Yesterday I had a 2 hour meeting with a distinguished medical malpractice lawyer, a generous and inspiring woman who is a colleague of my Dad’s. I told her what my business was about, and how I was aiming to get started, and she gave me alot of frank advice. Some of it was hard to take, some of it was very flattering. She was kind and enthusiastic about helping me “find my niche”, but also brutally honest about how challenging it may be. I’ve made a great connection, and for that I’m immensely grateful, but I also feel as though I’m back at square one and trying to define myself again. I suppose, now that I write this, it could be worse. It’s not like I had gotten very far past square one at this point anyway. But for some reason I came away with an overall feeling of it being a bit of a setback – one of those trials that I will come across, that I must come across, to better myself and make this dream a reality. My mood was best described as “a moment of doubt”.
Then, the next morning, along comes a job opportunity of a different kind. The university department where I teach needs a sessional instructor and finally found some money to pay for one. My colleague, who was my mentor and is also one of the senior faculty looking ahead to retiring, thinks I am perfect for the position. DH was also very gung-ho and that made me feel pressured (what, does he want me to start “bringing home some bacon”?). The problem is, I’m assuming this position is not part-time. Or, if it is, it’s not going to be one day a week, or two half-days a week, which is pretty much all I’m willing to give up with my kids. And honestly, I then had to ask myself why I’d even give that much time up. For what?
It’s caused me to really examine my goals and my desires. I don’t want to work for the sake of bringing home some money. We don’t need the money – DH makes good coin at his job and we’re quite comfortable. The teaching gig I have right now is perfect: I volunteer my time (which makes me very appreciated), I choose the lectures and labs based on my own schedule (i.e. the needs of my children), and I have a nice fancy title to go with it (which also looks good for my company profile). I’m very happy with that.
It reminds me of a post by SpaceMom (sorry, no linky) where she mused aloud about why we mommies seem to be in wars all the time, particularly the SAHM vs WOHM debate. I commented that it’s hard to be all “whatever works for your family” if you are making sacrifices to do things the way you believe is best. After all, if Ms. Jones’ kids are happy and healthy even though they’ve been in daycare 50 hours a week since they were 6 months old, why not take this teaching job and hire someone to watch the kids? Why aren’t I driving a new Volvo station wagon? But SpaceMom replied with some serious wisdom: “Even if all of the kids turns out great regardless of [the choices made], the point is to do what YOU need to do to feel comfortable with how you are raising your children.” And I think she hit on something. Ultimately, what we need to focus on is not whether taking this job is right or wrong for my kids, it’s that it supports my choices and my goals for my kids.