Walk a Week in My Shoes
I thought we would start this off by writing about what a typical week looks like for each of us.
In February, I left my full time job as a supervisor at a non-profit mental health agency. I now stay at home with my son and in August I will be switching from a graduate Counseling program to a graduate Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. I want to share with you what my life looked like before I resigned and what it is like now.
My husband works 12 hour shifts three or four days a week and he rotates between day and night shifts. On the days that he was not working or sleeping, he would stay at home with our son. When he was also working, my mother-in-law would pick up my son in the morning and watch him until one of us picked him up at her house. Each day for work I would get up, get ready, get him ready and send him with my mother-in-law or leave him with my husband.
At my job I had certain tasks and responsibilities that I had to complete each week to fulfill a monthly quota. I had to attend meetings for the supervisors on my team in the morning on Monday and Tuesday. I had a two hour meeting on Monday that I had to lead. On Tuesday, I took notes at a meeting that was led by the consultant for about an hour. I was responsible for meeting with each person that I supervised for about an hour to discuss their development within their role as a specialist and within the company. I had to meet with so many clients each month to either supervise and train staff or to help with coverage if needed; it was always needed for some reason or another. If I saw a client for the staff member then I had to write the session note and submit it into the paperwork system. I had to read each piece of documentation that a staff member entered into the computer system and either approve it or send it back to them to improve. Each specialist that I supervised would have a caseload of 9-10. Each week they would have 9-10 session notes from where they met with the client. They would also have monthly paperwork due for 2-3 clients each week like treatment plans. I reviewed all of that paperwork for quality and took note of their timeliness score which I later reported in one of my supervisor meetings. I had to read each treatment plan, safety plan and other supporting documentation and would write up a one page sheet (we called it group preparation) that was my direction to them about their treatment plans. I was on call 24/5 for my team for emergencies. Emergencies ranged from a youth has become homeless, to a youth has expressed a suicidal or homicidal thought to anything in between that required staff assistance. I was also on call on one weekend a month for the entire office. Emergencies for each program varied from a youth ran away from home, expressed suicidal or homicidal thoughts or any other concerning behavior. To basically sum up my job, I drove, wrote, typed and talked on the phone a lot.
The semesters that I was in class, I would go to class starting at 5 pm until 8 pm at the latest. I would do homework whenever I had breaks at work or when I got home at night. The days that I didn’t have class I would drive 30 minutes away to pick up my son and drive home in rush hour traffic. I would make dinner and get my son ready for bed. I usually had a million things that I didn’t get done during the day that I would stay up doing after my son had fallen asleep.
On Saturdays, I would clean as much as I could, go grocery shopping and run any errands that I couldn’t do during the week. On Sundays we attend church for three hours. After church I would try to spend time with my family. We do not go shopping, watch television or work on Sundays so I would basically play with my son all day and squeeze in a nap if possible.
Now that I am a full-time stay at home mom, my life is much simpler, easier and less stressful. Most days, except Tuesdays and Sundays, my son and I wake up anywhere between 7-9. We get breakfast and I let him play while I get ready. I get him ready and we usually go to the library for a story time or a play group. There are several libraries close to us that have different story times so we rotate between each of them. We come home for lunch and then play until he takes a nap. I either clean or nap while he naps. We usually go outside after his nap and then come in and make dinner. After dinner we play a little more and then get ready for bed. My son magically falls asleep right at 10:30 pm no matter what time I try to put him to bed. After he goes to sleep, I usually try to get some of the things done that I cannot do with him around and then I go to bed.
On Tuesdays my mother-in-law takes my son with her for the day. I clean as much as I can on these days. I also attend a community French class at the local Catholic church. I took French in college and did horrible at it. I learned Spanish after college and so I wanted to try my hand at French again. I really want to go to Marseille one day and I like to keep my mind busy learning new things. On Sunday, we attend church for three hours and then try to visit family.
As you can see there is a big difference in my life before and after resigning. The reason I decided to leave my position was to be able to have more time with my son and to focus on my graduate program. I feel a lot less crazy these days and my house is so much cleaner. We have also been able to do a lot more as a family.