Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds?

I genuinely enjoy being with my children full-time. To be sure, there are days when I just need a couple of hour of solitary, child-free time but for the overwhelming majority of the time, being with them is where I want to be. The only problem? I don't get paid for it!!

I periodically toss around the idea of going back to teaching full-time but it doesn't make me excited. If I were to do it, honestly it would be for the money primarily. I'm sure that somewhere along the line I'd derive some fulfillment from working with children and impacting their lives but initially, it would be motivated by a steady and consistent (and not too shabby) pay check. Before I had my own children, I couldn't think of a single profession I would enjoy more than teaching but after a really bad first experience, I witnessed firsthand the challenges of teaching. More than that, I realized just how much I like being at home with my kids. This summer I've had the chance to hang out wit
h other teachers and folks in education who are on vacation. Some of them can't wait to get back to work and be away from their kids for a chunk of the day. They acknowledge that being with their kids is crazy for them and that they need that time away working on something different. I do too but not to that extent--just a couple of hours out of the week is good for me. (Forty-hour work weeks is, for me, just too much time away from my lovelies although if I had to, I would. In my late 20s, I've found, ideals are easily pushed aside when it come to necessity and survival . . . word.)

Still, I think about saving for my retirement and basically having my own money that I earn. I think about having a good amount of money in my own savings account that only I have access too. Oh, I trust the hubby but it's about security--being able to make moves and get out if you need to. It is tough emotionally and psychologically at times to be dependent on the hubby financially. Earning your own money is a serious self-esteem boost: it is good to know you can take of your needs (and the needs of your children if need be).

So I'm trying to find the balance: a job/career flexible enough for me to spend lots and lots of time with my children (which would facilitate homeschooling or very active involvement in their schooling) but that pays enough so that I can save for retirement and meet other goals I have such as traveling to Nigeria.

I've thought about becoming an adjunct professor. This would get my feet wet in the world of academia even though I know that being an adjunct professor can be difficult in terms of getting classes to teach and scheduling. Still it's a good way in, I think. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I have the qualifications. I'm 5 years out of graduate school with very little experience. Still, I would like to give it a try. So far, I've contacted a few of my former professors just to hear what they have to say about academics and my hopes of entering that field. But, I struggle with issues of confidence: do I have what it takes intellectually? In other words, am I smart enough? Do I have enough unique ideas? Do I think creatively and critically
enough? Can I learn? The ultimate goal would be to win some kind of fellowship so that I could work towards my doctorate and become a full professor without incurring thousands more dollars in student loans. Being a professor would be the dream job for me. I enjoy academic rigor, love writing and love teaching (which is the one thing I've always been clear and sure about) and teaching on the university level would definitely give me the flexibility I would like to have.

But there are other things I could do like private tutoring but I'm
know in this economy, that wouldn't be all that profitable. I have a friend who used to be able to pull in beaucoup bucks per hour tutoring in more affluent towns. These days, she's not getting many calls.

And then there's my crochet! Some great news: one of the local colleges accepted my proposal to teach a crochet class. I'm going to meet with them Tuesday after next to discuss the details but so far I know it will be held at the YMCA and instead of the 10 sessions I proposed, there will be 8 and it will be on Tuesdays, the hubby's day off, so I don't have to arrange for childcare. Sweet! It's a great first step even though I'm not sure what the next step will be or if this is the direction I want to keep going but I'm excited.

Anyway, I'm chanting daily for clarity and wisdom when it comes to all this, hoping that maybe somehow I could have the best of both worlds.


Dee said...

I kwym about the sahm/money thing. Even though my husband never made me feel bad about it or anything, I had my own guilt. Now that I am working, I must admit I like the feeling of having my own paycheck again. Good luck deciding which direction to head in and congrats on the teaching (crochet) job!

Chi-Chi, The Original Wombman said...

Dee, thanks!! :)

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