Wednesday, April 07, 2010
mental chatter and conflicts
We're NOT going.
We're NOT going.
OMG!!!! EARTHQUAKE!!!! HANG ON!!!!!
We're so totally GOING.
We're NOT going.
We're NOT going.
This is how it's been for the past several days at our house and I've been so conflicted.
Just yesterday, I was cursing my college education. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother. So why in the world did I go to college and earn a degree that would one day put me in a position where I'd need to chose between my career and my family?
Yep. I really had those thoughts.
Wait. Did you hear that?
It was the sound of feminists smacking their heads as they fell from their chairs.
My husband should work. I should be home. We should simplify our lives to the point that we can easily survive off one income. I can plant crops and trap small animals for fur and skin. I'll make clothes and shoes and soap and candles. We will live as primitive as primitive can be.
Until I totally crack because my crops are being consumed by bugs, I have to touch a dead animal, and there is no way I could ever cut the skin or fur off one.
(Finnskimo! HELP!! Where are you?)
The possibility of Charlie securing a full time job is very real. As is the possibility of me securing a part time job as a consultant. But the salary and benefits of my current employer cannot be surpassed. And the fact that in just a few years, I will be eligible for a pension and lifetime medical benefits cannot be ignored.
Well, they can.
But they're not.
Because whenever I try, someone reminds me.
So we've made advantage versus disadvantage lists. We've prayed over those lists. We've sipped an entire bottle of wine while contemplating our future. We've sipped another entire bottle of wine while praying over lists. We've spun around in circles and drawn straws and flipped coins.
We've looked for signs.
We've received signs.
On Easter Sunday, with our friends and families serving witness, we gave ourselves until 3:30 to make a decision about whether or not we would stay in California or move to Virginia. We made our decision to stay. Twelve minutes later, at 3:42 PM, there was a magnitude 7.2 earthquake 125 miles away in Mexico that rocked our house.
This was a sign to leave.
The very next day, Charlie was very safely changing lanes and a car at least 50 feet back laid on it's horn and flipped him the bird. I launched in to how much I despise traffic and rude drivers and if we move, I'll be faced with a commute everyday and that's when I noticed the offending car was from Virginia. Surely this was just an indication of what's to come.
This was a sign to stay.
We've got a great thing here. I work from home. I'm with the children. I've got INCREDIBLE job flexibility. We're in a great area. The family comes with me on almost all big business trips. The weather in San Diego is nearly perfect, year round. We've got an amazing network of friends. We attend a great church. We love our little house.
Our life is incredibly good.
And we are clearly at a cross roads.
If we go right we move to Virginia. If we go left Charlie accepts a full time job. (I struggled for several minutes debating if Virginia was going "left" or "right.") If we stay straight, we can continue on this path for maybe two more years. But it is clearly evident that this road will soon reach a dead end.
It feels like if I take this job and have to work in an office, I'll be sacrificing my motherhood for my careerhood and that defies my maternal instinct.
Change is awesome. Being close to my family on the east coast is something I've always desired. The change of seasons will be wonderful at least for the first snowfall. We need a larger house. But then again, do we really? No, of course not. We could stay in this small house forever. We don't need much space to survive and I like embracing a simple life. Then again, a walk in pantry sure would be swell. And once the children are in school, what will I do during the day?
Twiddle my thumbs?
After spending the past few days with my 17-year old niece and hearing how much tuition will be - despite academic and athletic scholarships - I suddenly believe that it is necessary for us to spend at least two weekends a month rummaging through dumpsters and collecting cans and maybe then, we'll have enough for BOOKS. If I take this job, I could be working and making money for their college educations, which they will desperately need.
Did I mention we'll have FOUR children in college at the SAME TIME?!
Where are the smelling salts and lottery tickets??
The fact is, the next 20 years represent my best window of opportunity to grow in my career and tuck money away for our future. Unfortunately, the next 20 years also represent my best window of opportunity to raise our children.
How is it possible to do both?
Which is more important?
Why must I feel like I'm choosing one over the other?
Does every working mother face this kind of conflict?
Or am I alone?
Echo. Echo. ECHOoooooo....
What is the real purpose for me working? Our children don't need more money (at least not for the next 12 years.) Our children need their mother. So the biggest hangup for me is that if we move and if I accept this job, I need to maintain a large degree of flexibility. I want to be able to work hours that allow me to see the children off to school and be there when they come home. I want the option of working from home at night. I don't want to be stuck in a commute. I don't want for WORK to get in the way of my FAMILY. But I'm sure it will, sometimes.
And I have to be OK with that.
At this moment, I'm not.
Because I will NEVER get these years back again.
My company can replace me.
My children can't.
Charlie has been extremely supportive and has told me so long as we're together, it doesn't matter where we are. But boy, it sure would be awesome if we moved in to a house with a basement so that he could get an air hockey table and have ample space for his guitar collection!
My husband believes that he can just as easily grow his business from the east coast. He assures me that I'll be just as great of a mother if I'm working in an office. And he has assured me that on the days when I can't be there to shuttle the children to and from school, he will. He'll be there to coach soccer and baseball and make cookies for bake sales. He's extremely excited to do it. Which makes me feel a little better about the fact that it won't always be me.
We'll rent our house so if we don't like it and want to come back, we can. And if we like it and decide to stay, we'll have a great tax deduction. Provided an earthquake doesn't shake our house clear off the foundation. That reminds me, we should probably invest in earthquake insurance.
There certainly seems to be a lot of seismic activity these days.
And not just in my mind.