandmas, sisters, cousins), but also of friends and neighbors. Although we have no relatives in Tucson, I’ve managed to make a few friends that have been very supportive of me and the girls.

But is it enough?

Well, I lasted two weeks (last week + this week). Come next week, I’ll go back to being a part-time stay-at-home-Mom. I love my girls. I love being a Mom. But for me, going to work is something I really, really enjoy. I have gone to school for the past 25+ years (6 years post-bachelors degree) for a reason….to secure a job!

No, no, I have not found full-time employment (though I continue to submit applications like it’s another part-time job!). I have, however, accepted a couple of part-time positions that were offered to me. Yes – I went from having NO (paying) jobs to having TWO! Wahoo!

I’m very excited about this next venture. Not only do these jobs sound like they will be intellectually stimulating and enjoyable on that level, but it will also allow me the opportunity to get out of the house a couple of days a week. For me, going to work has been almost like “recharging” my batteries so that I can come home and be a great Mom. It’s important for me to have interaction with adults. It’s also important for me to make a little income. Not only does it help with household expenses, but it helps with my self-esteem, too! And spending a few hours away each week really affords me the opportunity to view returning home as a treat, rather than seeing it as an obligation.

It’s hard to talk about this without sounding cold or mean. I LOVE my girls and I LOVE being a Mom. But it’s hard. The hardest. And I love what I do for work! Without it, I feel like part of me is missing!

So I feel really fortunate that the timing has worked out so perfectly. I will be starting next week for 2 separate positions. One position will be working for the University of Arizona (at my old department) as a postdoctoral researcher. It’s a part-time, temporary position. The contract only goes through September 30th, though there’s the possibility of it being extended beyond that. I will only be required to be on campus 1 day a week and can work remotely the rest of the time (though I am planning to go in twice per week). The second job is working part-time at Penn State University. I will be working entirely remotely (from home) on online course development this Fall, with plans to teach online in the Spring.

I am so excited about these opportunities and want to send a big THANK YOU shout out to those who helped make them possible – because everyone in academia knows employment is LARGELY based on networking! So, I don’t know if these girls read my blog, but Shannon hooked me up with the position at Penn State (via Pam, who told her I was still job-less!). I don’t think the position was even advertised online – it was basically just handed to me! And in regard to the UA position – a big THANK YOU to Casey and Debbie. Both of these women had told me to apply for the job and I was kind of “fooey” about it to both of them (this was back when I was ONLY looking for full-time employment and was very skeptical about part-time work).

Although full-time employment is still my ultimate goal, I’m glad I have come around to seeing the benefits of part-time work. It’s a great transition-period for me to be able to spend a lot of time with the girls while they’re still so young. And I could not be more thrilled with the extremely flexible schedules that these positions have allowed.

For the first several months of job applications I was ONLY applying for full-time jobs and would not even consider part-time employment. But this just goes to show that sometimes good things come in unexpected packages and reminds me to open my mind to possibilities that I might think of as “outside-the-box.”

I was surprised by how many “hits” my frugal living post received. I guess a LOT of people google that term and came to my blog because of it. I want to continue some frugal living posts and updates. Just because I’ll have an income again doesn’t mean we’re suddenly rich (lol – far from it!) I’ll keep you all updated about the happenings in life as things progress. And LOTS more pictures coming soon!