So how is life since I went back to work? Not too bad actually. It was somewhat chaotic at first. We had to juggle and mesh a lot of schedules. I had already scheduled many medical appointments that had to be worked around. But, now I am only scheduling appointments on my off days. I was only supposed to work 2 days per week, but it has turned into three. Three is actually better, just for paycheck purposes relative to additional costs incurred due to working.
I leave between 8:00 and 8:30 am, depending on who I have to pick up after school. It's a half-hour drive. I work 6 hours and I am home no later than 3:30. The girls and Blake arrive home about the same time. I don't have to pick up Emery from therapy until 5 pm. My two days off are the days Emery goes to school, so getting her on and off the bus is not an issue. Btw, I love my 30 minute drive back and forth to work. It is so peaceful and I have total control over the radio! It's the little things that make me happy.
The morning routine was a bit stressful at first, but I have it down to a science now. I can enjoy a cup of coffee, shower, get myself ready, pack lunches and backpacks, make a quick breakfast for the twins, get Emery ready and get Blake off to school in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Bruce takes Emery to therapy and then everyone is where they are supposed to be. Bruce has had to take some vacation time here and there to handle some appointments and odd days off of school. Fortunately, his work/life balance is very flexible where he works now.
We have worked out after school activities as well. I normally take everyone where they have to go and Bruce picks them up on the way home from work. If we are in a bind, Nicole fills in. We do have days where we have overlaps. They are hard to avoid when Ashley has cheer practice five days a week. So, if we have two pick ups at the same time at different locations, We are just a little late picking up Ashley. It all works out.
Dinners are interesting. I try to make two-night meals. I prepare a meal for Sunday/Monday so we can just do a warm up Monday, which is a work day. Tuesday is a day off work, so I make another two-night meal to cover Tuesday/Wednesday, with Wednesday being a work and warm up day. Thursday's are more difficult because it is another work day. We usually do something simple like frozen pizzas or make your subs. Then Bruce usually cooks on the weekends or we do takeout.
I manage all the laundry on my two days off with the exception of bedding. Bedding is on a rotating weekend schedule. I tried doing the grocery shopping on Tuesdays. But, it was a struggle getting that done, laundry and making dinner before school was out. With homework, activities, and therapy pick up, doing any household chores after 3:30 isn't an option. So, I grudgingly changed my grocery shopping day to Sunday mornings. If I get there by 9:30 am, I can avoid the mass craziness. If I'm lazy and don't get there until 10 ish, I'm there forever fighting the crowded aisles and waiting in long check out lines. So my Sunday morning is normally wiped out by the shopping, paying, loading, unloading and unpacking of groceries. I am not a fan of grocery shopping btw.
The one thing that I have splurged on since going back to work is house cleaning service. I pay a service to come once every other week to clean the main level of the house (the girls clean the lower level). I would be way too overwhelmed and stressed out, if I had to fit that in my schedule. Plus I am old and completely zapped out of what little energy I have by the end of the day. I want to keep Saturday's open for Ashley's cheer competitions, being at the cottage during the summer and any other family things that come up. The house needs cleaning way more than once every other week, but I tidy up when I can and try not to worry about it. It's a give and take situation for sure.
I love my accounting job and I am very grateful for the part-time position. It feels good do be out and about and have some interaction with adults.
We will be experiencing some new challenges once the kids are out of school for the summer. It will be interesting to see how that all unfolds. Emery will be in therapy three days a week. Blake will need a sitter on the days I work. With the girls summer jobs and activity schedules, I will most likely not be able to depend on them entirely to babysit Blake. I'm going to try to adjust my work schedule to coordinate with their schedules as much as possible. I want to keep day care costs to a minimum. In addition, I'm going to have to figure out a tutoring schedule for Blake. I don't want to lose everything we have gained with him regarding education. It will be interesting for sure.
So all in all, working part-time has worked out. We have all had to make some adjustments. But, everyone has chipped in and things are as smooth as can be expected. Glad I had this opportunity. The extra money will be appreciated when college rolls around in a year and a half (sniff...I'm going to miss my Nikki girl).