Becoming a PTSAHM

Most people are baffled when they realize I am a part time working mom of quadruplets.  I have absolutely no doubt that if we had only one baby (or even one baby at a time) that I would be a full time working mother, and it would be perfectly fine.  For seven years, I practiced school psychology in an urban school system.  Yes, the job was often taxing and usually thankless, but it was part of my identity.  I always hoped to be a model of female independence for my children by continuing to practice.

Having quadruplets put a kink in the whole powerful, working mom gig.  Even with a post graduate education, working in the public school system is not lucrative.  At all. The cost of full time childcare would easily exceed my income, which forced us to consider the options.  A few of my colleagues were able to work out part time positions so I approached my then boss about becoming part time as well.  At the time, our district and my boss put the kibosh on part time employees because it’s a complex process.  Yet, it was the only option for me.  Either I transitioned to part time employment or I quit working to be a full time stay at home mom.  When I announced our pregnancy news to my boss and proposed working part time, I recall his gobsmacked expression.  He joked that I “pulled the quad card.”  I guess I did.  Perhaps if I was only expecting one baby my proposition would have been quickly and harshly denied.  It took several months for my part time position to be approved by the district, but it was just before the quads were delivered. I am forever thankful for it.

Working in the school system affords me school holidays, including a two week winter break.  I savor family time, but it is also a reminder why I am a Part Time Stay at Home Mom (PTSAHM).  Raising quadruplets is an immense task and being home with them 24/7 can really get to a person.  During my two week “break”, I found myself becoming increasingly impatient with both the quads and George.  It seemed that they bickered almost constantly.  I heard frustrated squeals because I was on the other side of the gate, someone took a toy, someone was pushed, someone had a coveted toy, there were no more snacks…you name it, there was plenty cause for turmoil.  After two glorious weeks, we had enough togetherness; I was plenty ready to go back to work.  If you’re not convinced that anyone would want to go to work and leave their children, take a look at this-

Breaks from work make the benefits of working part time glaringly obvious to me.  I earnestly believe I am better as a wife/ mother AND as an employee from working part time.  I get the best of both worlds.  I have opportunities to raise my children and witness their growing up years, yet I also keep up with the professional world.  Two days per week, I spend time having adult conversations, dressing in something besides yoga pants, and practicing the craft I spent years in school learning.

I also  see how I need to miss both home and work so I yearn to return to each of them.  When I’ve been at home for days on end, I’m ready to tackle the office.  While I am away, the quads benefit too. They are with fresh faces that teach them new things and present new experiences.  They learn to obey and respect adults besides their parents as well as new skill such as imitating monkeys or naming colors.  Likewise, at the end of a long workday, I can’t wait to see the four little people who will greet me shreiking “Mommy”, sticky fingers, and open mouthed grins.  While being a PTSAHM was probably not something I would have done on my own accord, I am so happy I became a PTSAHM.

Sometimes it feels as if our home is filled with bickering and screams, but there are also plenty of sweet, quiet moments to savor.

Watching the babies explore things for the first time is atop my list of favorite times.  They received these chalkboard mats from Santa and LOVED them.  Uh, Mason also wore a bit of his chalk.

Watching the babies explore things for the first time is atop my list of favorite times. They received these chalkboard mats from Santa and LOVED them.

Sisters hugging, a messy boy, and a sleeping boy all made my day.

Sisters hugging, a messy boy, and a sleeping boy all made my day, and reminded me why I love my days at home.

I absolutely respect mothers who work full time as well as those who stay at home full time.  No matter how you approach it, motherhood is an immensely challenging task.  However, if you find yourself dissatisfied with your scene (full time working or full time home), you may want to consider the possibilities of part time employment, and you may be surprised at the outcome.

hugs!

Amber

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22 thoughts on “Becoming a PTSAHM

  1. I’m working on going back to work part time. I would love to work 2 days a week, I really think I would be a better mom on the other 5 if I got 2 days to do what I do. Right now I have a sitter who comes for a few hours a week for me to have free time, and that is nice, but I don’t know what to do (since I only have a couple of hours, but I do have to get out of the house because our apartment is too small for me to really “get away”). It’s like what you said – to wear clothes without worry of mess, to have adult conversations, and to do the thing you spent years learning how to do (and love doing!), all of that can be so beneficial for self-esteem… I don’t think I would be happy working full time, and I know I would like to do a little less than full time SAHM-ing.

    Also! I really feel like the kids learn a lot from their interactions with other kids and other adults. I become less creative after a while. I don’t know what to do with them every day and we end up doing a lot of similar things. When we have visitors, they learn new skills, try new things.

    So glad that you are able to do to part time work! Where are the kids the 2 days while you’re away?

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    • I’m so glad you are working on being part time! It really is good for self esteem. I have a friend that comes a few hours every other week, and I don’t always know what to do either because it’s so short. Last week I took just two babies on errands and it was great. You might like trying individual time with the twins. It’s good for you and them.
      I agree, staying home 5 days means I lose creativity. I get bored, they get bored, and fussy. Right now, my in laws keep them one day, and my mom the other. It works really well. I would eventually love them to go to a Mother’s Day out program or something a little more structured though. Not sure that’s in our budget, however.

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  2. Great post! So true, all of it. I had the best of both worlds in the same way while my kiddos were growing up; Carrie hopes to work part-time when they return to Papua New Guinea, hopefully early this summer.

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    • Thank you! I hope that Carrie can find the same balance, it would be good for her. Being a SAHM is not an easy task, and with quints + one there are even more challenges.

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  3. This is a great post. Honestly, working part time and raising quads makes you a true hero in my book. I only have three (a three year old and twin babies) and I work full time and while I love it, it definitely leaves me exhausted. Having children has taught me how fleeting time is so when I get stressed because work is extra busy or the kids are going through a phase I just remember that it will pass and to try to enjoy it because before you know it, it will be gone. P.S. I love your blog and read it all the time :-)

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    • Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it =) Don’t sell yourself short though. Twins + one has it’s own challenges, especially if you find yourself really busy at work. The work-home balance is very delicate. Stay tuned, I’m collaborating with a mom of three stair step children about how each of us has our own challenges and perks of our family dynamics.

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  4. L.O.L. @ the first video…. I swear seeing it from your end reminds me I’m not alone…although I only have 3. ;) Kudos to you for being a PTSAHM. I haven’t yet reached a point where I can return to my business and have had difficult times deciding what to do with a foundation I worked so hard to build…I keep telling myself in due time. Hopefully it’ll work out on my end as well that I can too be a PTSAHM! :)

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    • Misery loves company right? I actually sent it to a fellow quad mom who was feeling down about not being able to console all four when they scream. You’re never alone.
      Just like I told Shannon, don’t sell yourself short. Three kiddos has plenty of challenges. You work just as hard as me to provide the best life for them.
      I do hope you’ll be able to figure out how to work part time, I think you’d love the balance. My friend and fellow quad mom is just beginning to work again as a freelance writing and editor part time while her nanny watches the quads a few hours per week. I know it’s good for her getting back in the game. There are possibilities! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment =)

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  5. Amber, I agree with everything you have written here. With 3 kids (stair steps) ages 3-9, flex-time work has suited me well. I made the switch when our oldest was almost one, but as they have grown, I have gradually cut back my hours each year. I’m looking to make another cut in the next 18-24 months if our finances will allow it so that I can be more accessible to our oldest as she enters the preteen years. For me, the key has been keeping my marriage, and then my children, as the priorities in my life. By doing that, it’s been easy to figure out how to handle my career along the way. Thanks for sharing! There’s not a lot of good information out there for the working mom!

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    • You were one of the first moms I saw this so successfully. It really has worked well for you all. It’s interesting that you pointed out you want to reduce work hours as they get older. It really is important to be available for older kids, just like babies. Those are very formative years. I suspect I may unfortunately have to do the opposite for financial reasons. As they go to school, I am hoping to continue part time, but move from 40%-60% or 80%. Even having just one day off in the week, with flex time would afford me opportunities to do things like field trips and parties with the kids as well as account for sick days. However, full time in a school is very different than at a law firm. As long as I continue school practice, I will have school holidays and no late nights. I hope that more employers will support part time working parents because it helps strengthen families.

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  6. Those videos cracked me up! I’m glad you were able to strike a deal to work part time, I have a feeling I would go crazy having to stay home all the time too, but like you said….with 4 it would just be too expensive for full time day care!

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