I think one of the things I have struggled with many times is wishing I could work part-time. I would still have many of the benefits from working, but I wouldn’t be gone so much. I went so far as to crunch the numbers in our employee paycheck calculator and evaluate different scenarios…only to realize that it really was not feasible. It is not a matter of just cutting back or changing our lifestyle. It would have meant huge, near impossible changes. When I finally accepted that, it was still hard for me to accept. By that I mean I knew it in my head but my heart was still sad.
I had to literally force myself to find the positives, not only in working but working full-time. I made mental lists, sometimes daily. First I had to convince (ok, try to convince) myself that the grass was not necessarily greener on the other side. I’m not entirely convinced every single day…but it’s on my list, ok?!
One of the benefits to working full-time is that is our schedule. I am a huge proponent of schedules, huge. My kids thrive on schedules, sometimes quite loose, more of a routine, but it is sometimes easier for them to have a work week and a weekend routine vs. something different day to day. Is that the driving reason I work full-time? No, but it really does make it easier at times to know that my kids are well-adjusted.
That being said, another benefit is that I have accrued a good bit of vacation time…and I am not afraid to use it. I have used it for personal time (yes, I have defined that as going to Starbucks by myself on at least one occasion). I have also used it to take my son on a date. While I spend one on one time with my daughter, she doesn’t need the same quantity as my son. My son and I have gone to the toy store…to Monkey Joes jumping zone…to the zoo. If we are specifically going on a special date, we do not run errands. This is time set aside for what he wants to do…not what I can squeeze in on my day off.
An obvious benefit is the money. I do and don’t work full-time for the money. I’ll explain that better later, but going part-time would be a 30% reduction in my salary. It would be the difference between having to send my kids to daycare at least 3 days a week or having someone come to our house to stay with them 5 days or less. We tried daycare and “I” couldn’t cut it so for now this is the best option for us.
And…probably the biggest benefit to working full-time is that I see it as being less stressful most of the time. I have two close co-workers that work part-time. While I am often jealous of their schedule, I see how hard it is to work and try to put in extra time at home. Sometimes it seems like they still have a full time job to do with part time hours. They also feel like they have a lot that they have to accomplish at home because they are home more than at work. Even though I would probably take their hours in a heartbeat, I do see it as an advantage to have 40 hours to dedicate to getting my job done. I find it easier to complete projects and such. I also make it a huge priority to leave on time since I am usually there 5 days a week, whereas I think they struggle with having time to get everything done and feel like they need to keep working since they won’t be there the next day.
I am not saying that going part-time isn’t valuable or worth it. I just think that for me I have to still list the benefits of working full-time in order to be a happy working mom. What about you? Do you think it is easier working one or the other? Is working part-time as awesome as it sounds?