Tuesday, February 9, 2010

choosing your life.

so i interviewed for a full-time job yesterday. when the posting came out, i thought it sounded somewhat intriguing, but by the time i sent in the application, i was more ambivalent.

it sounded a lot like running a tutoring center which, while not a bad gig, wasn't enticing enough to make me choose a 40 hour a week job an hour from home over the adjunting gig that allows me MEGA flexible hours and a career of teaching. 

i got called for an interview the day before we left for the arctic north, which i wasn't surprised by since i am ridiculously overqualified for this job. lest you think i am being cocky, the requirements were a BA in english or english education, with the preference being a masters.  i am an entire six year and dissertation process removed from that, so there you go.

i felt still ambivalent about it but figured, unlike most of the interviews that i go on when i am just begging people to take me on, that i would go and probe them, see what the position was, and then make a decision.

the position seems a lot more interesting than i thought it would be.  basically, i would be working with a team to help developmental writing students succeed and to develop a program of support for those students.  it's right up my alley--planning, building, coming up with and evaluating processes, etc.

but here's the thing.

it's a rigid 40 hour a week job, with some nights.  the money's not that much better than what i am making now, although it is better.  it's steady and it's stable and there's no question that i would be employed, should i get it, for several years (if i did my job well).  there would be benefits, though i'm not sure the degree to which i would have to contribute to pay for those benefits.  i like the school, as i already adjunct there. it's a 50 minute one-way drive, which would tack on an additional 2 hours to my day.

that's 10 extra hours away from home.

for people who are planning, at some point in the relatively near future, to have a baby, that's a whole lot of hours to have to pay for someone to watch my child, when i really don't want anyone else to watch my child.

this potential situation, all of which is very hypothetical since i have no idea if i a) impressed them in the interview; b) am in any way a frontrunner; or c) will get the job, brings to mind several questions, all of which i find perplex me in very different ways.

the first one is purely economic and makes me rage at the system and wonder how on earth anyone does this whole working and being a parent thing.  child care is outrageously expensive.  the math simply doesn't work.  if i was to get this job, and we had a child, and that child needed to spend, let's say, 4 hours a day in daycare, we literally could not afford it.  not in traditional day care anyway. i'm totally up for the whole find someone you know and hire them to watch your child, but even that would cost megabucks and i don't know where it would come from.  i simply wouldn't make that much money.

how do people do it? why are there not more affordable child care options out there? why isn't anybody really talking about this?  is this just some sort of burden parents are supposed to carry and suck it up?  that's lame.

the second one, and the infinitely more important one, is whether or not we want to choose a life where i work like i am now, so that i can be home.  this prospect will require a great deal of work on my part, as i will be trying to cobble together a decent living here there and everywhere as an adjunct while also being a mom. it will require self-discipline and i will probably not see musicboy much, at least while he's in school, because i'll be home when he's not home and vice versa, except for those few precious hours when he gets home at night.  enter a baby into the mix, and who knows when we'll have a decent conversation again.  after sort of discussing this possibility, i kept saying "but you'll never be home" and he looked at me and said "but you will."

i'll admit--this is what i want.  but it seems, contrary to what i would expect, the tougher choice.  on a lot of levels, to choose to keep my schedule flexible, to choose to plan for a future where we raise our family on our terms, to choose a life that is perhaps much more crazy busy but where we are putting our family first--it is the harder choice for me. 

it's not because i particularly want to do something different or want to have a 40 hour a week job.  i definitely like the flexibility of my schedule and i LOVE teaching. the job i interviewed for is not in the classroom at all, and i believe i'll begin to miss that a lot.  but i think the reason that considering this option is difficult is because i somehow feel responsible for making our financial life easier. i am in a position where i can support musicboy and our little family as he goes to school. someday, the tables will turn.  we always knew that and we always planned on that.  but right now it feels like my responsibility to do what makes logical sense, even when i feel impressed that it's not necessarily the right choice right now.

i feel like a fork in the road is coming soon, and we're going to have to choose what our priority is.  when you're choosing between two amazing things, that's a very difficult prospect. 


  1. lol...well, to be fair, those of us that do watch other people's kids need to make money too. As much as I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to watch some (and i do mean SOME, not all!) kids for free, I can't afford to do it!

    Why not look into someone from the University to help out? I'm SURE there are plenty of students who are great with kids, and could use the extra cash. At my school, we had a website dedicated to finding babysitters and such. Anything like that where you are? You could definitely get away with paying less then! :)

  2. Forget the cost of babysitting, I don't even know how people have time to go to work, come home and keep a house clean, cook meals that aren't McDonalds, and are then expected to take care of kids on top of that. It's ridiculous. Kids deserve better and they aren't getting it on so many fronts, and then they end up at my shelter and they are so starved for attention and love that they have developed ridiculous amounts of inappropriate strategies to get it.

    Not that that would happen if you worked while raising a kid, just that the whole situation frustrates me too. And I think the problem is that moms are expected to work now and get crap when they choose to stay at home. And for those who can't afford daycare, they are told that they shouldn't have kids in the first place. Yay stigmas against stay at home moms and people who want to have kids and poor people!

    I guess all you can do is figure out your priorities for now, a year from now, five years from now, and whenever you want to have kids. Figure out what will help you achieve those goals, make a plan, pray...but you know all that. I hate that being an adult means making hard decisions and going forward instead of regretting previous choices, but I suppose that's how we learn.

    Even if it's annoying to do so.

  3. 1) There are tax breaks for putting a child in daycare and there are gov't programs that help pay for childcare.

    2) There's always the possibility of someone at church. I've been lucky enough to find a lady in my ward who loves babies and misses having them at home, so she's willing to keep Parker for me during the day for a really, really small price.

    It's a very personal decision but one that can work out.

  4. I'd be glad to talk to you about this (this = babies and daycare and the teaching life) since we're in similar situations. Academic labor is such a weird thing, what with the hours that NEVER END, even when you are at home.

    And I'll openly admit to being a card-carrying feminist who has read the books and signed the pledge and who also absolutely loves staying home with her kid and cooking dinner for her family. So. We exist. Join us. :)