Years before I went back to work full time I was already struggling with the transition between work and home. I had taken a part time job to save up for a trip we took to Kenya. I was doing childcare at a health club 2-3 days a week, 2-4 hours per shift. And even then it was a challenge. I wrote this after working a couple extra shifts one week:
I worked 4 days in a row this week and I am still alive and am not having a break down. Of course have done nothing but work, make dinner and check my facebook page this week but still I am good. I started working this past summer and increased my hours slightly in the fall. After 2 days in a row of working I would literally be on the verge of a mental breakdown and completely incapable of making dinner or caring for my family in anyway. Now, before you feel sorry for me, keep in mind I work less than 10 hours a week. I don’t transition well. But, I am now in the groove of working and I sort of like it. I changed my schedule this week plus picked up someone else’s shift which is why I ended up doing 4 days in a row. I know John was skeptical when I told the girl I would take her Sunday afternoon shift that I would still be in my right mind tonight but I have done it. I feel so powerful.
While going back to work full time has been a crazy challenge, even just going back a couple hours a week can completely change the dynamics of your routine and be a big transition. In some ways part time can be harder because you think you can still be a homemaker and work. So you add work but don’t give up anything as a homemaker. When you take a full time job and are out of the house 9-10 hours a day it is pretty clear sign you are going to need a little extra help around the house and probably can’t continue to chair the fall fundraiser or hit the gym with friends every morning at 9am. When you are part time you continue trying to do it all.
Upon my return to full time work I realized I needed to do some releasing. So I stepped down from my leadership position at church, let my house get messy, I even told my daughters 1st grade teacher we wouldn’t be doing homework that year! For me, I needed to totally wipe the plate clean. Once I was feeling comfortable I started adding things back one at a time. So this summer I agreed to plan the church picnic I have planned in the past and told my daughter we would do homework in 2nd grade. But I continue to avoid long term regular commitments because the rest of my family has irregular schedules and I need to be as flexible as possible.
Once upon a time my whole life was a flexible schedule but now I have a rock in the middle of the day I need to work around. For me, the fewer rocks I pile around that rock the better my life flows.
If you are going back to work part time I would encourage you to consider what changes you are going to need to make. What might you need to release and what will you need to work around? A part time job of only a few hours a week might not feel like a big change but any time we add to our schedule we need to make changes.