Job changes?

So  in keeping with some of my fellow bloggers like Liz, who are contemplating other jobs and career moves, I have another job I’m mulling over too.  Some of you know that I am a research scientist and have been for over 11 years now.  At the same place!  It’s like my second family.  However, I did work at a pharmaceutical company right after college, and really didn’t like it.  I stayed there six months and then was offered a positon with my current employer.  We’ve been through buying several houses together, a divorce, numerous serious relationships.  My daughters entire existence I’ve been with this people.  And it’s a stellar job.  Downside?  It’s one hour from my home.  Two hours of commuting daily.  And my daughter is an hour away from me during the day.  Her dad is in town though for his job, which is why it works ok for us.  

I have a job coming up teaching in a Catholic school-chemistry and physics.  I went to grad school for a Masters in Education.  The only part of that degree I haven’t finished is the student teaching.  And I won’t, because I’d have to quit my job while I did it.  And that’s just not reasonable to me.  However if I take this job, I’ll have a big cut in pay, but it will count as my student teaching and we can push my certification through (NY State is a toughie when it comes to teaching requirements, for those of you who aren’t aware).  So, great job, summers and school vacations off, shorter workday, no commute.  Drastically lower pay.  

Everyone says take it.  Our business is doing well and the money isn’t really the issue.  However, I have my single mom mentality permanently ingrained.  What if this marriage doesn’t work out?  What if it’s just me and B again?  I can’t support her as I have in the past, with this type of pay cut.  

Oh and the kicker-my precious Gram Julia, while in the hospital shortly before dying, said to me (when I contemplated skipping one of my grad school classes to hang with her) “you go be a teacher”.  And in a Catholic school…oh Gram would LOVE that.

So why am I so afraid to do this???  I’m afraid to depend on my husband.  He says I do way more than my share here and take the job that will make me happiest.  But what job IS that?

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Did you lose pieces of yourself?

This post by DadsHouse made me think about my dating history since I started falling in love-way back when I was 16.  My first love affair was with the senior captain of several sports teams, prom king, you know the deal.  I wasn’t interested in him at first, but all my best girlfriends were.  And they told me I was crazy to deny the affections of such a stellar young man.  (For the record, he was and still is a wonderful person-you couldn’t ask for a better first boyfriend).  So, for just about the only time ever, I caved to peer pressure and said “yes” to a big, fat, topaz birth-stoned, yarn-wrapped ring around my finger.  It was fun and I remember the first kiss, the first time he held my hand…there is nothing like that initial spine tingling sense of something you’ve never felt before.  And he had this fresh smell of fabric softener or soap.  To this day, that smell brings me back.  Anyway, digressing as usual.  The point is that although I thought we’d get married and so on, he was just the first in a long line of boys I thought I’d marry and spend forever with.  

Aaah, teenage love.

Anyway, DadsHouse’s post made me think about the pieces of ourselves that we lose when we end a relationship.  Mainly the emotional repercussions of sexual relationships.  I know I’m going to share that part of the dialogue with my daughter.  Sharing so much and such special times, hurts more when you do part…I still miss the people I spent lots of time with over the years.  Although I wouldn’t trade where I’m at, I do wonder if it would have been better to have those relationships be a little less “meaningful” maybe?  Every relationship I have, I give so much of myself and love so completely, that you can’t help but lose a sliver of yourself when it ends.  And to always have that “what if” factor?  And is that little piece you are missing more critical than the life experiences you gained while you were dating the people in question?  Some of my long term relationships taught me more about life than any college course ever did.  I learned about different types of people, various relationship skills and each partner brought something new to the table, whether it be a hobby they shared with me, a skill they taught, a book they gave me.  

The woman I am today is all even-keeled and low key, low drama, because of all those factors that combined together to make me who I am. 

But it’s hard not to wonder sometimes-especially when some of the people you left seem a much better fit for the now version of you, than they were for the then version. I completely don’t regret any of my actions, but a couple of years ago, I knew I’d screwed up big with the guy I was missing.

Do you think you left some people who would have made your life even better?

Loungy weekends rule.

I love my weekends on the lake.  I’m lazy, there isn’t laundry to do.  The boat is already clean.  I read.  Swim.  And play with my little Sullivan, the Maltese of all Maltese.  😉  When my daughter is gone, I relax with my puppy and my books and my lake.  I don’t own the lake.  I wish I did…I swear I’d share it.  The feeling of peace I get out there for those two days is something I’d like to hand on a silver platter to all the stressed, struggling, single moms out there.  

 

I’ll take your kids while you go enjoy it.  😉  Especially the little ones under five.  I don’t ever get nearly enough of those anymore.  Well, except my nephew.  Who is just lovely.  I love you too Gabe.  😉  And I WILL eat your toes.  Aunt Shannon loves your baby toes.  Is that why you hold them out to me with that slick two year old smile and say “Ummmm, TOES???”.  

And watching my very own Prince Charming strip off that shirt and dive in the lake when it gets a bit too warm.  Priceless.  I will never tire of that sight.  I remember missing it while we were broken up for a few years and I make sure not to take advantage of it now.  

Another single mama!

So I have single mom radar.  When I ws ready to sell the house that I had with BsDaddy and kept for three years post-separation, I bought a house in the nearby “city”.  Then after a while, I found NewHusband and we eventually decided to move in together, and get married.  I got a realtor who was proven to be the best in the area, with a track record miles long and top sales awards to boot.  Well, she was a single mom!  We bonded over the transaction, and now I count her as a friend.  

Today, I had a meeting with a lawyer for the “fact-finding” court date, where child support is evaluated.  I’d like to get it all done automatically, as I had never done this (trying to be nice to the ex, always my downfall).  I’ve heard this lady plays hardball and I was tired of trying to defend myself when BsDaddy always gets an attorney and I never do.  We get chatting and lo and behold, she’s a formerly single mommy too!  Of 4!  Now happily married to a man she enjoys spending time with and her kids all turned out well, graduated college, all working towards second degrees.  She was an inspiration!  Even was apparently as strict (yet loving) as I am with B!  She’s excellent.  And although I walked in prepared to pay a retainer, she gave me the un-glossed over truth.  I didn’t need to bring a lawyer in to this fact finding meeting with the support magistrate.  She also told me who the magistrate was, the type of guy he was and exactly what I should do and say.  And then she said, if it starts to go south, just say you want an adjournment until your lawyer can be present.  But she really thought it wouldn’t.  So that’s good.  She said she could take my $1500 to do this, but I could definitely do a good job on my own.  So I’m going to try that first.  

When I came to work and mentioned how great it was to connect with these single moms, this co-worker who is the second wife of a man she has two kids with, and two stepkids that are his biological girls, said “it is it’s own culture isn’t it?”, in a semi-scathing way.  Yeah, my claws are out.  It’s a culture because of women like her who refuse to believe that we got here through anyone’s fault but our own.  I wasn’t a miserable wife, I wasn’t a nagging wife, I was honest and truthful, kept a clean house and even my ex will tell you I was an excellent wife.  He cheated through no fault of mine.  He’s just a liar and a cheat.  That’s something no one can change for him.  And I left because I want my daughter to be a powerful, independent thinker who does not rely on men (or anyone else) to make her happy or make her who she needs to be.  I would not have been true to myself, if I had stayed with a man I could not trust.  I want her to have conviction and to stand up for herself and what she believes in.  I believe in monogamy.  So I stood up.  And left.  If people have a problem with that, they can keep putting the blinders on to what their husbands are doing.  If that makes them happy, then so be it.  It didn’t work for me.  I know lots of marriages where the wives turn a blind eye to that behavior.  That wasn’t me.  And I’m not bitter or depressed or even angry.  I just knew I deserved better.  I deserved MORE.  So when I meet another single mom (or single dad) who feels the way I do and parents the way I do-well yes I do connect with them on a different level.  And if you want to refer to that as our “culture”-well so be it.

What message am I sending?

I feel confused lately.  I try to teach my daughter that she’s perfect and beautiful just as she is.  Every day of her life, she has heard “You are a beautiful, amazing, creative girl, and your mommy loves you very much” (followed by three kisses and a huge hug and a sniff of her glorious scent and there you have B’s bedtime ritual-in a nutshell).  Yet, I took this beautiful child:

(at three years old)

(taking a photo of herself last Saturday-this is what happens when you let her take photos at a family event such as my Dad’s birthday)

About half an hour before going to the orthodontist on Monday.  Age 8.

And outside the orthodontists office, with palate expander and braces…headgear only for night.

My point is, every night, I have to turn the key on this thing:

(not hers, just a sample photo of the one similar to what she has)

…and I feel that I’m putting her through this pain and drama all so she can have “perfect” teeth.  Am I sending the girl mixed messages or what?  The orthodontist had me convinced that it was legitimate and would be better than doing it later in life.  And B actually wanted braces, so that was ok.  She likes the actual braces (and since the most common question is “what color did she get?”, I will answer that one now, she got pink, orange, dark purple and light purple).  The headgear is a pain at night, but she sleeps fine with it, so maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  And supposedly the headgear is only for about 6 months with the palate expander.  Braces are about a year for this first phase.  Later on she could need another phase, but it will be shorter than the traditional teenage years.  

I adore this child.  I wish I didn’t have to sit here at work and worry so much that she might be in pain.  But hey, last night she ate mac and cheese and a few small bites of pizza and a yogurt!!!  And not all that much got stuck in the expander!

She’s going on vacation with her Dad and family this weekend for a week about eleven hours away and I’m so sad.  I’ll miss my girl.  Every other weekend, both kids are at their other parents and we plan all the stuff we need to get out of the way for those times.  Her Dad told her last night that he could “let her stay with Mommy” on Friday night since she’d be gone.  Um, sure wish he’d asked me.  We had made appointments and plans for the whole weekend and how can I possibly say that to B?  She’ll always choose to be with me. The funny part is, he’s home that night.  And live in girlfriend will already be headed to the vacation house.  Hmmm, wonder why he wants to be “free” that night?  Could it be he’s still the same guy he was when  our marriage fell apart?  The zebra can’t change his stripes and all that. The sad part?  B was so excited to possibly get to spend the night alone with him.  She wanted him to lay with her while she fell asleep and talk.  😦  Jerk.  My husband said, “she can come with us.  We’ll drop her off at the marina before we head to VT.”  And he’s right.  And I’m grateful he loves being around her as much as I do.  But it still makes me sad.  For my girl especially…we’ll see how it plays out.

Letting go…nope, never.

This picture was taken at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kona Hawaii, not too far from the beach we were married on this January.  She’s only eight, but it is in pictures like these, that I see her teen self starting to emerge.  

How I hope she keeps those bright, engaging eyes and her confident, self-assured personality!  I hope she loses a little bit of that eagerness to please everyone, that I see in her now and then.  Voice your opinion, I tell her.  Stand up to people for what you believe!  Even to me.  And she does…a little more each day…but it’s a work in progress.  I hope she keeps this beautiful smell and her spattering of freckles across her nose.  I hope she knows how amazing she is.  Every day of her life, I tuck her to bed with “You are a beautiful, amazing, creative girl and your Mommy loves you so very much!”.  If I stall on saying it, she says, “You can’t go yet…you haven’t said it”.  When I once went on a vacation without her, I recorded my voice saying it to her on this little Christmas ornament that records a message, so my wonderful mother could play it for her every night.  My mom accidentally recorded blank airtime over it and had to re-record it in her own voice and screwed up the order of what to say…but my little princess never hurt her Nana by pointing that out.  But she knew.  We often talk of how funny it is that I wanted a boy!  I so didn’t want to share her Daddy, that I wanted a boy, so I’d always be his only girl.  When we found out at her sonogram that she was a SHE…I was at a loss.  Obviously, I adapted.  🙂  She thinks its hilarious.  And I can’t imagine who I’d be if I hadn’t had HER.  She redefined my whole concept of femininity and how incredulous being a girl is.  My new husband says, “You just wait.  My son is hard now, but B will give you a hard time in a few years…you won’t be so close”.  I beg to differ.  When I mentioned that to B, she said “He doesn’t know a thing, does he?  I’ll always cuddle you, even when you come see me at college”.  I sincerely think she will.  I’ve seen other moms of 14 year olds who tell me they still have a bond like that with their girls.  My dental hygenist told me last week, that her 14 year old is an old soul who still loves her mother just the same and still is very, very bonded.  I know we’ll have rough patches, who doesn’t?  But I think that 5 years spent alone with her and my close attention to her and respecting her…well, I just think we’ll work through it all just fine.  If my own mother (who I’m very close to now) had just been more open with me, and more approachable, well, I would have told her more.  I strive to be strict, but not unreasonable.  I can even be negotiated with and I’ve been known to tell her, yeah, she’s right…I’m sorry.  She helps me think of appropriate punishments, and trust me, she is pretty hard on herself!  My punishments are sometimes easier!

 

Hey wait, I don’t get to go with her when she goes to college?  WHAT?

I love you B.  And I wish you weren’t at school and I wasn’t at work, and we were out on our bikes, tearing up a mountain trail.  You go girl.