Friday, October 10, 2014

A Revelation

We know we're moving.

It's not until next summer, but the thought always lurks in the back of my head.... "you're moving... are you ready?.... where will you live?  what will you do?  when will it happen?  are you purging the house yet? do you really need to buy that?  you'll just have to pack it....."

As you can see, I have a very ACTIVE inner monologue.  This is the reason I look tired all the time.

I've worked since I was 14.  My longest stretch without a job was late 2009-early 2012, after I was laid off (a dark time).  I've been working part-time for going on 2 1/2 years, and while the job is.... a job, I can't complain about the workload, the pay, or the hours.  I like working.  I like the interaction with other adults, and frankly, I like the satisfaction of earning a paycheck & contributing to the family (or to my handbag collection).  When The Move was decided, I started thinking about where I would work and when I would start to look for that work.  Matt and I talked about it.  He encouraged me to think about what I wanted to do & where I should do it.  There is a Prestigious University in this new town of ours, and I like the idea of being able to say "Oh yes, I work at _____." But then I started looking at jobs and working hours, and thinking.

Right now it's Fall.  School has only been in session for 9 weeks or so, but every day when I finish work at 1pm, I feel like it's a sprint to bedtime.  Errands, exercise, soccer practice, music lessons, church activities, meetings, school pickup, doctor appointments, cleaning, laundry, dinner prep, lunch prep, grocery shopping.  You know the drill.  Most of my days end with me mentally tallying up what didn't get done, and feeling bad about it all.  I know things will quiet down a bit once soccer ends, but it starts again just a few months later.  

I found a full-time job at The Prestigious University that I think would be perfect for me.  I know we're a long way out, but I like to plan & plot & process as much as I can, and this job had me doing all those things.  And then A Revelation came.

At the end of one of those long-sprint days, I suddenly thought "Why would I do that to myself?".  If I only work 20 hours a week right now and I feel like I'm barely keeping it together, what makes me think that working 40 hours a week is do-able?  Much less a GOOD idea?  Do not mistake what I'm saying.  I know there are millions of two-income households who do this every day, and are just fine.  They've got it dialed in (or at least they look like they do), and I envy them.  But for me and  MY household, I just couldn't stop thinking: Why?  Why add to the stress?  Why add to the guilt?  Why add to the last minute pizza runs that still happen too often for my liking?

I am incredibly fortunate that I have the option to think these thoughts, much less make a decision.  And then I read an article online that gave me great comfort about opting out of working.  The perspective was that having someone at home running the household is a gift to the family.  It's a gift that one of us doesn't have to spend precious weekend time slogging through the grocery store.  It's a gift that we can sit down to dinner at 5pm each day.  It's a gift that someone doesn't have to take off an entire work day to wait for the cable installer to show up.  It's a gift that the end of the work week doesn't mean facing 14 loads of laundry or squeezing in extra time working on a PowerPoint sales pitch while the kids are at track practice.  Staying home can be the contribution that I need and want to make for my family.    

And suddenly I felt better.  I felt like the choice - which was never really even a choice - was made.    

And I'm grateful.

1 comment:

Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

whoa....I feel exactly the same way! I looked for a job for the past two years. I decided to stop looking because I there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done as it is, how am I going to add a 40 hour week on top of that? I actually enjoy staying home, but I worry about what I will do in ten years when everyone is out of school and then I've been out of the work force for 20 years, and the unlikely but not impossible possibility of divorce, or if something happens to the Mister.