Bitter Sweet Back to School
For some, it is the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it means that another summer has just flown by and it's back to regular routines. This year, I experienced a little bit of both. My family and I had a very busy summer and it seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye. Yet the last two weeks it was almost as if my children flicked a switch and their behaviour and frequent boredom signalled to me that they were ready to head back to school. It felt strange to say that because my son hadn't even been to school yet, but they definitely needed something different than the freedom of summer routines.
This year back to school was very different than last year. My daughter is off to grade one, which for her means attending school and riding the bus every day. My son is going to school for the first time for junior kindergarten two days a week and will get to ride the bus as well. But the biggest change for our family is that I will be returning to work after finishing my maternity leave. Now I can't complain because I work in the school system, so I have had the privilege of enjoying an extra-long break from work. My son was born last July and since school doesn't start back until September I have had an extra two months off. My daughter probably won't notice too much that I'm at work because she is away at school, but the boys will notice, especially the youngest because he's used to his mom taking care of his needs. It's hard to pass that responsibility on to someone else. But for many of us, we need to return to work whether it be for personal or financial reasons. Hopefully, like myself, you'll be able to find someone you trust to love and care for your children while you're away and you can head to work knowing that your children are well cared for.
I'm not afraid to admit that returning to work is a tough transition, and not only for the kids. My mind is spinning trying to figure out how to manage all the things I used to do during the day and now go to work on top of all those responsibilities. It was so nice to have the whole week at my leisure to accomplish my “to do” list. Now that “to do” list has to be accomplished before or after work, or more than likely after the kids are in bed. And unfortunately, the days just aren't that long! But I'm starting to realize that the most important thing is to set priorities. What things need to get done and what things can wait for another day? I have to decide what is most important on my list and learn to let the rest go (or delegate a few things to my husband). And I need to make sure that on my list of priorities, I am one of them. I can't take care of everybody else and my other responsibilities if I don't take care of myself. That means carving out some time for 'just me' and I think that will be my biggest challenge. Returning to work is tough, but I've done it before and I know I can do it again, even with one more child added into the mix. It may take some time, but I know we'll find a good rhythm and routine that works for our family and from time to time, I may even be able to check something of my “to do” list.