My Dilemma

Lately, I feel pulled in a few different directions and sometimes not pulled at all. I’ve made several big life changes over the last few years…moving to Albania, moving to Manhattan, getting married, moving to Tennessee, buying a house, quitting my teaching career and having a baby. All of these decisions have felt right, but one. One is still troubling me.

I am having a difficult time being a stay-at-home. I shouldn’t. I have wanted to have kids and stay home with them for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to have a big family, cook healthy meals, make lots of crafts, be a soccer/head of the PTO/volunteering kind of Mom. I used to dream of the days I could volunteer making costumes for my kids’ school plays…yes, I’m serious. That’s just the kind of Mom I’ve always wanted to be. I’m fortunate that I even have the option to do these things. However, lately, I’m not sure what I want at all.

The other day I saw a report about a teacher who was freaking amazing. She had raised thousands of dollars for her low-income students to travel and learn about their curriculum in a real hands-on environment. She was taking her students to places they have never been, bending over backwards to help them comprehend every skill and was so loved by her students. It made my heart hurt a little. I don’t want to boast on myself, but I know that I am a good teacher. In fact, I often feel it’s what I was meant to do. I’ve always been the sort of teacher to literally do whatever it takes for the good of my students. So, is it wrong to quit doing something I do so well? Or, will I be using all of my teaching skills to be one badass Mom?

I wonder…just how important is a job? I believe that we should all be using our God-given talents to better the Earth, people around us or just humanity in general. It’s such a waste for anyone to squander away something they could be using to help others. For some, I think they do this through their job. I know many people who love their jobs and consider it part of their identity. However, I know others who are forced to work 9-5 boring jobs and spend their time off doing what they truly love. Then, I have friends who are stay-at-home parents like myself and are raising beautiful children, helping their friends and family who work and working for no pay all the time. All of these people are doing the right thing for them, but what’s right for me?

Lately, spending so much time on the computer has brought around a new round of guilt. If I stayed home to spend more time with my baby, why am I spending so much of the time staring at my laptop? I am trying to run two blogs and desperately trying to learn wordpress.org (BTW, if anyone has any advice for learning how to manage that PLEASE share!). I have been breastfeeding as I type and even setting Luna in her jumper just so I can finish an article. What’s the point of staying home if I’m still working?

Would it be a better use of my time if I volunteered more? Learned to garden? Spent more time remodeling the house? Should I be in a classroom? Is my time spent writing and sharing my own life lessons with the world wide web valid?

I don’t know.

Yesterday, my sister and I had a conversation about this very topic. She is a working Mom and has a lot of guilt about not getting enough time with her son. However, she feels comforted knowing that she’s doing what she loves, using her talents wisely and helping her family financially. I, of course, have the opposite guilt. Maybe it’s just normal for Moms, or all parents, to feel guilty no matter what we decide.

Unfortunately, I have no answers for you today. Honestly, I think I am meant to stay home, at least for a little while, but who knows what the future holds. I may be running a new website on wordpress.org, I could be in a classroom or maybe digging up a garden and learning to paint with Luna. At this point, I think anything is possible!

Cheers!

She Works (kinda) Hard for the (not very much) Money

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

I am a very indecisive pregnant lady. When I found out I was expecting my decision-making process disappeared and I became incapable of deciding what I want for dinner, what to wear, when to sleep and any big life decision is just too much to handle. One of these big life decisions included my career.

In the last 6 years I have taught public elementary school, coached middle school dance and drama, tutored kids, taught overseas for an international elementary school, nannied, coached gymnastics, dance and yoga for fancy Manhattan preschoolers and managed social media for the same fancy pants preschool. Clearly, I like working with kids and being active, but cannot really decide what I “want to be when I grow up”. Six months ago, we decided to leave NYC for the country life in Tennessee AND discovered I was pregnant.

Being pregnant and not clear of what career path I want had me taking 400 different paths… I decided I definitely 100% wanted to be a stay home blogger… for exactly 4 minutes. Then, I applied for some public school teaching jobs…then, some private school jobs…preschool jobs…daycare…coaching…social media… Pretty much anything that sounded half-interesting was worth filling out an application. Two hours later, I made the final decision to work on the house, have a calm relaxing pregnancy, learn to cook and garden and prepare to be an awesome stay-at-home Mom. That lasted for a day. See the pattern?

My indecisive-self kept me from completing most applications or following through with interviews (“Mrs. Positively Panicked we’d like to interview you!” Ummm…yeah, I ‘ve changed my mind, thanks anyways.) All of the non-decision making and busy life stuff lead me to where I am now…blogging (read: making nothing), tutoring and substituting. So, basically I work randomly, have no schedule and I am kind of loving it.

I love schedules, being busy and especially adore deadlines (I need structure!), but I must say that choosing whether I not I want to go into work kind of rocks. For example, this morning it was raining/snowing, freezing outside and I slept for a total of 30 minutes last night. So, when the phone rang at 5am and I was asked nicely to come in and sub for 8 hours I said, “yeah, no thanks.” Coffee, pj’s, a big blanket, my laptop and Good Morning America just sound SO much better.

Then on days when I feel like I need some structure and motivation I get up at 4:45am, take a sub job, teach all day, tutor all night and come home feeling productive. So productive that after working 14 hours yesterday I came home, did the Asylum and made dinner! BAM. Badass.

AND, I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys, with all my time off the last few months I have actually began learning to cook (gasp!). Like, real meals not just frozen pizzas and grilled cheese, though we still eat our fair share of both. I want to transition to full-time stay-at-home Mom when Luna arrives. I want to cook healthy food for her, sew costumes, do Pinteresty crafty things and grow vegetables in the backyard, but who knows what I’ll actually do. I think that maybe all my life decisions and job changes have led  up to my biggest role yet (world’s most awesome Mom), but I can’t rule out the realistic possibility that I might want to re-enter the work force at some point.

Honestly, my indecisiveness stems from all the labels and judging I keep reading about. Every single person and their Mother seem to have very strong opinions about whether Moms should stay home or work, and I just don’t want to be labeled or a part of that argument AT ALL. Recently, I realized that I’m not judging the other women and Moms, no matter their career choice, so why am I being so hard on myself? I just need to do what’s right for us, my family, and right now, things feel good, really good.

What about all your Mom’s and Mom’s to be out there? Do you work? Stay home? Wish you were doing the opposite? Have a good combo of both? Are you even decided yet?

Either way, I just feel so very very lucky to have these options, a Husband that supports me either way and part-time job with VERY flexible hours.

Or am I? The wind may change tomorrow.

Cheers!

My Biggest Adult Decision

Husband and I with one of our best friends 5 years ago...so young.
Husband and I with one of our best friends 5 years ago…so young.

Husband and I have been together for 8 years this February, and we have been married for almost 8 months. Throughout our relationship we have made lots of big choices together….

Do we stay together during a very long distance relationship? Do we move to Tennessee or Texas? Blonde or Brunette? Keep a cat or give it to Zoey? Toyota or Honda? Verizon or T-Mobile? New York or Albania? Manhattan or Brooklyn? Disney wedding or Tennessee country wedding?  Stay in New York for one year or two?

One year or two. That’s it. That was the option I laid out for us.

Since as long as I can remember I have had my entire life planned out. Sure, I leave room for spontaneity here and there, but mostly I have plans. However, life loves to take that plan and say “Hah. HAH!”

I planned to graduate college in three years and marry my high school sweet heart, but life threw in a few affairs, heartache, and a little depression. My life was turned into a lifetime movie in mere minutes one horrifying afternoon. I felt like I could trust no one (including myself), and I just needed to leave. I needed a fresh start…far, far away.

Obviously, I chose to runaway to the Happiest Place on Earth to work on the Disney College Program. So, no, I didn’t graduate insanely fast and get married too young to the wrong guy. Instead, I made some of the best friends and memories I could ever imagine, and Uh, met HUSBAND.

After Disney, I had an entire new list of life plans. Most of these also changed…I planned to marry Husband in 3 years, but he chose 7. This was not easy to accept, but boy am I glad we waited…we could not be happier with our relationship.

I planned to get my Doctorate, and quickly become an administrator, but life threw me a desire to live and work abroad. I made a few friends who chose this path, and they were such an inspiration to me that I quit my job literally a day after I got tenure, and shortly after moved to Albania.

I planned to stay in New York for only one year, but job opportunities encouraged me to stay for two.

One year or two.

We obviously chose two. We have now lived here for a year and a half, and I have already made big plans for what’s next: move back to Tennessee, buy a house, get a job with my former school, and start having some babies. (This baby fever has not broke!) BUT, life has stepped up to the plate and thrown us some more curve balls.

Turns out…we love New York. Husband loves everything about the ciy. I LOVE my job. Belle loves Central Park. In fact, after lots of discussion neither of us wants to leave. I threw out my Tennessee plans, and now we have new New York plans!

Recently we made our most grown-up decision ever.

We have decided to buy, for the very first time, a home. We have been renting for 5 years now, and we are finally ready to be homeowners. I have no idea where to start, who to talk to, or what the hell we are doing, but we are doing it! I’m so excited and scared at the same time!

I should not feel nervous. Husband and I tend to make good decisions together, but this is HUGE. Buying a home here means we are going to be here a while…like more than two years, which is definitely our record for living in one place! We are going to plant roots…dare I say, “settle”. That’s a scary word. My anxiety has been through the roof just digesting this decision. Deep breaths…

The search for a Manhattan apartment, a Brooklyn condo, and a home and Westchester have all begun. Wish us luck, we are certainly going to need it I cannot wait to begin this new adventure!

Cheers!