Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Inevitable or the whole returning to full time work post

**yeah, it's long. Probably because I made this decision then sat on it for several months. Even with several edits, it's just a long post no matter what I cut.
The short version is I'm going back to full time work as on Aug 17th, read on if you want the specifics, why the wait, how the year as a WAHM played out, and why in the end this is a good decision**

Thanks for support as this was a monumental decision in the works for a while

After an afternoon of rehire paperwork signing yesterday, this is really going to happen in about 2 weeks.

In late March, my Principal contacted me about my intentions, letting me know that instead of being released to the county to reassign me to any of the 20+ high schools, that he had requested me to come back to my school.

This given the politics of our public schools was the best situation in which to return if I ever had any intention to teach in this system again. Also, unlike the 2010 decision, this one was under new circumstances. Enter in a new house with a higher mortgage, having a house still on the market, a 25% across the board salary cut from my online position due to state budget cuts and well the decision made itself.

When I took this year off I really hoped that the asinine question I posed last summer would have only one answer. The outcome is that all fears aside I made this year work. At times it was soul crushingly monotonous, uber lonely being in my house taking care of a very active, frequently non-napping baby with little adult interaction.

I made myself get out of the house whenever possible. Almost everyday to work out, walk the dog, go to Target, and if possible once a week to put on earrings and have an adult conversation with someone named Vinson. At times it was really trying juggling the kids, the house, and attempting to work the online gig and not feel like I was drowning. I learned that "at home and part-time" have very different meanings than what I expected.

I know that in a game of misery poker I will always have a loosing hand. This year could have been SO much tougher had two+ babies, children who were sick, my mom's ongoing health issues that while not resolved, are in a holding pattern, Ben's discipline that finally rallied by fall, being stubborn and not owning up to things not going well and refusing to ask for help. Any could have really sidetracked me and fortunately by comparison my life has been a cakewalk compared to what could have played out.

But it was hard enough and at times it felt like the walls were caving in in part to not saying no to more work while parenting an increasingly fearless child as well as trying to reconnect after an awful summer with the other.

My commitment to put the family/kids before work regardless of how and when I finally got work done led to that slippery slope of sleep issues. Again. This spring was esp tough carrying 3 sections and a contact to write test items. In hindsight I took on way too much and then was stuck. The decision this summer to only take a single section when offered more was a really good call given the house move.

Why did I take on the extra work? Money to make up for the deficit in not working full time, taking on a new subject to give me more opportunity should my subject demand dry up since it will no longer be state tested.

Why test writing? More opportunity to keep the at home thing going as long as possible by checking out a new venue. Frankly, I don't know of many teachers that only work one job, everyone has side work. It's the nature of being chronically underpaid.

Somewhere there is also some crazy work productivity/self preservation argument, but I'll leave that alone. It's been analyzed and picked apart and just is part of who I am.

In general that I don't think I am suited to day-in, day-out SAHM life. Yes it was nice to make my own schedule and I took on other items that I am convinced would not have happened had I been working full time. I don't think the new home search and subsequent move would have happened nor a real commitment to loosing weight and getting serious about hopeful future surgery.

Add in that most anyone who I worked with or just knows me would agree that burned out = not the teacher you want for your kid. I needed to take time off and decide if I really wanted to stay in the profession for the long haul.

From working with my online kids this year, all of which were repeating the course, many in not optimal situations including many students in a group foster home or many that were frequently incarcerated one truth stood out. Because I believed in them and worked closely with their schools, many of them believed they could pass and finally graduate. This is what keeps me in the profession. I can't explain it other than I know I am really good at this aspect of my life, and I can't just walk away.

As far as did I answer that asinine question. Yes, I think I was a better parent for taking the year. I have not one single regret that I had more time with the kids. Which sounds in theory utterly ridiculous for anyone NOT to want to have more time. But as I wrote last year, would more time be better quality? The last thing I wanted was to be trapped in some Betty Draper-eque life in which I resented my kids.

I spent so much more time with each child. Watched Ian grow from an infant to a toddler in ways I missed with Ben. I also worked on my relationship with Ben and our joint parental Of late I am working on greater responsibilities with him. There's a post in here someday about what I'm sure looks like poor parenting and likely to draw criticism but at age 5 and the start of school there are some things that I think are the right direction with this plan. So far we are having one of the best years yet with him at a more mature stage than ever.

So am I going back to rerun past mistakes of existing in a permanently exhausted state of negativity? I hope not. Already this summer I've been trying to put things in place that by school start will be 2nd nature. Yes to more sleep, curbing work earlier, making the changes that need action and not just lip service.

As much as I don't want to admit that better living through chemistry works, it has for me. I feel so much more on an even keel most days. Overall I feel less stressed, less intense, more ready to roll with the punches. Add lots of exercise and weight loss and I am really in a good place going back to full time life.

I already know that going back means up super early, a longer commute, juggling the house along with a true full time job. I am keeping one single section of my online class as not to loose my place for future work. It's good money even with the salary cut and frankly given the economy and the 2nd mortgage we can use it. One section is manageable in every scenario I've played out and discussed with Bill.

How many people can say they had a 16 month maternity leave? It was a good run and our family was better for this time.

How very glad am I that I took this leap of faith and trusted myself that I knew the right answer all along.


LauraC said...

This post definitely deserved a super long write up. I'm glad you took the year off and thought about what you wanted to do bc you were SO burned out when Ian came along. And after this entire year, I think you will go back and do it completely different this time. Which is good.

Also I know you are not watching tv but if you EVER get back to the place where you want to watch a 20 minute show, we just found Nick Swardson's show on Netflix instant. I have not laughed so hard since Chapelle's Show. Every time I watch it, I think you would die.

Carrie77 said...

What a hard decision, but a well thought out one. That is what I like about reading your blog, you seem to put so much thought into everything you do!

Ms Mae said...

Way to weigh out all the options and then make a decision that is best for your family while leaving other options open for the future! With any change comes some amount of stress but I am sure you will weather it well!

Beth said...

I love working because it honestly drives me to be more productive at home. I can't imagine you being more productive, of course, but I'm glad you're going back to work all the same--mostly for your future students' sake. You staying out of the classroom would be a shame. That said, I'm so glad you got the year to realign things and take a "breather." I hope you can continue to work the balance, go to sleep at a reasonable hour, and enjoy the hell out of the last week of summer!!!