Well - I have been working for six months now and I am glad I am working. I love working WIC and hope that where ever we end up in the future that there will be a part time WIC job waiting for me. With that - working has given me that sense of connection that I have needed and have been very much missing since we moved to the hang down state. I work with people I really like, and do something a love. That has helped, but there is always a down side - the balance between work and family. I will admit I have been sucking lately at that balancing act. Working four days a week has been hard on my family. . . . four days of rushing around and having no time to do anything but get kids ready in the morning, work, cooking dinner when I get home, getting the kids ready for bed and then passing out to start it all over the next day. Fridays are spent running around doing everything I have to do in the six hours I don't have children - that is the Fridays I am not actually working (because many of my four days a week have turned into five days). Weekends are spent manically trying to get the house cleaned and laundry done so that we can be ready for another week. It has been hard. Thankfully my four days a week is soon going to be down to three days a week. I did three days a week for years in Michigan, so I know I can do it.
That being said I have realized that something has to give. Part of my crazy week night schedule is that I have refused to budge on what I feed my kids. Real food - that is what I feed them. Things mostly made from scratch and processed as little as possible. A full meal every night - with a main dish, a side dish, and a vegetable. That means that I start cooking at 5:30 when I get home and am cooking until about 7-8 when the meal hits the table. We finish eating clean up and go to bed. To add insult to injury, my efforts to make real food for my kids is usually rewarded with at least one of the children refusing to eat it and the crying of hunger at 9 when they have to go to bed.
Well - I am admitting defeat here. I am admitting that I just can't keep up the stamina of cooking meals like this anymore. I am going to actually add some meals to our menu cycle that are, well, processed foods.
Now - I am not saying that I am going to give up cooking. I am not going to have my kids eating pizza rolls and boxed mac n cheese 7 days a week. . . . but. . . maybe just once or twice a week they can have things that come from a box. Those things they say, "normal" families eat. Why? Because I miss actually spending time with my kids. The last six months has been nothing but this manic, "I have to run around and get the million things done that I have to do because I only have 4 hours a day to get 6 hours worth of work done" and I miss having time to actually be with my kids.
I love my kids, but I must admit that between working 32-40 hours a week, doing house work, and having to clean the same exact things up six different times a day because they have left their shoes on the floor again, and they pulled out all the craft stuff and left it all out on the table and I clean the table off to set it for dinner only to have them re-dirty it again while I am cooking dinner, and finding the socks that the pulled off their feet and tossed under the table so I have to crawl under it to get them, and having to pick up the half empty water glasses everywhere in the house seven times a day. . . . well - to get to my point I am getting kind of resentful towards my kids. I am begging to feel like I am nothing but chef, maid, and money giver - not a person in the house they love - just their slave. I know this resentment isn't fair - I choose to have those kids - they didn't ask to be born. I love my four kids - they are amazing kids - but I have turned into their slave who occasionally drill sergeants them into doing something.
Well - I don't like this - and if having toaster waffles for dinner one night allows me to re-connect with my kids and be more of a mom and less of a slave than I think the benefit those toaster waffles will bring will far outweigh their processedness. . .