I wrote this right before I went back to work in August. I am posting it here because on a day like today, a day when I spent 8 hours attempting (and failing) to write one work e-mail while juggling/entertaining/feeding/disciplining/keeping alive both kids, it is good to be reminded why I am doing this...
5) We Are Broke & I Like to Eat Out- When we moved from NYC to College Town in Missouri in 2007 our mantra became "HERE WE LIVE LIKE KINGS!!!" When we pulled up to the 3 bedroom house I had rented that cost 1/2 what we paid for our 500 sq/ft apartment in NYC , my husband honestly thought I was joking. "Shut UP. We live here?? We don't live here." But there we did live. And in 2 years we managed to pay off all of our NYC debt and (gasp!) start saving. We didn't stress the bills at the end of the month. We didn't stress financially at all. Wow! People actually LIVE like this!!?!?? Our eyes were opened. But then when we moved to Suburbia of Big City and I stopped working, we not only lost 1 salary, but also our insanely low cost of living. Suburbia costs twice as much to live in as College Town when one figures in housing costs, insurance, taxes, groceries, basically everything. Now there are certainly perks that go with all that extra expenditure. Perks we enjoy. And frankly we wouldn't have been so footloose and fancy free in Missouri if we only had one paycheck. But the perfect storm of less income and more expenses put us right back into budgeting every penny, worrying about every expense, and we went back to stressing. No more dinners just cause I didn't feel like cooking or coffee treat because dang it we deserve a coffee treat.
4) Two Words: Polar Vortex- You guys! You guys! Did ya hear about the Polar Vortex? Of course you did. Everyone heard about the F'ing Polar Vortex because it SUUUUUCCCCKKED and the media loves emphasizing things that have catchy names and suck. Do you know what sucks worse than Polar Vortex? Being 400 months pregnant stuck inside with overactive 2 1/2 year old during polar vortex. The experience killed a bit of my crafty, creative, industrious SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) soul.
3) You Can Take the Girl Out of the Theatre....- Look, I spent a lot of time (15 years) & money (let's not talk about it) becoming fairly knowledgeable about theatre. And I really like to share that knowledge with people who want to hear about it. It had become part of who I was. And I miss her. I miss that woman who fights with 18 year olds about "I liked it" vs. "It's good theatre" and "I hated it" vs. "It's bad". I miss her watching students suddenly discover Chekhov IS funny. I miss her re-reading the same text book for the 100th time and learning something new. I miss her.
2) I've Got A Golden Ticket!- A tenure track position at a university is a golden ticket for a working artist. It just is. And like a golden ticket, a lot of it is about being at the right place at the right time. The fact that I got this offer from a college that is commutable is unbelievable. And it would be ding dong crazy to turn it down.
1) I Am Not A Good Stay At Home Mom- I am just not. I think I am a pretty great mom. But I think the longer I am a SAHM, the less great I will become. When I was young I asked my mother why she decided to go back to work and I remember she was very quiet for what seemed like a long time and I thought I had made her sad. But then she said very simply "Stacy, I think going to work makes me a better mom. Even though I miss you very much, it makes me a better mom." While I didn't quite understand it at the time, it obviously struck me because I remember it so vividly. I am SO grateful that I was able to try this. I pride myself on living life without regrets. And I tried and failed at this. So I walk away knowing this is not my path. I don't have to wonder. I will always cherish and treasure the focused time I have had with my children. And maybe in a few years I will feel differently. But I think right now, I (just me, maybe not you, but me) I will be a better mom if I go back to work. For me, and again just me, not you, me, I want to buy my kid an ice cream cone once in a while without doing the math in my head. I want to joyfully arrive home, tingling with anticipation to see my kids and give them big hugs instead of dreading the next meltdown and hiding from them in the shower. I want my kids to know that woman who has a lot to say and even more to learn about art and life and the messy place where they intersect in the theatre. I want my kids to see and maybe, dare I say it, be proud of a mom who worked her butt off to get to the right place at the right time. Me, just me, not you, but me. Right now, this is me. And when my kids ask me, "Why did you choose to leave us and go back to work?" I will get very quiet and maybe even a little sad and I will then say "Even though I miss you very much, it makes me a better mom."
Do I think this is going to be easy? Heck NO. I have had 2 anxiety attacks just writing this and can guarantee I need to throw up as you read this. Do I regret staying home with my kid(s) these past couple of years? Heck DOUBLE NO. I have so much respect for the SAHM and maybe one day in the future, I will again join their ranks. But now, I must turn in my card and then pour myself a cup of ambition, yawn and stretch and try to come to life.**
|**I didn't write that last part. She did.|