I can't recall ever feeling so torn about making a decision, in my entire life.
This is absolutely ridiculous.
I've prayed so much and have received so many conflicting 'signs' that I've resigned myself to asking God that He please send an airplane towing a written message across the sky to alleviate any uncertainty once and for all.
A lot of people have told me that there is no correct choice. I completely disagree. I believe that there IS a choice that is better than others. A choice that will allow me flexibility in my life to be with my children more throughout the day. A choice that will allow my husband and I a better opportunity to raise our family, together. A choice that will create less stress - financially, emotionally and physically.
I think I know what that choice is.
And I'm just not very happy with it.
Because it means that we won't experience moving in to a cool new house, we won't have the thrill of seasons, I won't be safeguarding my career, and I won't be an inch closer to my parents. And I highly doubt I'll ever have an opportunity like THIS one, again.
But. Then. I remember.
If we move, I will be required to be in an office every day. Chances are, I'll be gone from the house upwards of 10 hours a day. And while I'm not opposed to working long hours, I am opposed to being gone for such a large stretch of time from my small children who are only awake for around 12 hours each day and who aren't going to be small, forever.
The time that I would see them, would be a flurry of busyness in the morning - as I dash out the door to work - and again at night, when I return home in my formal business attire and ditch my attaché by the door so I can quickly swing in to the bedtime routine.
If I were to work in an office everyday, I'd probably have a much better work-life balance than I do, currently. Because some days, I will work 15 hours a day. And the truth is, I have a very difficult time juggling work and life. I'll often get on my computer to work first thing in the morning - taking small breaks throughout the day only to sit and play with the children, or read them stories - and remain on my computer, while still working, until the late hours of the night. And the next day, it starts all over again. I'll get so distracted with work - and children - there are absolutely no breaks for me.
If I was in an office, my work day would begin and it would end. When I'd leave for work in the morning, I'd know I'd have the next eight plus hours of time, completely devoid of children asking you to tie their shoes, or listen to what just happened, or look at how I learned to use a jump rope!
If I was in an office every day, I'd have time - undisturbed - in which to work. When I'd leave the office and go home for the night, work wouldn't come with me. And since there is an exercise facility on the campus of the office, I'd have ample time - every day - to work out, over lunch.
It sounds idyllic.
Except, I'd only see my beautiful children two hours a day.
And that sounds very much like Hell on fire.
Because my husband is extremely qualified, and we fully want to explore all options available to us, Charlie has been interviewing with a few different entities regarding employment. Of course, if Charlie were to accept a full time job, I'd quit mine, since we've made the commitment that one of us will be home with the children.
But the challenge that we've discovered is that if Charlie works full time, his schedule will pull him away for 11+ hours a day, as well. Which, YES, I know that's just how it is and some people have it a lot worse, but the thing is ... for the past six years ... we've been incredibly spoiled. And neither of us are ready to go in to that full time rat race again, where we'd be away from home all day busy, busy, busy. Especially considering our current situation and recognition that in a short while, it's going to be very helpful to have all hands on deck. Moreover, none of the employment opportunities that Charlie has considered would offer nearly the same long term benefits that my employer does.
Sometimes I feel so stagnant here. Like I've been treading water for a long (long, long, long) time, just waiting to push off the wall and propel myself to the next stop in this pool of life.
When I was expecting the triplets, we thought about moving in to a new house. When I was expecting Henry, we thought about moving in to a new house. Since Henry has arrived, I've received no less than three job opportunities that would move us in to a new area. Some people might think that I'm creating my own stress ... and maybe I am. But it certainly doesn't help that my job will be gone in two years and every one is telling me if I don't jump soon, I will run out of time. Whenever an offer comes up, I'm expected to at least consider it. And since things will be drying up in the next few years, I'd be foolish to not think about what lies down the road.
With each of the opportunities that have come up, it never felt like the right fit. And although I'd graciously say, "No," I always felt like I wasn't being a faithful employee. Because someone who really had their career at the front of their radar would have accepted an opportunity long ago.
Maybe I would have, too.
If I didn't have four small children at home.
With the economy being what it is - and the scarcity of jobs - I do want to keep my career at the front of my radar because I want to insure that my family has stability. It's very important to me that we have excellent medical benefits and food in the refrigerator and absolutely no fear that we won't be able to make our next mortgage payment. And if Dreyer's ice cream isn't on sale and it's been a particularly difficult day, I want to be able to afford it, anyway.
This time, the job transfer did feel right. Although there was definitely some waffling, what it came down to is that for the first time in 20 years, we received a "free" ticket to be closer to my family. Although there was no discussion of a "promotion" (aka, increased salary) we felt confident that we'd be able to make ends meet, despite moving in to a more costly home.
Everything changed. And now, I suddenly realize that the best arrangement for me is to have the flexibility to work from home ... and possibly, work part time, for at least the next few years. And I don't see how we could comfortably live off one part-time salary, in a house with a mortgage possibly 30% higher than our current mortgage.
So we stay here. And kiss goodbye the free ticket back east and dream of living closer to my family, and experiencing seasons and a white Christmas. And instead, we start considering what we're going to do in two years when we have NO jobs.
Today, we took the children to Balboa Park. Elizabeth was riding on the carousel and she was frantic to get off one ride, and on to the next. From her position on the merry-go round, she had already figured out the next attraction she wanted to visit and where she wanted to sit.
Much to my dismay, my five-year-old was totally absorbed with anticipation as she planned what was coming up next and in doing so, failed to experience the joy in the moment. Although I told her to just relax and savor the ride that she was on, I could certainly understand her struggles.
She is my daughter, after all.