As all of my children have entered into elementary school, I have been struggling with the idea of returning to work. After having been gone for so many years, the idea initially seemed daunting. Where do I start? How much do I need to learn to catch up? Do I still even remember how
to be an accountant?
Fortunately, that last one was not so much of an issue, because anyone who is a fully trained accountant knows that your brain is re-wired in business school to think as only accountants do, under a staunch set of rules and regulations, in terms of valuations and numbers. As for being gone so many years, well, that actually wasn't an issue either, since I had had clients from time to time when my children were little, had managed the accounting for our own small business and household (don't scoff; it's a 152-page-long tax return), and spent what little free time I did have volunteering as treasurer for various non-profits along the way.
The question of where to start was answered by an associate at church where I volunteer as treasurer, leading to a bookkeeping position at a wonderful little church nearby. At first I thought it was silly, taking a job that averaged ten hours a month, but then the reality of John's transition to kindergarten set in, and I was grateful to have a job with so few hours. He needed me still on most afternoons, and even though he was doing very well during his three and a half hours of school each day, he was clearly exhausted afterward.
And then that changed. All of a sudden, he was walking himself to class and asking for after-school classes. He wanted to go to extended care, so that he could play with his friends. Then came an email, from another person with whom I volunteer, asking if I would be interested in a bookkeeping/accounting systems design job. The next thing I knew, I had a new client with exciting work in a field that I felt passionate about (Sustainable Agriculture Education
). Combined with my existing job at the church, my hours had increased to 20 hours a week, on the busiest of weeks.
This week was my first week. I count on the kids to take initiative and to help me in keeping the house running through these changes. Both older girls help me with our Daily 7 Chores: making the beds, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the recycling or compost, cleaning the cat box, folding & putting away the laundry, helping prepare food, and getting their little brother to after-school enrichment and home on the bus. It helps to have a meal plan in place and do the bulk of the grocery shopping on Saturday (early). And I still have one flexible day (either Tuesday or Wednesday) to clean the house, work on projects, and volunteer at the school.