Back to Work or Stay at Home?

The adoption leave pay I was getting from the police came to an end. We were getting broke!

The trouble was, I really wasn’t ready to go back to work. It wasn’t the role. I love and miss being a police officer. I had just become too used to being a stay-at-home dad.

My husband and I now have three children: Will, 5, Louis, 3, and Connor, 2 (all in photo above). I adore the time I get to spend with them. The days are busy and full. Will’s at school all day. Louis is at pre-school for half a day and Connor and I get to spend the day together, when he’s not napping. I usually get to enjoy one-to-one time with each of them throughout the day and somehow manage to fit in the rest of the day-to-day bits and pieces. I’ve become a whizz at cramming four hours worth of cleaning and laundry into a 40-minute window. (Don’t tell me any stay-at-home parents don’t have new and impressive time-management skills to add to their resumes!)

I didn’t want to change the routine and life I had become so accustomed to. Asides from this we really couldn’t see how we could manage with both of us working shifts: my husband’s still a full-time police officer and policing hours really don’t match the hours your average childcare provider offers. Also, rightly or wrongly, we really didn’t want to put our kids into childcare just so I could go back to work. That’s not why we had them. Now I know it’s not for everyone, but I want to spend as much time as I can with my kids throughout the day. I couldn’t bear the thought of breakfast clubs and after-school clubs and a quick hour’s play before bed. No disrespect to those parents for whom that’s a choice or those for whom it’s a necessity; it just wasn’t for me. I wanted to do everything I could to avoid going back just yet.

We scrimped and budgeted everything we could off our bills. We developed money saving meal plans. We accepted any offer of hand-me-down clothes that came our way. We tried anything to save a few pounds. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. We quickly came to the sad realization that we just couldn’t afford it! Sometimes reality sucks.

Shortly after, I managed to secure a job which is incredibly flexible, though completely un-police related. The new role means that I can take the hours that suit us, our life, and my husband’s hours and more importantly, the kids. I can earn enough to cover the shortfall we had and pay for a few extras. It’s also meant that we have avoided the need for childcare.

To my surprise, I love it! I love the change of scene, talking to adults, and the using my mind for something other than ABC. Sure I miss the kids, though luckily I still maintain the bulk of the time with them, and wouldn’t want it any other way. I also realize that my desire to stay at home all the time was more about me than them.

The look of joy on their faces when I come home from work after not seeing them for a few hours more than makes it worthwhile! I will return to the police, but right now I’m taking a career break. Now’s not about me. It’s about us. Us and our little family.

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