I’ve been quiet on the blog recently, which is not so unusual since I’m basically the worst blogger, but this time there was a good reason. For the last few months I’ve been looking ahead to the next year or two (or three or four), and assessing what I want to be doing, where I want to be spending my days, and what sacrifices are worth making to earn more money. After a lot of inner debate and talks with Matt, I have decided to resign from my job as an English teacher.
Because I’ve been on maternity leave since October 2014, it doesn’t feel as life-changing as it should. My plan was to return to work in September and when it came to childcare, we’d figure it out. Daycare or a nanny for Will, before care, kindergarten, and after care for Nolan, and lots and lots of money out the door. I heard repeatedly, “You’ll make it work! Everybody does it. It’s temporary.” And I told myself those things too, because they’re true! I know that if we went that route, everyone would be fine. Nolan would not be irreparably damaged from 10 hours out of the house, and Will wouldn’t forget who I am because he saw a nanny more than he saw me. But the idea of us as harried parents rushing out the door at 6:45, kids’ tantrums in the car, my guilt over missing everything at school, resentment about who does more around the house…I didn’t want to do it.
I love teaching and I love my coworkers. Part of me is REALLY sad to not be returning to my department in September. Obviously having friends outside of work is important, but there is something special about having coworkers, built-in friends who you see every day, people you can laugh with and commiserate with over those daily shared experiences. When you don’t head to a job every day, it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely, or to only surround yourself with one type of person (in my case, other moms of young kids).
So the decision has been made, the bosses have been notified, and the resignation letters have been mailed. Now onto the good things!
As much as I’d like to sit on the couch eating Trader Joe’s snacks and watching Gilmore Girls and Odd Mom Out, I obviously need to earn money. Oh, and take care of my kids. In these past 20 months that I’ve been home, I inadvertently got myself involved in a bunch of little projects and organizations. People who grew up with me or went to college with me know that I like to plan and organize, and I like to be in the know. So I Leslie Knoped all around town and worked with AMAZING people in my community to get full-day kindergarten in our district, and I started helping with the Greenlawn Civic Association. Do you know what both of those projects have in common? They are rewarding and wonderful, and they don’t pay me any money.
In my desire for a flexible schedule, I am incredibly lucky to have Beautycounter. I joined Beautycounter back in January of 2015 (I blogged about it here). In a nutshell, I teach people about the importance of safer beauty and personal care products and share Beautycounter’s mission and products. Most of my work is done from home and even when it’s not, it’s sitting and talking with people over coffee, or presenting in someone’s home to a small group. It’s rewarding and fun and definitely does not feel like work. Health and wellness is something I’m passionate about and getting a paycheck for something so fun is pretty amazing.
The other opportunity that recently opened up to me is being a consultant with the Hance Family Foundation. Back in 2009, a terrible accident on the Taconic Parkway killed eight people including Emma, Alyson, and Katie Hance. Their parents started the foundation to “honor the lives of three beautiful sisters by ensuring healthy, happy, and safe children through innovative self-esteem educational programming and the support of children in need.” As a consultant I implement the Beautiful Me program, a series of workshops for girls, which focuses on self-esteem, body image, conflict resolution, etc. The program is adaptable for girls of all ages, so if you have daughters or you work in a school district and want this program, please let me know! It’s free for schools and paid for by grants, fundraising, and private sponsorship.
Without the uncertainty about the fall hanging over my head, I hope to be more focused on my family, writing, cooking, and community. I’m excited and scared and grateful you read all this.