I'm interviewing. For various reasons, I think it may be time to go back to work on a regular schedule. I'm not worried about the work - that's the easy part. I'm worried about the impact on our lives, on our fabric as a family, on the kids' emotional well-being.
Lots of mama's work full-time. In fact, more mamas work than not, and the majority of those are working full-time. Even mamas with preschool-aged kids.
To prepare for the change, I'm working out what time I'll need to get up in the morning (6:00), how our morning routine will change (I'll shower and dress first, then get dad up with the kids at 6:45, get them dressed and breakfast made while dad showers and dresses, then I'll leave and dad cleans up from breakfast and takes the kids to daycare), how the afternoon will change (I'll be picking the kids up later, so I'll have healthy snacks with me in the car). I've started to scoot the kids' dinnertime to later, a little after 6 but will need to end up with dinner time around 6:30. I've also scooted Ada's bedtime to 8:00, which is appropriate for her age.
Other simplifying strategies: hire a house cleaner to do a few of the major chores once a week; stop making sit-down dinners until the kids are old enough to enjoy more complex foods like stews and quick spaghetti with garlic and olive oil and arugula and quick soups like creamy asparagus and potato-leek with aged cheddar, or a ceasar salad with bread and chicken for dinner. These are all fairly easy to make meals, but thus far the kids, ages 4 and 1, have turned their noses up at them. So they'll get zucchini pancakes and turkey dogs and macaroni and cheese and steamed brocoli for a while. And Kirby and I will eat...something.
Returning to work full-time will make it possible, if we remain relatively frugal in our expenses, for us to retire around 65, maybe even 60 if we really watch ourselves. Right now, it looks like we'll have to work full-time until we are simply unable to. That's a depressing prospect.