Sunday, January 18


It wasn't nearly as painful as i had imagined it could be. Returning to work this week was seamless, almost painless, and certainly stress free. Having a 'wife' makes life a piece of cake. I feed the bean when he wakes up, then i take a shower, dress, get my breakfast and lunch orgnised for the day, drink the coffee thats been made for me, kiss everyone good bye and walk out the door.

Im very lucky to be able to go to work under such conditions, to have a partner at home full time to take care of family life. Working without the emotional worries, logistical complexities and financial pressure of paid child care makes going back to work a relatively easy proposition. There's no seperation anxiety on either side. For me the decision to have another baby at this stage of my mothering life with 2 relatively independent bigger beans was dependent upon not having to go the paid child care option but i wanted to keep working. He went for it.

I went for a run in my lunch hour on Friday when I'd had enough of sitting in an office looking out at the hills and sunny weather. I find making time for myself is so much easier when Im not at home and i can work it into a weekly schedule. As i worked my way through acres of old olive groves and alongside the river with its beautiful native shrubs and wonderful lemon scented gums i felt so free and so deliriously happy that i had tears running down my face. Im glad i had my sun glasses on... I was running in this glorious environment, B1 was off in the city with her friends, B2 was at that moment performing on stage doing show no 6 of her youth theatre production and babybean was at home asleep being looked after by his Dad and my PhD was back on the burner and looking in good shape. I couldnt remember ever feeling so content. I was at that moment One.Happy.Camper.

Leaving them both like this to navigate their relationship by exiting the primary carer dynamic for the days Im at work has certainly changed the dynamic when Im home. No longer am i the first one on deck to change a nappy, to throw a load of nappies on or to think about what the boybeans next meal may be. Simon naturally takes ownership of these a little quicker than when we were both at home looking after the little bloke; he's thinking about parenting all the time as a consequence of doing it full time. He's loving it and I'm loving him loving it; it makes all that pumping at work worth it. It also makes getting home really special.

Only 480 weeks to go...


Rixa said...

I'm glad to hear you're so happy with this new transition back to work. It's pretty rare to have a situation like yours. My husband keeps bugging me to get a full time job so he can stay home with the kids! Thing is, I really don't have a burning desire to work full time. Slight problem, eh? So I laugh and say, "maybe later..." I do want to keep my foot in academia though, so I'm going to look into teaching a class here or there at his university. Our ideal would be to share one tenure-track appointment so that our overall workload isn't any higher, but he can have more at-home time and I can keep up with my academic interests. I really would love to have funding to do research and, especially, go to conferences. The kind of conferences (childbirth, breastfeeding, etc) I go to are really fun ones!

elburro said...

That sounds so great on so many levels. I've long thought that having each parent taking time as primary child carer is essential in preventing the polarization of roles that seems to happen when one parent works and the other stays home. In your situation, even if you are always the out-of-home worker from now on in, you've still had the experience of being primary caregiver, so you can fully appreciate the efforts of the stay at home partner. And getting to work at a career you're interested in without having to feel guilt? Beautiful.

Kel said...

rixa- no desire here to work full time either! i do 3 days a week which is just perfect. job sharing is a great way to go if you have supportive employers-go for it.

elburro- it suits us perfectly and being prone o guilt..extra perfect for me. You're absoloutely right- its not until full time parenting is shared do people get an idea of just what is like- how often have i heard guys say after they went back to work after doing a 6 month stint at home "work is soo much easier!".