Working on Work After (Staying Home With) Kids – First Steps!

Ever since my four-year-old was around six months old, I’ve been wondering what my life will be like after I return to work (which will be when our youngest child starts kindergarten, which is full day in our district). Being a stay-at-home-mom is great – like herding the most adorable cats in the world – but it will end one day. I will hang up my yoga pants and rejoin the rat race.

(Actually, I don’t wear yoga pants during the day … that was just a SAHM stereotype … am I right, moms?!)

Today I took my first step in that direction, and while I don’t usually blog about myself and my life per se on this blog (it’s funnier to poke fun at this parenting gig and my children!), the topic of parenting and work is equally confusing, exciting, and terrifying to me. In short, it’s a perfect conversation starter for us. 

Exactly four years ago, I quit my job in anticipation of my first daughter’s birth and my new job starting – the job of being a SAHM mom, of course. It seems like far less than four years ago! I was a mechanical engineer then, and when I rejoin the workforce I might take a similar job. Or I might become a high school or community college teacher in math or physics. Or … well, I have several other choices, but let’s stick with the science and math choices.

This morning I tested the waters of being a teacher, and boy was I nervous! I taught two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes at my local library, one for 2-5 year-olds dealing with numbers in nature and one for 4-7 year olds dealing with building stable structures.

Building stable structures

I did some tutoring about two years ago, but that is nothing compared with teaching a bigger group! I’m used to my own kids, and only two of them, so to teach ten unknown kids?! As they trickled into the room this morning, I thought, “What did I get myself into?!”

Eight kids (half boys, half girls) showed up for the first class, and seven (just one girl!) showed up for the second, so it was very manageable – phew! Thankfully, everything went smoothly. I felt very natural talking to all the kids. They were well-behaved, so I think I was lucky. And the parents were there to help their own kid if needed, so a real disaster couldn’t happen.

I surprised myself, in the end. I didn’t mess up reading the book I selected for each class, I kept the class moving, I kept all the kids engaged and interested in the subject (sometimes tough when it comes to numbers and such – I get it), and my activities for each class went over well. And, the kids had fun! One little boy even stayed an extra fifteen minutes at the end of one class to play more with the materials! Oh, my heart!

There are no pictures from the event, sorry; I didn’t want to take photos of other peoples’ kids, or even their creations (crafted “creatures” and marshmallow/spaghetti buildings). I’m sure that would make this post more interesting! The big issue I’m trying to talk about here is moving forward in life.

Aren’t we all trying to do that?

Raise our kids well.

Prepare them for school.

Prepare ourselves to rejoin the workforce – sometimes that means changing careers, like I might do.

Prepare our households and family budgets for the changes.

Get our head back into the game of working (for me that means getting my math center going strong again! Does it mean that for anyone else?).

It’s a lot to go through. Being a stay-at-home parent is mentally tough, right? I think it’s important to keep our career skills sharp and keep our eye on the ball – while our eyes are physically on our kids – of where we want to be in a few years.

It’s never too early to start preparing for going back to work. Does anyone else have a little timeline of when you need to start taking courses, polishing a resume, or applying to jobs? We parents have so much to juggle at times, but for us, just ourselves, adding this to the list is crucial.

I’m so satisfied with how today went, and I’m so very glad I took this step to see if I enjoy teaching a group, if I still enjoy the STEM field. This was a good first step for me. Here’s to a few more baby steps in the future!

What about you? What are you working toward, and what steps have you taken or plan to take?

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14 thoughts on “Working on Work After (Staying Home With) Kids – First Steps!

  1. Good for you! I’m glad it went well! I’ve thought about this too. Keeping my license current is my goal… but participating in enough continuing education courses while home is proving to be difficult so far. I’m hoping to find a rhythm though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, I bet you do have continuing ed classes…. You are doing great for trying to do it! I hope you can keep up with it. Do you work on it at night, or do you get a break during the day to do it? I find nighttime work hard because I’m often mentally exhausted…..

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  2. I don’t even like yoga pants. They stick to my leg hair rather uncomfortably. 😛

    I think it’s great that you’re dabbling your toe in. It sounds like you did wonderfully.

    I also quit my job right before having my first baby in anticipation of staying home, but I didn’t have much of a career at that point, and I wound up going back to school to train for my current career when Brainiacal was 2 years old. Unpredictable was born while I was in school and working half-time at a job I lucked into that wound up being GREAT for career experience. I really, really, really liked working half-time when the kids were little bitty, and I might have kept doing it until the kids were out of high school if I hadn’t needed the money from full-time work. I loved getting the recognition, intellectual stimulation, adult interaction, etc. and still getting to be the one to pick them up from preschool and spend the afternoon on the playground with them. Bonus, I was getting my foot in the door career-wise; employers can tell just as much about how you are as employee from part-time work as they can from full-time work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that part-time work sounds like a dream. I agree that working that amount of time is pretty much ideal since you get to be there for them when you need them – and you get to have adult time. Brain growth plus kid time – wonderful! But sometimes the budget calls, yes…
      That’s good news that employers can see what you’re about via part-time experience. I’m sure it’s not exactly the same as working full-time, but it’s something. And hey, we moms are raising kids at the same time!

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  3. I’m glad your class went well! I need to try that marshmallow/spaghetti thing with LM, I think he’d enjoy that.

    I’ve been out of the traditional workforce for almost 10 years. I’ve owned a business and have done freelance work in that time, but that’s not quite the same. I’ve got two years until Baby Girl starts kindergarten (the thought of which about makes my heart stop), and I don’t have a clue what I’ll do. I’m torn between going back to college and working on a masters in social work and between just finding a part-time teaching assistant job, so I can be available to the kids. Or work on a book. Gah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He definitely would!! The 6- and 7-year-olds in the class excelled. Just make sure you mark clearly which pieces are for the cubes, the diagonals, and the pyramid roof pieces. I suggest using white spaghetti, wheat spaghetti, and spinach spaghetti flavors. Wish I’d done that.

      That’s a long time! Maybe you can work on the book and be a teacher’s assistant at the same time? Or do some freelance work and be a TA? Although advanced schooling never hurts. 😉 I bet there’s a way you could go back to school and do PT work as well, somehow… right?

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  4. How fun! I feel like the kind of kids whose parents take them to the library are the kind who enjoy learning.
    So far, I have kept my teaching certificate current, but I have to renew every 5 years, which requires college credits. Soooo, the current plan is in about 3 years (so it overlaps nicely with that renewal date AND the next one), I will start doing a Masters in Library Science to become a school librarian. I already have a Masters in teaching reading, so it’s along the same track, ya know? And being a school librarian would be so much fun (and hopefully a little less work than a classroom teacher). That way, I can go back to work once the kiddo(s) are in school and hopefully have similar hours.

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