Returning to work. Exciting and much-anticipated in many ways. Horrifying and sad in many others.
When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, our house hunting kicked into full gear. We had been casually looking and dreaming for years. Some months we would really get in to it and go see a couple of properties in person, but mostly we would browse online. When we found out we were adding a child to our household we got serious. There was nothing wrong with the house we were in (I even miss aspects of it) but it was a townhouse with no backyard, and at the end of the day, it didn’t feel right for us with two large dogs to add a baby in the mix. Questions like, “How do I take the dogs out if the baby is sleeping?” and “What do I do if it’s raining or cold and the dogs won’t go potty fast enough?” always made my brain spiral out of control. Maybe those concerns seem silly, but when you’re already wanting a bigger house and a fenced in backyard, complications like those really solidify the need. Fast forward a few months and we decided to take a huge leap and move out-of-state. Why not, right? We felt like, if not now, then never. We wanted LAND and we just couldn’t afford it in the state we were living in. I was 5 months pregnant when we moved into our new house (six hours from our previous address.) It’s in the mountains and secluded and we love it here. The nearest town is about 20 minutes away but any real shopping or errands you need to run are about 45 minutes away in any direction. Needless to say, we quit our jobs before the move, buckled down on our savings and went for it. There was no maternity leave countdown and no employer holding our positions for a return.
Early on, the idea of finding a new job in a new state after having a baby, was exciting! New purpose, new outlook, new opportunity for success, etc. The reality is that our job market doesn’t always provide those exciting opportunities we daydream of and we are often left wondering what in the world we can do to pay our bills. I think we have all experienced the underwhelming world of job hunting at some point. My husband and I had planned for me to stay at home with the baby in the beginning but we never really defined how long that would be. I didn’t expect to be a stay at home mom forever, I think I stayed fairly realistic about that. I was just thankful to be able to be at home at all. As the months passed, my son grew and so did the reality of my need to return to work. It’s not that I HAVE to find a job, but it’s just the reality. We will never grow, get ahead, save, and conquer the dreams we have on one income. It just won’t happen where we are living.
When my son was tiny I thought “How do people do it.. I can’t leave him.” Well, that feeling hasn’t changed because now that my son is 8 months old, I honestly think it could have been easier to leave him when he was smaller than it would be now. He’s a little person now, he has personality, wants vs. needs, quirks, preferences, funny things that only I understand. He’s my whole world and we have such a bond, that I could cry even at the thought of leaving him for 10 hours a day. Anxieties like, “What if he protests a bottle all day at daycare?” are legitimate because there are days at home that he doesn’t even nurse well. Or, “what if they give up burping him because it’s been ten minutes and he still didn’t burp, so they assume he’s good and then he throws up everything in his belly 15 minutes later…” Also legitimate because I’ve been there and done that myself and that’s without a classroom full of other babies needing the same thing. Days that he still needs three solid naps to sleep well at night versus days that he’s good with only two. All of these “what if” worries and fears will keep you up at night. Trust me. Also, if I am completely honest, all of these “what if” questions make me sad. Sad that I might miss them if and when they do happen in the care of another. The realistic side of me knows I won’t be at home forever, but that hopeful side of me sure does wish I could be.
After realizing that I need to find work again, I began exploring at home options. There are tons of online tutoring opportunities that you can do from the comfort of your home. They require a computer and high-speed internet. It’s basically a Skype call or FaceTime with a lesson plan. Some jobs are teaching English as a second language and others are just tutoring the local kids. This was my first idea. I had a close friend who earned $600 a month teaching English online and I thought that would be a great start for me. No, it wouldn’t be a full-time income, but it would help! Unfortunately, when you live in the mountains and away from any major areas, high-speed internet is satellite internet. Yes it works, but you can’t live stream videos across time zones and continents without major freezing or crashing (if at all.)
Here’s where I am at now…
Currently, I am trying my hand at blogging. Why not right? It is successful for others and it could be successful for me too. Time will tell. I am also browsing job boards and applying to positions that seem to be a good fit. For each of those jobs which I do apply, I search for a daycare in the area as well. My heart aches each time I hit “submit application,” but this is real life. At the end of the day, I trust that God will open whatever door he sees right for my family and I, and when that happens, I’m prepared to put on my big girl pants and step up to the plate.