Sunday, June 21, 2009

Onward to the workforce

I've just scored myself a job - well, it resembles a job in all ways except for the bit where you get paid. I'm going to go in one day a week and do some 'interning' as we call unpaid labour, with a small film production company. Mostly corporate films, some docos, some ads.

L and I have been discussion my job situation. Come July 1, I'm going to be losing the single parents' pension, as the federal government has decided that two people of the same sex do actually have the potential to constitute a couple. Nice, on the whole, and I'm grateful that I had 18 months' maternity leave paid by Centrel1nk. As I've explained in other posts, we're still not recognised in Qld, which means that although L is my partner, she is not seen as the babies' parent. So the fight goes on.

But I digress. I want to talk about going back to work.

At the moment, L has the babies on Thursdays. Financially, it would be nice if L worked four days and I worked three, but we don't really want to put the kids in childcare. I think Louis would be okay, but Pearl is still very clingy. Overall I don't think a bit of childcare is bad, and I've read up on the research (full time long day care from 3 months old = bad; anything else = neutral and the home environment is much more important in determining outcomes. No evidence to support oft-quoted theory that childcare is necessary or particularly beneficial for socialisation and academic achievement UNLESS the home environment is dysfunctional, then childcare can be a protective and positive factor). We had been envisaging leaving Louis and Pearl with Grandma for a day or two but honestly, I don't think she's up to it. Or I'm not up to it. I worry too much. Mum adores the children but she's a bit...absent minded. I think it's very hard to be on top of two toddlers; maybe it's not until you have twins yourself that you become able to do the constant division of attention. Like, if Pearl injures herself, Mum will drop everything and concentrate on Pearl's distress; all well and good except that Louis meanwhile is wandering off in another direction. You can never, ever give undivided attention to one child, when you have two toddlers, and I think that's a learnt skill. Mum gets insulted when I imply that her experience of bringing up three children is insufficient in some way. I think kids of different ages are hard in a different way; it's like comparing, I don't know, care of cats to care of dogs.

Anyway, the point is, that L and I are considering childcare, maybe one or two days a week. And I'm considering whether I want to work; that is, I think about working on the days when I'm not planning to home-school them. And I have lots of mad ideas for home based businesses that are incredibly interesting but not at all lucrative; part of the problem is that I don't think we should be consuming any more than we are, so how can I convince people to buy more stuff? And we're figuring out how we are going to get along on one income, and I've subscribed to a (free) email list that sends me handy hints on how to cook for a family of five for a week using only one potato and some generic label soy sauce (This week's tip: save all your laundry washing up and do it on one day each week - then you only do full loads so you save on water and electricity and washing powder, "I've saved $1200 over twelve months doing this!" writes Lynette from Upper Kumbukta West).

Sorry! How did I get to be here discussing laundry schedules?


StephLove said...

Though I stay at home now, I worked full-time when Noah was little. He started daycare at 16 months (25-35 hrs/week). It was a hard adjustment at first but after two months, everyone was happy. He was at that center for 3 years and overall it was a positive experience.

Congrat.s on finding the job (or job-like). I miss work and am a little jealous.

Anonymous said...

I miss work too, and My Own Money.

My very clingy boy started childcare at 12 months, it took a while for him to adjust, but he settled in and enjoyed some of it. I found having a very clingy baby a bit hard, and having him definitely in care 1 day a week made it easier to give him the care and attention he needed the other six days. It also meant that I got my Masters finished, but the real benefit was the time off from parenting.