articles / Family life

Back to tag-team parenting

Right after I got out of college in 2012 I started working at Cracker Barrel waitressing at night. I was able to be with Josiah and homeschool for preschool all day and then when Jimmi got home at 2 p.m. I started getting ready to go to work. Tag, Jimmi was it. I’d go to work and Jimmi would hang out with Josiah, make him dinner (or take him to Grandma’s for dinner), sometimes do “homework” I assigned because we didn’t get to it during the day. There were days that I didn’t even see Jimmi, but ended up dropping Josiah off at his grandparents and Jimmi picking him up when he got off of work.

We did this from July 2012 until March 2013. At that time I saw an opening at the local newspaper and I jumped at the chance. I prayed about it of course and felt that’s what I needed to do. Josiah went to preschool and I went to work during the daytime full-time. Once I got pregnant with Samuel in June, I slowly started to figure out that working 9-5 or 9-6 was not what I wanted to do. I didn’t want my kids in daycare all day. And I wanted to homeschool. For those of you that follow my blog or know me personally, you know that I left the newspaper in January right before Samuel was born and I’ve been staying at home every since.

Jimmi started college last Monday to get his certificate in Automotive Technology. This is a one year program so he’s in class from about 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. That’s a 26-hour course load. Up until last Friday, Jimmi was intending on getting a part-time job in the evening to support the family and nothing else would change. Except for the fact that between school, work, and church Jimmi would be so busy that I’d basically be a single-stay-at-home-mom. Our house payment will be covered by grant money, but still it was debatable as to whether Jimmi would find a part-time job that would allow him to work enough hours in the week after 5 p.m. to provide for the other bills.

I spoke with Jimmi and made a decision. I called my old boss at Cracker Barrel and asked for my night job back. It’d been a year and a half since I’d quit, but I was hopeful I’d get my job back. Right before I left there I’d been selected as a trainer and I received employee of the month. I called my old boss Friday afternoon and he had me come in Friday night to talk to him. He was happy I’d called and hired me right away.

*Sidenote: This is a good lesson on not burning bridges. In order to be eligible for re-hire you have to give a two-week notice AND stay until the very last day or you cannot ever work at any Cracker Barrel ever again. Seriously. Don’t burn bridges because you never know when you might need to back track.*

Tonight is my first night going back. Since it’s been so long I have to go through the training program again, but my boss said I’m going to get the abridged version. After eight months of not working outside of my home it’s kind of nerve-racking thinking about someone else having a huge say in my day-to-day life. No longer can I jump up and go like I want because someone else lets me know when I’ve got work to do.

For the time being I have no problem playing two roles. I am capable of taking care of my children all day and homeschooling and then working at night. What makes this such a good thing for us right now is that my kids will be with one of their parents all the time. I’m not taking them to a sitter (those of you that know me know that I’d never drop my kids off at a “sitter”) and I’m not paying for some stranger at a daycare to keep them. Samuel is 6 1/2 months old and is nursing less because he’s eating more so I’m not worried about him. Josiah is already a year ahead in homeschooling so although I don’t anticipate me having a problem keeping up with school stuff I know that if we do slack off he’s still not going to get behind.

Even though my first choice would be to be with my kids, I am happy that Jimmi will get some good bonding time with the kids. There will be days when they spend the evening at Jimmi’s parents, but at least Dad will be there and in charge. And before anyone says, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re husband will babysit 4-5 nights a week like that,” or something along those lines, I think that the idea of the FATHER babysitting is ludicrous. Dad’s do not babysit. They parent. They are parents. And yes, my husband is quite capable of taking care of his own children for a few hours in the evening. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound rude, but it drives me crazy when people act like dads are incapable of caring for their children without burning the house down. I haven’t heard any comments like this yet, but I did a lot before and I hated it.

Anyway, moving on.

I’m not so sure what to call myself now because many would say I’m now a working mom simply because I’m working outside of the home. However, I’m still primarily taking care of everything at home and the kids and with bedtime being at 8 p.m. I’m only missing out of 4-5 hours of time with them. I’m still spending about 7-8 hours a day taking care of the kids needs and homeschooling. I may not spend 24/7 with my kids anymore, but I still consider myself fortunate because I will still be spending the majority of their waking time with them.

I’m sure there will be days when I’m tired. I’m sure there will be days that we won’t do school work just because. I’m sure there will be days that the dishes won’t get done. But you know what, we sacrificed a lot the 4 years I was in college in order to pay the bills. The next 9 months of tag-team parenting won’t seem like much at all and I hope it flies by fast.

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