I need a part time job.
I love my work and the people I work for and with, but as my babies grow and as I become more aware of the world through the eyes of a child, the more I realise that parenting is becoming more and more difficult as society becomes more and more iniquitous. Without becoming obsessive about it, we need to be so much more in tune and so much more aware of what our kids are exposed to, be it through the media or their friends at school or their care givers, (that pretty much sums up the entire human race for your kid). Because they are like sponges, absorbing everything they see and hear, I for one, want to make sure that my kids are absorbing the good wholesome stuff. But the truth is, because of the times we are living in, we have to expose our kids to the bad and ugly bits as well, so that they are not duped into believing everything they hear on the streets. I’d much prefer for them to learn about the evils of the world at home, from me, so that when they are confronted with a sticky or moral situation, they know how to deal with it. So back to my part time job..
Currently, both the hubby and I work full time. This means we leave the house at 6h15am and we usually return home at about 5h45pm. Hubby and I work in the same office park and Liam’s school is very close to where we work, so he car-pools with us. Our lift club works pretty well – he gets to snooze for a bit if he’s feeling sleepy, or eat his pre-breakfast (or afternoon) snack in the car, and we get to chat about all sorts of things, count the number of red or blue or white cars passing us in the traffic or discuss the details of his day at school. Hannah stays home with Zoleka, but when we think she is school ready, she’ll most likely join the lift club too. However, by the time we get home, tensions are high from sitting in traffic, my babies are usually
annoying challenging because it’s just that time of the day, and my sense of humour has all but vanished, along with my desire to cook, clean up after the kids, be nice.. Then dinner, which would test the patience of the Pope – what with running after them to get a spoonful in, begging them to EAT THE DARN CHICKEN, YES CHICKEN IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE THAT, to camouflaging vegetables under rice and gravy. Then bath time which comes with its own dampness (no pun intended). Then thank goodness it’s time for bed.
If it’s this stressful now, and they’re under the age of three, how much more stressful will it be when they are older – when there’s homework to be done, and assignments to research and conversations about LIFE to be had? When will we play? When will we bake? When will we walk the dogs (which we don’t have now, but which we will have in the future)? When did fun become a Friday – Sunday thing? Surely life is too short for that? So yes, I have decided that I need a part time job, or a half day job, or a job that allows me to work from home, if necessary. For my own sanity, I do need that break away from the house AND the kids.. I’m not good housewife material. It takes a special kind of somebody to be a housewife and I take my apron off to anyone who chooses this profession, because it’s HARD – ranked high up there with being an assassin or the president’s speech writer.. it’s just HARD. And of course I still want to earn my own salary, so I can splurge frivolously on a pair of heels if I so wish, without feeling guilty for using the stipend so generously provided by my working husband. But more importantly, a half day job would allow me to fetch the kids early from school, we could do homework and chat while I cook or bake. We could spend quality time deciphering cloud shapes, and talking about LIFE. I could dissect their school day and their friend’s comments and analyse their views on certain things, and we could spend time discussing and debating serious issues – without the need for speed, to make it to bed time alive. By the time my full day working husband arrives home, dinner could be ready, the kids could be done with their chores and school activities and the evening could be spent relaxing, while Hannah massages her father’s feet and Liam recites poetry for his proud mother, by the fireside.. just like a scene from one of my favourite books “Little Women.” Ok maybe not like that, but you get my drift.
I just feel like I need to be around more, I need to be more available to my children as they grow, I need to involve myself in every aspect of their lives, and not in an OCD way, but in a cool-mom-who-knows-all-my-friends-and-their-moms kinda way. I want to be there for every swimming trial, I want to be a part of the parking lot brigade who know the latest on all the teachers, on all the suspected school bullies, on who got the lead part in the school play, on EVERYTHING. My point is, I want first dibs and shotgun on everything that is going on in my children’s lives. I don’t want to hear that my kid got into a fight, via a phone call from the principal’s office. I want to pre-empt that fight, I want to know that some dude is giving my kid a hard time, I want to be able to step in before it hits punching point.. and why.. because I was THERE, because I was involved.. because I know my kids. And the only factor that is eminent in this whole equation is time. Taking time to listen, taking time to understand the heart and mind of your child, taking time to be with them so that they know you value and love them and in turn open up to you. In this day and age, do not undermine the value of TIME when sculpting these little people. My mother was a teacher, she was always available to me, we used to have lunch together after school where we’d just talk and catch up. I’d do my homework under her watchful eye, while she cooked. I was fortunate enough that my dad was also a teacher during my primary schooling phase and to have my parents there all the time was a lifelong gift that I will eternally be grateful for. We assume that as our kids grow, they want us to step back, to grant them some independence, to butt out of their lives and to let them live as they wish – that’s every teenager’s wish, isn’t it? But I believe that children who are fostered and mentored, who spend quality time with their primary care givers, turn out to be more stable and confident adults. And the beauty is, we as mother’s, may not all have had a dreamy childhood, but we can offer it to our children; we hold this gift in our hands, we have every chance to mould these little lives into blazing stars.
And that, my dear friends, is why I want a half day job. It all starts with me and Father Time. I know I won’t be able to buy this time back with my kids, so I really want to invest it all wisely, so that in the future I can see a return on my investment in the form of a great kid, who does great things with his/her life.