Well, I did it. I applied for, and received permission to take, a leave of absence from work. Granted it doesn't take effect until September 2013, but it's the best I can do. And despite some griping from my husband - who thinks I rarely work as is, since I've been off on back-to-back-to-back mat leaves, basically - it's the best solution for us. (By the way, I'll leave that well enough alone for now, since most of you who read my blog fully know just what being a SAHM entails. It's not as if we sit around all day with our feet up doing absolutely nothing.)
So I am getting a full year off... in 4 years' time!!! I'll be off the year Braylon is in SK and Caleb in JK, which means I will be able to be home with them each on their days off (assuming Strathroy - if we even live here still - does not yet get full time kindergarden programming by then, which may be the case... either way, I'm off!). I'll be able to take all of my kids to school, participate in their school activities (fields trips and such), and not have the overwhelming responsibilities that come with my job, for once. (Can you tell I'm already dreading returning in September? How will I possibly plan lessons and mark for 3 courses, commute 2+ hours daily, and take care of 3 kids? With Greg on 2 weeks of afternoons every two weeks too? Argghh, can you sense the stress?)
It's definitely a financial concern, though, because I'll be taking a pay reduction in order to be "paid" the year I don't work. And considering I haven't received full pay for a full year since 2005, I'm not sure how this will pan out. I suppose, in a way, we've been living off a reduced rate since Isaiah was born, so I'm used to budgeting with financial constraints. However, we're sick of living so tight, and taking this extra year off means tying into four more years of doing so.
But I truly feel it is what is best. I'll hopefully finally be able to take courses to better myself as an educator that year as well, not to mention move up the grid. And I'll be less restricted time-wise for travelling, so should Greg manage to get full time at Toyota by then, and therefore be given holiday allowance, we could take a vacation outside of prime time. That would be nice! And best of all, did I mention, I'll be home with my kids! WOO HOO!! Honestly, I really wish I could stay at home with them to be their primary caregiver from now until that point. I know it's not feasible, as in my career giving up my position means giving up teaching entirely, really. Quitting in my board - even with the intent to return at some point - is quitting for life; there are far too many others chomping at the bait to take your spot. In many ways it is a downside of teaching (and I don't mean to gripe about the disadvantages of my job, as I know there are many perks as well, such as our summer holidays and fabulous pension plan). But it's true, it's not just some job I can leave for a few years and pick back up, maybe just somewhere else... it doesn't work that way. Which is in large part why we chose for me not to consider dropping to part time either, as it may be years before I receive my full time entitlement again (not to mention commuting to Woodstock to teach 66% with no guarantee my lines would be am or pm sounded slightly ridiculous anyhow). And as transferring closer has been unsuccessful thus far in my 6 years of employment, I resolve to accept the fact that, for now, I'm meant to teach at WCI.
And so that's what the future seems to hold. We've no clue where we'll be... Greg would move in a heartbeat to Woodstock, but it's me that is holding back (not that I'm tied to Strathroy, by any means, I'm just not sold on Woodstock). But I know I'll be home with my boys, which is time I'll never get back, so I'm glad to be spending it with my boys rather than at work (even though I actually do like my job!). Already the time has flown by - they grow up so fast...