I had to take a morning off this week to register my son for Kindergarten. A month ago, I had to take an afternoon off to get the last of the immunizations required to register him for Kindergarten. Two months ago I had to wake up at 5am to stand in line to get an appointment to register him for Kindergarten. Plus I spent a few more hours filling out form after form, getting original copies of all our bills for proof of residency, and checking then re-checking we had everything we needed to register him for local public school.
If Kindergarten is this complicated, then I’m never gonna survive college applications.
The last two months have been so stressful in our house. I’ve got a pretty good grasp on our day-to-day operations. As long as there isn’t any emergency or last-minute schedule change, I tend to do pretty good at balancing what I’m balancing. But the amount of work that went into just getting ready to register my son for school nearly put me over the edge.
How I am ever going to make it through the school-age years working full-time?
Lately I’ve been thinking back to my own childhood. My mom was a SAHM until I was about 8. I remember her picking me up from school, volunteering in my classroom, and being the leader of my Girl Scout troop. I remember coming home to a snack already on the table and a mom ready to help me with my homework if I asked for it. I remember when my mom went back to college to pursue her own career dreams and how much that killed me that I lost a bit of my mom.
These memories almost always lead me down a dangerous path. I fantasize about going part-time or quitting the workforce entirely and becoming a SAHM. I’ve done the numbers over and over again… we could afford reducing my hours at work to 30. But we’ll cut our saving potential – which in this economy just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. Going part-time at my company is almost always associated with career suicide. I can expect to be passed up on promotions if I reduce my hours. Still being in the “money-making” career-propelling years of my life, will I be hurting my long-term earning potential? When my friends and co-workers start getting promoted to Director levels, will I be stuck as a Sr. Project Manager forever?
Then again, considering how much time I’ve had to take off just to get him into school, I’m not sure I can afford to stay full-time. Will all my vacation days be used to cover In-Service Days and the four week-long breaks? I don’t even have that much vacation time available!
I don’t have any answers and am nowhere near ready to make a decision. I don’t know if I’ll have the answer before my son starts school in August. Or if I’ll be crying about more than my baby being a big boy on the first day of school.