Friday, August 19, 2016

How should I fill in that "employment" box?

It used to be easier to complete the employment box on official forms.

Way back in the day I wrote "editor."  Then I wrote "teacher."  For 12 years I wrote "stay-at-home mom."

But now, in M's second year of full-time school, I find myself resorting to "stay-at-home mom" because it is too complicated to put what I really am.  SAHM is short and sweet, albeit incorrect.  I am a mom, but I really don't stay at home much, and I don't stay at home with anyone.

There isn't enough space on the forms for "substitute teacher and cottage school instructor and freelance writer."

D suggested I write "It's complicated," but that just sounds sketchy.

I subbed twice this week at the boys' elementary school.  Inevitably, when I sub, a student asks me, "How long have you been a teacher?"

This is another complicated question to answer.

Do I say, "I've been a teacher for 16 years," because I got my teaching certificate in 2000 and have kept it up-to-date?
Do I say, "I taught public school for about 4 years?"
Do I say, "I have taught in a cottage school for 4 years?"
Do I say, "I have been a sub since April?"
Do I say, "Off and on for a grand total of around 8 years?"
Do I try to explain it all, which would be 1. far more info than anyone cares to know and 2. a mouthful requiring copious amounts of water to wet my whistle upon completing.

How in the world did I teach full-time?  How did I have the energy and the enthusiasm and the fortitude?

This thought ran through my head yesterday after subbing in first grade.  It wore me completely out, and I didn't have to do anything during planning except sit and think about how tired first graders make a person.

From school, the boys and I went to music class, which means I was pulling in our driveway at 6:30.  D had put in 2 frozen pizzas for our nutritious dinner.  Then homework, then bathing the boys, then bedtime routine, then haranguing N to take a shower and "For crying out loud, GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE!" after field hockey practice.

I really wanted to finish my book before nodding off, but with 2 pages left to go I just.couldn'

Is it just a matter of being inexperienced in this grind that makes me so tired?
Is it having children and being older?

At the beginning of this school year, when I have friends who post that they are starting their "nth" year of teaching, I thought to myself, "I would be starting my 16th year if I hadn't stayed home."

It gives me a sorta sad feeling to say this, but I'm not really sad at all, so I feel confused.

I do not regret one second staying at home with my children.  If I had to do it all over again, I would make the exact same choice and for exactly as long. Even though I am far more relaxed as a parent than I was 12 years ago, I still think I am the best possible person to raise my children.  I trust no one else and didn't have a mom or a mother-in-law who could have or would have provided child care.

As much as I strive to instill independence in my children, I am also, in my own way, terribly clingy to them.  I don't know that they know I am, but I know I am.

I don't like that sorta sad feeling, like I've missed out on something, although I did miss out professionally.  I missed out on 12 years of income and networking and professional development and retirement savings.  I know in my heart I didn't miss out on what was, and is, most important to me and what I could live with.

I fully recognize that not everyone has the choice, although I suspect a lot of people do have a choice and simply have different priorities and goals and sensitivities and needs than me.  Each of us has to do what we have to do and be able to deal with it appropriately.

I guess for me, I've had to go about this very gradually.  At some point, it is very probable that I will return to teaching full-time, but my path to it is in fits and starts.  

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