I’m in the middle of some pretty BIG personal/professional decisions. It’s been an intense week. I have felt the love and support of my family – Mr. Silly Pants, Waffles, and Songbird have been around all week and their bright and shiny spirits have kept me afloat during a week I might have really gotten annoyed, discouraged, and aggravated. Oh, add frustrated and pissed OFF to the list.
I’ve got some decisions to make about what direction to take professionally. I *think* I am going to have GREAT difficulty negotiating for half time work for another year in my school district. The truth is that I really love working half time. The split between my family and my profession is just perfect right now. I feel like I am at about the top of my teaching game with a 40% work load. And, my home days with “the Blue” are superb. I love the balance right now. Blueberry loves the balance too – he’s happy happy happy with his babysitter and it is oh so good for him to have other stimulating social environments with other kids. It’s so damn good to feel like my parenting and my profession are in great balance. It’s a hard place to figure how that would change if my ONLY option is to return to work full time. The dilemma is the ever changing landscape of Blueberry’s needs – and my ability to meet them with enthusiasm and energy. My biggest fear is making the WRONG decision. My sense is that years ago when I was in the midst of family building and a young marriage, I did a very poor job of strategizing for my own needs. I’m a much better advocate for myself now; I’m older, wiser, more centered, and more relationally secure and mature. But, hell, I can still make some doozie mistakes. And I’ve got some road rash to prove it. Yeah yeah, don’t we all?
But really, I left my first marriage with NO professional experience and made a mad dash for a teaching certificate with an ‘OH CRAP! I have to get a job and start a career!” I had been crafting a mini-career out of going to graduate school and changing my research topic with each gust of wind. I was LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY to land a job in a district that has cultural anthropology as part of their social studies requirement – the job is a perfect fit for me. Except, um, I HAVE to teach US history if I am teaching full time. And, the truth is I’m not a great history teacher (I am a great anthro teacher). Plus, I don’t like the idea of leaving my 2 year old son for my full time job. Nor do I relish the thought of going to a job that isn’t 9-5; teachers bring home piles of work, have oodles of homework to grade, and lessons upon lessons to rework/recraft in order to maintain superb teaching. I mean really….I fear that the combo of teaching full time is going to make Ms. Plum a ROTTEN TOMATO!
I feel an eerie and uncomfortable parallel with another time in my life – and this just feels like a huge decision and I don’t entirely trust myself to make the best decision; one that honors the covenant I feel with my little Blueberry, and one that helps me maintain my sense of balance and power, both privately in my marriage and publicly in my intellectual and professional life. C’mon sisterhood, I know you hear me on this one! He just turned 2! My mama stuff says don’t work full time. My self preservation stuff says don’t give up this good gig.
ahhhhhhhhhh, so in the meantime we’re slashing our budget (making a car trade this weekend, we think) and examining the “hows” and “whats” of a lot of changes in the fall. Did I mention my child support for my 3 kids ends in the fall, and I have 2 kids in college for the next 6 years? Yeah – work can’t be off the table.
*putting it all out here is a little risky since I’m pretty sure colleague/kids have access to the blog and I don’t want to say things that might inflame a certain situation*