Monday, November 24, 2008

time to make some changes

In which I ramble, stream-of-consciousness style. Sorry about that.

In the nearly two years since I've been writing this blog, I've had three different jobs. Four, maybe; I'm not sure if I've done any in-home tutoring in that time. I suspect I have. Regardless, that's a lot of instability. A lot of indecision, and thinking about what exactly do I want to be doing, anyway?? I know the answer to that question. I want to be home, with the kids. Keeping things in order, feeding the family healthfully, sneaking in some knitting when the boys are at school and Baby Sister's napping peacefully.

Because that's how it be.

Anyway, neither this fantasy stay-at-home situation nor the more realistic and chaotic version is possible. We're not going to be a one-income family anytime soon and I'm going to have to get over it. Do I sound bitter? Well. Yes.

I've mentioned I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. It's become clear that the job I'm in is not going to work out for too much longer, for a variety of reasons. The lack of benefits in this day and age is completely unrealistic. And more importantly, this family cannot deal with this schedule anymore. There are days when the only time I see the boys is during the hour or so that we're all getting ready in the morning. This is not nearly enough time, obviously. And that hour is not exactly quality time, as anybody who has hustled children through their breakfasts and out the door in the morning knows. Everything was kind of illuminated for me (if that's not too strong a phrase) last week, when I discovered that Big Brother is in danger of failing reading for the first trimester.

Everybody reading this who knows Big Brother just had to read that sentence twice. I know, people. This kid is an enthusiastic and adventurous reader. He started the Harry Potter books - read, I think the first three of them - the summer before second grade. And this was after he had already skipped a grade! He was freaking six! But this year, he's not keeping up with his work. He's a procrastinator, just like his mom, and he needs support. Not somebody to do his work for him, or nag him, but just some help staying on top of things. And while I love my husband dearly, he may not be the best person for this job. He is the most motivated and disciplined person I have ever met (sometimes I wonder how he lives with me), and he doesn't always understand that not everybody is like him. And I can't sit at work, helping other kids stay on top of their stuff, while my own child struggles at home, and not think, This is pretty fucked up.

So. The obvious solution would be go back to a regular teaching job. Full benefits, out of work by three or so, problem solved. Except at this point I'd have to go back and get some more college credits first, as my certification's expired. Also, I've done the classroom teaching thing, and I don't think it's right for me. At least, not right now. It frankly requires more energy than I am willing to put into anything other than my family at the moment. I look at some of the really good teachers I know, especially those with kids (like my sister-in-law - that motivation/discipline thing must run in the family), and I think they may actually be superhuman. It's just a theory I have.

Where was I? Right. Jobs. I did end up taking the GRE's. All the indecision and inaction was making me antsy, I think, and that was at least something I could do. Whether or not it was a useless exercise remains to be seen. I did pretty well, but I certainly don't have time to go to grad school anytime soon. When I was first feeling sort of panicky about the whole economic situation, a degree in a field such as engineering (which would reasonably fit in with the degree I already have) seemed like a pretty good idea. Now that I've got a whole new situation to feel panicky about, that idea is pretty well gone. No regrets though - I don't think I would have been happy doing it at all.

So the immediate plan is this: I'm going to talk to my boss (a very kind and understanding person, so WHY AM I SO TERRIFIED) about cutting back my hours so I can be there to pick up the boys from school. The downside is that it would make my job entirely administrative, no more teaching, and I'd miss the kids. But I miss my kids more. If that's not an option, I'll have to start looking again. Probably more in the science field and less in the education field, and definitely with hours that will fit my family. If I have to, I'll look for a part-time retail something or other. If those kinds of jobs are around right now.

So. Thanks for listening, and wish me luck.