This fall I go back to work. I am a teacher. I can't really complain. I get summers and holidays off. I don't have to work in an office from 8 to 5 with only a few weeks of vacation per year. This is a good career for a mom.
There are a few problems, however, and this post has been years in the making. I knew that I wouldn't be able to be a stay at home mom forever. Well, if we had kept the lesser house, or moved into a lesser neighborhood, then I might have had a longer run. But as it stands, I've been on a leave of absence for about two and a half years, and I had another year of leave of absence when I had the Diva (the 05-06 school year). I had the opportunity to make something else happen, and I tried to do the tutoring thing, I dabbled with the pre-school Spanish classes idea, I searched endlessly on job sites, Craigslist and even interviewed for several different positions. I did get a job during this time, and I have been working, tutoring the Korean family in English, as you may or may not know. But sadly, this job only gives me a finite number of hours, and I don't make enough to stay home and just do this. My biggest obstacle is Drew, who, in his infinite wisdom, actually makes sense of our finances and knows that we just keep sinking deeper into debt - there's no place for me to go but back to work. Or do something that brings in the piddly 40K I make every year.
So, as you can imagine, I have a constant stream of what ifs running through my head. What if we had stayed at the old house? What if I had just worked a little harder on getting a part-time gig? What if I ran a business out of my home like so many other moms? What if I posted it on Twitter or Facebook and told everyone I knew that I just need to make x amount of money... isn't there some secretarial work I can do for them from my home?! But I feel like the opportunity has passed, my fate is sealed, and my children will be away from me for much longer than I would like. I'm too ashamed that I didn't make it happen. But I do know why it didn't happen.
Contrary to what you might think, I am not a super motivated person. I am not what you would call a go-getter, although when I jetted off to Spain and started my own tutoring business in my 20s, you would think that that was my middle name! I come by this lack of drive honestly. I don't think I was encouraged to follow dreams, and I certainly didn't have much in the way of vocational counseling. I knew my parents didn't have a lot of money at an early age, and there were always job issues with one of my parents (I won't name names). Teacher became the obvious career choice for a Spanish major, and I haven't had it in me to deviate from this course. I know that it's not too late for me to change career paths, but being that I've been home for two plus years and haven't figured it out or made it happen, I often wonder if I ever will.
I only cry sometimes, and the rest of the time I suck it up and face the music. Or look for a new job. But the reality of it is I love my daughters. I love them so much, I just want to spend a little more time with them. I think two is too early to go off to "school" every day, and the Diva has another full year until K, so I should get to spend some more time with her before she goes. I keep my spirits up by telling myself that the school will be good for them. They'll meet friends, have great teachers and constant planned activities to learn new things. It'll be fun! Besides, being a SAHM is hard! I'm not always happy when I'm doing it, and I often get annoyed with the girls. So it'll be good for me too. I tell myself this. It helps.
Then on Father's Day, I had a conversation with my father. Who said, and I quote, "You're going back to work full time. Aww. That's too bad. They're still so young. I hope the Li'l Rascal doesn't resent you. You resented your mother when she went back to work and you were four. She's only two."
I have no words.