So about that impasse. As my tagline says, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” It’s a favourite quote of mine, from a favourite song. I used to sing “Beautiful Boy” to my own (see, the name is making sense now, right?) Being a mom is one thing I’m definitely I’m not conflicted about. But other areas of my life are not so certain right now. And in some ways that has to do with being a mom.
When my boys were born, I was working in publishing, in a job I enjoyed, with people I liked. But after BB#2 came along, something had changed. I thought it was the fact I was no longer working as closely with a familiar team due to a re-org, that I had just tired of the day to day part of a job I’d been doing for several years, and needed to change my role. But really it was me. I tried involving myself in other projects at work and expressing interest in other positions, but there wasn’t a lot of formal movement happening. I thought about approaching my employer about part-time hours, but I worried that would backfire (in hindsight, I should have at least asked). To be honest I felt a little “stuck”. And I was thinking more and more about how I could make a difference, in my life, in the world, for my children. I was also volunteering in my son’s school, and as a reading tutor, and loving it.
And so I did something crazy. I decided to become a teacher. I applied to teachers’ college, and got in. I actually left my comfortable job after 9 years to return to school at the age of thirtysomething, with a husband, kids, a mortgage. So not like me. But I convinced myself (and apparently my super-awesome-supportive husband) it would all work out. During my student teaching, I was convinced I’d done the right thing—education was now a passion, I loved my students, I could do this.
And then I graduated. It was not a surprise that I didn’t find a teaching job right away. I was aware of the limited job prospects when I applied to school (and was told by more than one person I was making a mistake for going into teaching). But I guess I’d also convinced myself that if I got into school, and was successful, that I would be one of the lucky ones that got a job right away. If I had to supply teach for a few years, that would be okay, great even–considering my husband’s work travel, it might make more sense for me to work on a casual basis while my boys were young, and it would be valuable experience.
Instead, I spent the last school year volunteering in two different schools. I combined this with some freelance writing and editing (benefit of staying on good terms with my former employer and co-workers). After all, I never stopped loving that work, I just wanted to explore a different path for a while. And I thought it was important to keep up my skills and contacts. My ideal was to combine freelancing with supply teaching, have the best of both worlds. But between volunteering, taking additional qualifications classes, being a mom, looking for teaching and freelance work, working around my husband’s schedule, in the few extra hours I had (generally late at night or on weekends) I never felt like I was doing any of my jobs well. I felt as if I’d spread myself too thin, and anytime I was doing one thing, I was thinking about all the other things I had to do.
So here I still am. Stuck in limbo, not sure if I should go back (or if I can), not sure how I can go forward (it’s gone from a bad time to get into teaching to probably the worst time EVER in this province). I feel like I should just pick a path and focus my energy on it, whatever it is, for as long as it takes to get somewhere. But there is that matter of needing a pay cheque in the now. Not to mention I’m so afraid I’ll pick the wrong road, that I can’t seem to close the gate on any of them. Problem is, what if I already took a wrong turn and those gates are now locked behind me?