Considering how much I absolutely love my job and how much time I invest in it, I don’t really talk about it that much on the blog. So for this post, I wanted to give my take on working and parenting.
First, let me explain what I do for a living. I am the Instructional Technology Specialist for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Fun Fact, before I was an Instructional Technology Specialist, I was a Testing Specialist, before that I was a Media Specialist. Apparently, I am very adept at specializing. When I first got hired at VSU, there wasn’t really a job description for my position. My boss’s words for my job duties were literally four words, and I quote, “Make the faculty happy.” So that’s really what I do. I absolutely love my job. There’s always something different every day, creating videos, fixing computers, managing databases, equipment training, wearing costumes for orientation, or doing a killer impression of one of my bosses…
"Why we got so many cotton pickin' meetings round here?"
My bosses and co-workers were pretty much therapists during all of the horrible and sad times that occurred in my life over the past two years. I don’t think I could have made it if it weren’t for these people at work. If you’re reading this, you know who you are. Thanks guys. I really mean it. The CONHS (College of Nursing and Health Sciences) team has provided so much support and happiness for me. SAPPY ALERT: If you don’t want the sap, just scroll until you see the picture of cartoon manatee . It will be over then) Ok, here’s the truth. To me my job is much more than what I do. Sure, I’m good at tech stuff and enjoy it, but I view my job as a way to help return relieve I have received from my work family. I call them my family, because they are. Time after time, I honestly had no idea how I was going to manage time wise or money wise. I was having panic attacks. However, my work just said “work from home or bring them up here”. Other times, they took up a big college wide fundraiser (without my knowledge) amongst themselves to raise money for my childcare. They have come in my office and when they have overheard me crying from the hallway and just sat with me. They have heard me scream and yell through my office walls on the phone and not passed any judgment. They have always made me kids feel welcome at work. They invited me into my their offices just to check on me and cheer me up. They show immense concern for the difficulty of balancing work with raising kids alone. I’ve had people ask me why I don’t just move closer to family or close friends. Honestly, it’s because of the people I work with. Every single person up there is an amazing person, and I feel so blessed to be able to help with projects. So yeah, I can’t really express how much weight my bosses and co-workers have lifted from my shoulders just being supportive and kind. It’s really not their job; they are just really that kind and understanding.
Enough with the sap Seth…
Balancing work and kids can be extremely hard. Even with a flexible work schedule, I still have quite a bit of responsibilities at my job. I typically am handling 3 or 4 major projects at a time while also assisting each individual faculty with their own personal projects, all while doing day to day tech responsibilities: updating the website, troubleshooting and tech repair, managing the blog at work, etc. It can get a bit overwhelming at times if I don’t keep on top of things. Honestly, my kids don’t get it, neither should they have to. In their eyes, dad lives the dream life. He just sits around work coloring pictures, eating snacks, and watching Netflix (what they typically do while they are at my work). Most days after picking up my kids, I give the kids “free time”. This normally consists of me handing out pop-tarts and begging them to not cover the entire living with baby powder (happened before.), microwave a 2 liter of coke (happened before.), or flushing socks down the toilet (happened before.).
Ever try cleaning up baby powder?
I would rather puke up twice based lasagna than do that again.
Once I go over the rules of that day’s free time, I sit down at my desk in my room and somewhat barricade myself to get back to work. My job is nice, because I can do a lot of things anywhere as long as I have a computer and internet access. Normally, I have to scream through my closed bedroom door for them to stop stabbing each other with plastic swords or not to eat the spider Neela just caught, but all in all it works out fine. I will say that when I’m finishing up my work for the day, I always have a mixture of pure terror and utter fascination to see what my kids will have done to the house. This is the honest truth about what happened today when I was working from home and the kids were having “free time”. I open to door to hear some scraping noise and Titus BUSTING OUT laughing. Apparently, he dumped out the Cheez-it’s we got from the store yesterday on the floor and was making a Cheez-it angel (think snow angel) on his back. Every few seconds while waving his hands and feet, he would semi roll over on his side and use his tongue to grab some cheez-it’s for a quick energy boost. Stevie was being good. She was drawing wolves on the ipad. “Ok, I was thinking. This isn’t too bad. Olive is probably playing with blocks and Neela is probably butt naked pretending to be a frog in her closet.” Well, I was wrong. I open the girl’s room to find Olive and Neela “making toys”. This process involved using tampons that Crissy left in the bathroom and lining the bottom of the sand bucket with them. Then Neela would spit into the bucket and Olive was dumping coffee grains onto the spit. Then to top it off, they were mixing vick’s vapor rub and leaves from outside together into some sort of menthol foliage combination for the top layer of the “toy”. Luckily, I stopped the process before they could actually play with that monstrosity.
However, a lot of times, they come to work with me. They are actually super well behaved at my work and my bosses and co-workers are so friendly and accepting of my little rugrats. My kids have attended graduations, convocations, orientations, trainings, faculty meetings, and many other events. They are pretty much pros at going to work with dad. We are like a herd, just all walking around in a big ole group. Everyone seems to have their own role within the group:
Stevie: Equality Control- In charge of making sure everyone has their fair share of absolutely everything. She will seriously time the other kids at the water foundation… “OK STOP!!! You have had 4 seconds of water. NEXT!!!” Or when it comes to crayons. “Ok guys, there is one blue crayon. We can all use this for 10 seconds at a time, or I can get dad’s work scissors can cut it into tiny pieces for us to share.”
Neela: Swing and Miss Humor- I don’t know if you watched Neela’s little video when she was telling the jokes or read the post about Neela and Stevie getting in fights about Neela’s bad jokes, but I can tell you one thing for certain. That girl is going to be cracking some jokes. I’m pretty sure her motto is just keep talking until someone either laughs or growls at you like a coyote to get you to stop.
Titus: The Idea Man – Titus is a big concept thinker. He’s not really interested in the details of a plan. He just sees the big picture and how awesome it will be. For example, we were all in my office and I saw Titus’s face light up. I asked if he needed to go potty. He said yes and then insisted that Neela needed to go to. Well, after about 12 minutes of them being gone, I finally take a break from my work, get up from my desk, grab the other two kids, and walk around the hallways looking for them. Apparently, Titus has pushed some chairs close to the vending machine. He has Neela standing in the chair pressing buttons, while he is talking about all of the candy he is going to eat. Side note, our vending machines are in little glass rooms. So I literally stood there and watched them try to get candy out of this machine by pressing random buttons with no money for like 3.5 minutes
Olive: Physical Fitness Ensurer- Olive can be a runner. “Olive, where are you going? Olive? Olive?! Olive, you cannot slide down eight flights of stairs on your stomach! Don’t even think about it. Crap. She’s going for it.” I get in a lot of sprints trying to save Olive’s life on a daily basis. Ps. I say Olive's name about 4,213 times a day. :)
Lastly, I usually try to get some more work done at night when the kids are in bed. Actually right after I post this, I’m about to finish up a faculty project in Photoshop. This is probably the most peaceful way to work, but definitely the least comfortable. My kids really enjoy sleeping in the bed with me. (I know. It’s not good. It’s a long story. Trust me, I’m working on it.) So every night, just like right now as I type this, I am laying on my stomach with Olive sleeping on my back, Neela sleeps under my legs between my knees and my feet, Stevie is sleeping sideways and jabbing her boney little feet into my ribs and Titus passed out and snoring like chainsaw on the mattress in my closet (Yeah, it’s freaking legit in my closet). No matter how much I act like I don’t like it, I really do love it. I love them and I love my job. It’s the perfect life for me right now.