I am not a stay-at-home mom. But I enjoy a lot of the same perks. I don’t work a full-time job outside the home. But I have a lot of the same benefits. Since my children started in public schools four years ago, I have been in this In-between Place.
My job as a self-employed hair stylist allows me to have a schedule that revolves around the kids’ school schedule; I only work during school hours. I worked in my industry for several years before I was able to have this schedule.
To be honest, it made me really nervous at first. I was used to working until 6 pm during the week and every other Saturday. Those hours are in high demand for clients because (of course) other people have jobs, too, and want to be able to come when it is convenient to their schedule.
Once my kids were in school however, priorities shifted.
I wanted to be there when they got home from school: to help with homework, hear about their day, and cook dinner. I wanted to be able to chaperone field trips, volunteer in the classroom, and work at the book fair.
So, despite my fears, I stopped working Saturdays. And I changed my hours so that I’m now off at 3 pm. I was worried that I would lose a lot of clients, but that didn’t happen. Almost every client understood my decision and made arrangements that fit with my hours.
So now, here I am: PTA President, classroom volunteer, Head of Props for the school play productions, and all around general fixture at the school—basically, everything I wanted to be involved in.
I am so very thankful that I was able to make these changes, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That said, there are some cons to this arrangement, too.
- I make less money.
- I am responsible for most of the domestic work because I have way more flexibility than my husband.
- I end up being the default parent when something happens with the kids. Say that school is canceled due to weather or a kid gets sick. My work, which I really enjoy, is the one that gets put on hold 99% of the time.
- It gets tough to constantly switch gears. I know that I am not unique as a mother who fills a lot of different roles, but I have to acknowledge that it can be exhausting.
This is the crux of the matter: I am in the In-between Place
…between self-employed business owner and PTA board member.
…between hair stylist who has to stay on top of the latest trends in my field and coordinating the school picnic.
…between Domestic Goddess and strong female role model.
But aren’t we all between roles?
Don’t we hear all the time how important it is to strike a balance in our lives? For me, the balance has only come with determination and lots of practice.
I have learned to say no when my plate is full. I have also learned to embrace that I am just That Mom who loves to bake cookies and organize Spirit Week just as much as I love owning my own business and learning new hair coloring techniques.
I have always been one to have a million different things going at once. I actually function better that way now that I have accepted it as a strength and stopped apologizing for it.
I have realized that my In-Between place is the life that I have worked hard to create and curate. And I love it.