It is that time of year…early to rise, buses to catch, and carpools to wait in.
That’s right. The time has come for the “Back-to School” season to be in full swing. Parent are prepping backpacks, stuffing snacks in lunch boxes, and buying the eighteenth million package of pencils. Simultaneously, moms and dads are eagerly looking forward to 8 uninterrupted hours of solitude.
“To work or not to work?” That is the question.
Does the return of the children to school and studies mean a return to work for the adults?
Approaching the answer to this question looks like weighing out the pros and cons of returning to part-time or full-time work loads. As we know, there is certainly a “give and take” to balancing a career with car pools and book fairs.
For our family, transitioning out of classical homeschooling for the last four years in a row into the hustle and bustle of public school for the first time in a looooong time has been…challenging.
I have worked remotely for the last seven years as a vocational ministry leader and military missionary. But learning how to juggle all of my roles and responsibilities while chauffeuring four children to four different schools has definitely showed me where my capacity threshold caps off.
But, to encourage the would-be workforce goers, here are some questions to ask while you decide if the work is worth it.
First, ask yourself if will you incur extra expenses that would offset the benefit of a second income? Will you have to utilize extended childcare? Or, depending on where you are planning to be employed, you may incur extra expenses in gas and auto maintenance.
Next, consider whether or not your motivation to return to work is financially driven. Is the desire to go back to the workforce directly connected to a want for friendship or community? If so, work could be an amazing opportunity to get plugged in or meet new people. On the contrary, a short-term volunteer option or a string of connection events could do the trick without over extending yourself.
Lastly, if you do decide to jump back into a job, make sure to factor in ways to release or recalibrate a few of the domestic tasks- like cleaning bathrooms or cooking dinners. I don’t know about you, but after a full 8 hours of running meetings, answering phone calls, and fielding problems, the last thing I want to do when I get home is tackle the laundry monster on my couch or start scrubbing floors. Try to make a plan to let a few things lighten the load through planning, delegating, or just lower the expectation around housekeeping.
Whether or not you return to the workforce, may the odds be forever in your favor. As it stands, I’m not quite sure there is enough caffeine to propel my sleepless and legging-clad body through another melt down over lost shoes, missing homework, or unending car pool lines.