Thursday, August 24, 2006

i forgot! big ol' rambly post about staying home and working

a few days ago, carrie commented: "I hope that I won't have to work so much whenever I choose to have children so I can really be good with them." and then i said something like - oh yeah, i wanted to write about that. and then i didn't.
so here i am.
writing about it.

when rob and i talked about having kids, we were hoping that maybe i could stay home. the more pregnant i became with irene (who was known as lima at that point in time - not the capital of peru, but rather, the bean), the more i felt i really needed to be home with her. i told head start that i'd be coming back when i went on maternity leave. but i didn't. rob had been with ILM for a little more than a year and things were going pretty well. we owned a home and our mortgage was actually less than the rent we'd been paying. so, i felt outstandingly lucky that i would indeed be able to stay home with her. when she was about 6 months old or so, head start asked if i could do some computer trainings. i got to bring irene with me. i got paid more per hour than i'd ever made actually working for them. but then, i wasn't working 40 hour weeks, so that's probably why. i did that for a while on an as needed basis. then when irene was almost 18 months, one of the teachers needed to have surgery. she worked in west marin and head start had a partnership with a preschool there. they asked if i could work for her. it was once/week and i didn't have to do too much of the paperwork nor did i need to do home visits. i was there primarily for the children (i speak spanish and most of the kids were children of mexican and south american immigrants). i was also there to help the parents when they needed it, but really, i was more the teacher than the home visitor. irene mostly stayed with rob's folks and she LOVED the time she got to spend with them almost as much as they loved spending time with her. so, from february until december (w/the summer off), i did that. Irene came with me some days and got to be in the toddler room. they had a wonderful teacher there. when the teacher came back, i stayed on for a bit more of the year to help out etc. then the toddler teacher was going to get married and Papermill Creek Children's Corner was in need of a toddler teacher - 5 days/week for one month, 5 - 6 hours/day. i brought irene with me most every day, and it's a good thing too. i spent all of my creative juices while working with 4-7 wonderful toddlers. the teacher decided she wasn't going to come back. (is this coherent?). they asked me if i could stay on. i said yes, but only twice/week. 5 days/week was wayyyyya too much for irene and too much for me too. we weren't living on easy street by any means, but we were getting by and having fun and were able to do some fun things as well.
so - that summer i got to teach twice/week and had a core group of 5 toddlers. they were really a fun group. 4 of them (including irene) were about 2 1/2 or so. we did tie dying and painting and playdough, some walks, and all sorts of fun projects. when the school year started, i got a co-teacher who worked 3 days/week and i did 2.

again, i feel like i'm totally lucky that i didn't (and don't) HAVE to work. and when i DID work i was able to bring irene (and later rhys) WITH me to work.

gads. is ANY of this making sense? i hope so.

now i occasionally substitute. when rob was working at the tv station, i would sub on mondays and fridays. we definitely needed more than just rob's income. i LOVED subbing. when rob got the job at IGT, subbing was a good thing, but not quite as necessary. and it really can only happen if i have someone to watch rhys b/c it's not worth paying someone to watch him b/c i'd be paying a sitter basically what i made that day.

i am hoping to finish my grad school application soon and will get a teaching credential (hopefully in 0-5 special ed). i'll probably go back to work part time when rhys gets into 1st grade (yes, sooner, if i have to). but when the kids get into middle school, i really feel i need to be home when they get home. my child development professor really REALLLLY instilled in me the importance of being home during the teen years. she said something to the effect of "as important as it is to try and be there for the first three years of life, it is as important or MORE important to be there during the middle school/high school years." so hopefully things will continue to go as they are now and i'll be able to be here for them. to know where they are when school is over.

do i sometimes miss working? yes. do i sometimes want a little bit of a respite? of course. but then, sometimes when i get that, i start to miss them. *smile*

i might end up deleting this post tomorrow if it's really too's late and i'm tired.

oh!!! and i also want to say that i'm not being on my soapbox about being a stay at home or work at home mom or dad!! i know how lucky i am to be able to be home with the kids. i really REALLY do!! i KNOW how hard it is and how much things cost and how many families HAVE to have both parents working.



Shane said...

Well, at least you didn't name your daughter "Bean," or "Apple."

Michele sent me - she thinks i need more fruits and vegetables.

kristen said...

heh heh - her nickname actually is beanie - or irenie beanie - or ReneBean (her little brother dubbed her that). thanks for stopping by.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me to see you, Kristen.

Wow. It sounds like the work/home mix is perfect for you. Being in a job where your kids can come and interact is great--plus like you say, the money is a lot better than if you had to pay a sitter.

The idea that it's as important to be home during the teen years as infantcy rings true, Kristen. Teens can get into so much mischief even when they mean well.

BTW, you made perfect sense and weren't rambling at all!

Carrie said...

Thanks for that. I hope I didn't come off sounding like the only way you can be a good parent is to stay home. I know a lot of people have to work. I was just saying that I hope I have the opportunity to do what you have done. I would love to work someplace that I can take my children.

You didn't sound like you were rambling. You summed it up nicely.

kristen said...

maybe i can finally post a comment...?

thanks, utenzi. glad to know it wasn't too rambly and it makes some sort of sense.

the preschool where i used to work was realllly wonderful. it was a co-op and i loved having my kids there with me. now that i'm in nevada, i've met a friend who will watch rhys for me if i need to sub, so that's REALLY helpful. i haven't found any preschools near us that were anything like the co-op in point reyes.

and yes, that's exactly it - the bit about teens. i'd like to limit the possibility of getting into trouble. what i'd REALLY love is to be The House - you know the one, right? the one where all the kids like to hang out? THAT would be fantastic! b/c then i can keep an eye on them w/o going crazy. maybe...

thank you, carrie,

and oh no no! you didn’t come off that way at all!! it’s a fine line to walk when you’re putting stuff “out there” and I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad that *can’t* stay at home. my folks all worked (teachers) and were generally home around 4 or 5. so I was a latch key kid, but when they were home, they were really with us and doing things with us etc. *smile* and I’m so glad I didn’t sound too rambling.

blogger is still not letting me post to the comments.

thanks for stopping by :)

vanx said...

You do what you gotta do, which is, or should be, what's right for you and the family. My wife "stayed at home" for fifteen years and only recently went back full time doing something completely different than what she had been before our first daughter was born. She loves being back full time-but it's still tough, because our youngest is seven years old (we have three). This post rambled in a good way.


And if you don't get me in the draw, try to stop by because I need a quick Spanish translation in the comments on my new post. It has sock puppets. Thanks --Rick

Jennie said...

Hey Kristin
You made perfect sense! ;) I love staying home too, but I do have thoughts of doing something else once in a while too. It isn't Shangri-La, but I feel blessed to be able to do it because I think it's worth it. I wish I could work from home too, but I haven't been that clever yet. ;)

Lostcheerio said...

Does this mean I have to give up my job as a tough-jawed high-minded assistant DA? GOLDERNIT.