Distraction Becomes Positive
I have gone back and forth in so many ways with my career. Just this weekend the husband and I had yet another conversation about whether or not me working part-time is beneficial for the family.
In the short term, it is a tremendous sacrifice. I am tired a lot, and I have to leave at a time when my husband is tired from a full day of his own work outside of the home. But in considering the long term, I’m rethinking just a few points.
I am now only working at one school, three nights/ten hours a week (before having our child, I worked at two schools, teaching six classes, and commuting like a maniac). This allows me to stay home with the toddler during the day, and it supplements my husband’s employment enough for us to maintain our current lifestyle. But a new thought has come into play as well: it will provide more money in retirement, and it will allow us to purchase things such as life insurance.
So here’s an idea: why not just keep doing what I’m doing?
I was able to eliminate one school when I entered my third trimester back in 2016, which added a ton of freedom to my schedule. Every month also brings more of a stability and routine with our son: we are officially down to one nap a day, and his mobility has provided him a level of independence that really blesses me (he just started walking two weeks ago and is already advancing his skills quite quickly). And… if teaching has become mindless for me… isn’t that a perfect job when needing more mind-space for writing?
So it could be that I don’t need to surrender teaching in general. I just need to stop seeing myself as a teacher, in regards to my primary identification marker.
I’ve made huge progress on this front. I’ve come to see that I only want to teach certain levels of English, primarily developmental, because it fits my temperament and the amount of mental energy I can contribute to the students. It also frees up my creativity. I don’t need to spend brain calories on complex essays. I can perform the same tasks every semester and save my peak time for my husband, my son, the running of the home, and for my creativity.
This is why I have changed the name of my blog to “a breathing room.” I no longer really want to make arguments, even if they are poetic in nature. I’m just wanting to speak, to express. I’m leaving my older content on here because it is/was a part of me. I had thought about starting a new blog, but I need to just keep doing what I’m doing, as stated above: just keep life progressing, keep pushing forward.
I am growing roots right now. My whole family is. Root-growing is not flashy. It is not the springing of colorful flowers. It is a dirty and musty process. But it is needed, so needed, in order for the tree to stand strong and solid.
I saw the need for roots when our son suffered an intense allergic reaction to peanut butter last Monday. We had doctors and ambulances, EpiPens and Benadryl, IVs and screams of pain. I took hold of our son and stood rooted. I only cried out once: when I saw his puffy face in the ambulance, after my husband drove like a bat out of hell from the event we had planned on attending before receiving a call from his mom’s husband that Grandma had given the boy a little bit of peanut butter and off went the anaphylaxis. The rest of the night I was stoic, methodical, almost devoid of emotion. I had to be strong. But it just came out that way also. I was living out a true part of my self.
I’m realizing that in situations like this, I can be the strong one. I broke down a few days later only once everyone around me was safe and had been able to process their own emotions. But my rooting held me strong: my time with my son, to know how to calm him down and sing him to sleep; my ability to calm my husband and mother-in-law (she was wrought with guilt); my ability to sign hospital paperwork and take down vital information and drive all over town to find the life-saving adrenaline shots we would need should the little one ever come into contact with peanuts again. I was the mom. I was adulting like never before, thanks in part to my foundation.
So I can do what needs to be done. I don’t have to retreat. I don’t have to act weak, frail, and helpless. I can do this, whatever the “this” is that is in front of me that needs to be done. Yes, “I am woman hear me roar,” but it’s beyond gender identity. This is just humanity. This is just LIFE.