It’s been 9 months since I first went back to work. After years of being at home, I was able to get up in the morning and have a purpose other than sloppy breakfasts, packing lunches and yelling about where my kids’ shoes are. Being a Mom is priority one but even Moms need an outlet.
My son has only known “At Home Mom”. Since he started kindergarten, I’ve been right there; to take him to and from school, help with homework, etc. Things are different now and he doesn’t like it.
He isn’t selfish. He just wants his Mom available for him like she was before.
I wanted something in my life that doesn’t revolve around my children.
When my current job was presented to me, I was reluctant. I had never worked in the field of employment that was being offered. I was green from being out of work. My concerns regarding my physical capabilities and my enormous self-doubt swirled in my head every time the position was brought up in conversation. Despite the minimal hours (2 days a week, 8 hour days) and what days my shifts would be (Fridays and Saturdays, which would allow my husband to adjust his schedule one day during the week), I considered declining several times but we needed the extra income and that need trumped any other obstacle that blocked my heart’s decision.
So, I became an employed person once again.
When I broke the news to my children, the responses were mixed. The girl was thrilled as only a girl can be about something that sounds like good news. The boy was instantaneously mopey, hesitant in his reaction and voice.
“A park ranger? Do you even know how to do that?”
“Not yet but I’m going to learn.”, I said enthusiastically.
And that’s what I did. I learned. I trained. I failed and I succeeded. I stuck with it and now I love this job. The days are challenging and sometimes scary. Emotions have to be checked. So do egos. But unlike other occupations I’ve had, I get to leave everything at the door. Work does not follow me home. No phone calls or texts (unless someone needs a shift covered). Once I leave, I leave. At home, my focus returns to my children and that makes my grateful for this job.
Lately, my two days a week schedule has become more. I’ll pick up a shift here and there. If it works with my husband’s schedule, then getting extra cash in the bank account is always a plus, right?
Still, my son doesn’t like it. Not after I picked him up in my uniform so he could tell his friends that “my mom’s a ranger with a badge!”. Not after I brought Park Ranger swag like Smokey Bear comic books and friendship bracelets to his class to share. He doesn’t want a mother that is also a park ranger.
He wants me to quit.
This is where my “parent” heart splits from my “non-parent” heart. Having the opportunity to work right now is a freaking blessing. It’s a want AND a need. The good outweighs the bad and that bad outweighs the ugly except the ugly in this scenario is my son’s feelings. His heart. His childhood memories and as much as I stand my ground and tell myself that this is part of life, as a parent I make the decisions with my husband and we need jobs to provide for our families and he will understand later on and it doesn’t matter that he is so upset, it does matter. He matters. His feelings matter. Because he is my son.
It’s time to sit down and talk.