Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I've been thinking lately about what I'm going to do when the boys start school full-time. Sure, that's a long way off, but if I go back to teaching, I have to take a couple of classes within the next year or so to keep my certificate current.

I'm just not sure that I want to get a job at all when they start school. Like Adrienne, I've always been able to keep busy at home. And it's not just because I have kids. Before I got pregnant with Owen, I was unemployed for nearly five months (well, technically, I had the teaching job at Lakewood, but I got it in May and it didn't start til September) and I never had cause for complaint.

Now that I have two kids, I really can't complain of boredom. And when they start school there will still be so much to do between shopping for and cooking meals, taking them to activities and picking them up afterwards, attending school functions and programs- not to mention holidays, half-days, teacher's institutes and endless sick days that I would have to worry about taking off work for.

And it's not like the house will clean itself and the laundry will get done and the lawn watered just because the kids are in school. All those things I do now still have to be done (and you'd better believe Kyle isn't going to do any of them). It's just a question of whether or not I want to put in a full day before I do all those chores.

I mean, come on, it's a no brainer. Why would I want to work 40 hours a week- PLUS another 25 (unfortunately teachers bring a good deal of work home with them), and then on top of that be a full time maid to three people and a dog?

Obviously it is better for me to stay home. And really, it's better for the whole family. It's definitely good for Kyle and I's marriage- I know that if I went back to work and then had to do all the childcare/housework on top of that I would be bitter at him and we'd fight all the time because he wouldn't help out as much. I think it's good for the kids too, because if they're sick I won't feel resentful of them making me miss work, and I will be able to attend all their special school programs or activities. On top of all that, I will be able to cook halfway decent healthy foods like I do now rather than order out greasy fried food every night like when I was teaching.

I know all this makes sense, but I still feel nervous about that decision. I really feel that people will look down on me or think I am lazy, or just in some way think that I ought to be working simply because I could. Yes, I could. It's just that my life would SUCK.

Dude, the life of a working mom truly sucks, unless she makes a lot of money and can pay someone to do mom things for her. A teaching salary ain't gonna cut it. The only other time it seems to work really well is if there's a grandparent around who can watch the kids for free.

I guess I should just do what I think is best and screw what everyone thinks, but that's always easier said than done.


Connie said...

You're right, you should do what will make you happy. You can always go back to work years from now, no one says you have to do it the minute they are in school full time.

Unknown said...

I admire you and Kyle both for doing what you felt was right and not buying into the American philosophy that you have to have IT ALL. Is it worth having huge new cars, and big houses if you never get to see the kids and your marriage is in shambles? Do what you feel is right, maybe when the kids are older and can help around the house it might be the right time. Or maybe someday you'll decide you want to do something else career wise.

On a side note I was a house fiance for a couple of months and I loved it. I don't think I ever got bored. I'd go back to it in a second if Bryan made the big time. :)

B said...

it's nice that you're thinking about what would be best for the kids and for kyle, but connie's right--do what's best for you, too. i think that the job of mom and wife is not only an important one but a respectable one, too--and if you want to and you think you would be happiest devoting your time and energy towards that, i think that's awesome!

Adrienne said...

I understand how you feel. When one of my new neighbors asked me what I did and I said that I only did volunteer work, he call me an "unemployed bum."

Actually, this is a very personal matter to me. When I had my break down a couple of years ago, I had to take a real good look at my life and decide what was important. I tend to be a perfectionist and that can take a real toll on a person. I wanted to be the perfect wife, housekeeper, friend, daughter, grand daughter, and teacher. I never wanted anyone to find fault with me.

I spent a lot of time in therapy trying to get over what I thought society expected of me. I couldn't have it all. I couldn't have a perfect house, and be the perfect wife and teacher. I had to let go of the fact that I will not have a perfect model body and be the kind of beautiful that we worship here in the U.S. I also had to let go of the fact that I don't have the perfect family. (Actually, I'm still working on that.)

What I think was the most frustrating is that during the end of my teaching career everyone kept saying "do what makes you happy." Well, I didn't know what made me happy and if I did what made me happy and it went against what American culture says would I be happy as a nonconformist? I've always been a conformist and have played the game.

There is a really cool move that Philip Glass was a part of called "Koyanisquatsi." (That is kind of the title. I can't spell it at all, and I have already packed the DVD) Anyway, the whole movie is Glass music. It starts very slow with scenes of nature. earth. wind. fire. Then it slowly moves into scenes of construction sites and it moves into technology and the way we live today. It sounds boring, but it is truly an emotional piece of art. I have never been so entranced by a movie.

The part that had the biggest impact on me was the scenes of people moving very quickly throughout the day and each day would be played at such a fast pace that you could see the routine of life. The music plays faster and faster and faster as you see the scenes and it almost makes your heart race.

When I saw this I thought about how I didn't want to be one of those people caught up in the rat race. I didn't want my life to look like that in fast forward. Joel and I talked a lot about it and came to the conclsion that we needed to move back to the QC near family and that we needed to live a lifestyle where we could survive on one income and that I needed to stay home.

I know it may appear that we are caught in the rat race with building a house and taking a lot of vacations, but in the end all I want is to love my husband, snuggle with the wees, and play in my garden.

There are days when I feel embaressed that I don't work and bitter, but I know in the end that this is the right decision for me and I am finally on the road to true happiness.

Now, how is that for a long response? All I can say is follow your heart and you'll find the right path.

Christine said...

wow, that last guy is a bit sad. I am a stay at home mom and have been for the last eleven years. It is best for your kids if you CAN stay home. I think it's the most rewarding and least selfish thing a woman can do. I homeschool, but even if your children are at school, you still have time to volunteer at their school. You can also (as mr. charming put it) be there for your husband and you are free to go on vacations with him when he has vacations. It really does improve a relationship when you can spend time together. I don't think any woman who stays home and devotes herself to her family is lazy. It's nobody's business but yours and your husbands when dinner is on the table. Men like the one who posted last expect woman to not only help support the household,but clean it and run it as well while they sit back and watch football. REAL men want a women who are comfortable enough with themselves to do what's right for their own families. YOu sound level headed and bright. I think you have what it takes to be a full time wife and mother. If done correctly, it is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. IN the end, your husband and children will rise up and call you blessed.
Good luck to you,
God bless,
Christina OUrsler