Tag Archives: teaching

What Might Have Been vs. What Wouldn’t Have Been

Yesterday evening I decided to go into the storage space of our bonus room and go through the tubs and tubs of materials and resources from my years of classroom teaching.  I taught public Pre-K and Carter is ready for the things I taught my students.  The day that I brought those things home, I put them away immediately.  The decision was such a difficult one for me that I couldn’t linger on it or even have any reminders of the career that I walked away from to be at home with my son.  I still think it was the right decision, but I’ve fought so many mental and emotional battles over it throughout the past 3 years.  Seeing those things that represented my successful career as a teacher took me down an unexpected emotional road.

I’m a numbers person.  I look at bottom lines and facts.  The fact is that our combined income this year was about 11,000 less that what my salary alone would have been.  As we face the facts of not being able to afford so many aspects of our lives, that fact hits me like a punch in the gut.  What might have been?  For starters, that would just about have covered the deficit in our bills from this past year.  I’m also a heavy responsibility person.  Whether or not something actually is my responsibility, I can’t help but to factor in how I could have been of some help.  I don’t know whether Jeff wishes we’d never made the decision for me to quit teaching.  I do know that he loves the way our son has turned out so far, which you can’t help but to largely attribute to my being here with him.  I could have saved us so much stress and arguing and worrying.  I could have helped to make things easier.  I can see that there are certain problems that never would have occurred had I continued to work.  I can’t, however, predict what other problems would have occurred in the place of those.  It’s impossible to weigh the pros and cons of 2 different paths.  But I do know that in some pretty dire and uncertain financial times, I could have held on to a little stability for my family.

But then there’s the things that wouldn’t have been.  I wouldn’t have been here for my son each day.  I don’t know where he would have been, but I can assume that we would have had to find a daycare for him.  I know there are good ones out there, but none of them would have shown him the love that I have.  None of them would have taken the time to know each word, each intention, each need and how to meet it.  There is no way he could have gotten the attention in a room full of children that I’ve given him here, even with working part-time from home.  And there’s that.  There’s my job.  Working for my church has certainly changed me in ways that would never have happened otherwise.  And though at times I feel like my job boils down to running errands, repetitious tasks and record keeping, I know it’s making a difference in helping this church to run smoothly each week.  And, I know I’m needed and appreciated.  Those three things are something that many people never feel from their job, so I know I’m lucky.

With all those things on my mind (and some pregnancy emotions thrown in for good measure), today I just sort of lost it.  I was vacuuming and picking up crap and doing laundry and I had a real mad cry (which is very different from a sad cry).  If I wasn’t such a wimp, I may have followed through on my urge to put my fist through a wall.  At that very moment, the idea that our financial situation could have been improved overtook me and I was so pissed.  I don’t know why I was pissed exactly, but the weight of the world was suddenly on my shoulders.  I was so sick of feeling like a child that needed to be supported at 33 years of age.  I was angry that a good friend is having a surprise party tonight that I can’t attend because I can’t eat out or use the gas to drive an hour round-trip.  I was so upset that a friend asked me if I wanted to come go through her consignment clothes for first pick and I was too embarrassed to tell her that I can’t spend money on clothes for my child right now, so I said nothing.  So many things, all at once.  But in the end when I put all the might have been’s up against the wouldn’t have been’s I still have to stand on the decision that I made being the right one.  I have to reach past where it feels like there’s no more hope to grab onto and find that shred that will keep me sane and keep me smiling and holding on.


Tough Decisions Abound

Thankfully Jeff and I have had lots of time to talk about some very tough decisions.

We based them on what we know.

  1. If we do not pay for our house, the bank will take it from us and sell it to pay off what we owe.
  2. If we do not pay for our power bill, they will turn off power to our house.  Same applies to all other utility payments.
  3. If we do not  pay for our credit cards and other “bad debts”, our credit score goes to the toilet.

I do not advocate nor am I comfortable with not paying for something that I promised to pay for.  But, times as they are, something’s gotta give and we chose the credit cards.  I wish there was some way that I could just post a big sign somewhere that explains this to everyone that is going to begin calling and sending us letters.  I wish they would understand that, while I want to do everything, I can only do what I am able to.  For us, that equals keeping a house over our heads, running water, power, gas in our cars and food in our tummies.

On a side note, there is a hiring freeze for the teaching profession.

To rather interesting expenses that we’ve cut are diapers and birth control.  First, I didn’t really think that Carter was “showing all the signs” of potty training readiness, but diapers cost about $50/month, so we had to try.  Within a week, Carter pretty much had down the #1 in the potty part.  Three weeks into it now, he still has the occasional accident if I don’t remind him to go.  But, I’m happy with our success.  #2 is something he is flat out refusing to do in the potty.  I will catch him in the act and he says, “No, I’m not pooping, Mommy.” before I even say anything.  He knows what he’s doing–or rather, what he’s not doing.  We have his reward on a shelf in the living room.  At this point it’s more important for him to do things his way than get the reward.  I have some more waiting thinking to do on this.

Second, birth control without health insurance would also be $50/month.  So, that went, too.  I am not going off of the pill to have a baby.  In fact, it’s pretty important that we don’t right now.  Being off of the pill makes me feel like a new person.  I’m losing weight and I feel more hormonally balanced instead of hormonally forced.  Though, cleaning poop out of training pants still makes me cranky.

The Audition

This Sunday not only will I be directing the things going on on the stage, but I will be taking the stage.  Yes, me.

I am for sure no longer a fraidy cat when it comes to public speaking.  I’ve taught and flat-out acted a fool in front of children and adults numerous times over the years.  Teaching brings those things out of you.  I always used to tell Jeff that teaching was like being on a stage and under a microscope (yes, at the same time) all day long.  If you are uncomfortable with speaking, confrontation, foolishness, singing and being watched you should definitely avoid the teaching profession.

As I was going over the lines with Jeff last night I was taken back to high school.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I did not enjoy high school.  I could not get over my inner fraidy cat in high school.  I SO wanted to do things that were for brave girls, but I’d get close and run away.  Quickly.

One of the most painful memories of trying to be a brave girl in high school was of an audition for a school play.

As it often happens, some football coach was placed in charge of the drama program in the off season.  And he was bad at it.  I had a brother that was an actor, so I thought I knew good talent.  And, most importantly, I thought I had it in me.  Though I had never graced a stage before, I was sure that I could act.  And my new acting career would of course catapult me into an entirely different social class in my high school.

I walk into the room and there are some obvious favorites in there.  Very smart people.  Very popular people.  People who had done this before.  The audition consisted of drawing a particular complicated emotion or character out of a dish and reciting the ABC’s in that character.  First, that’s just the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of.  How was I supposed to convey my hidden acting abilities to the ABC’s?!?!  We went down the rows of seats and I ended up going last.

I drew from the dish.

My task was to say the ABC’s in the character of a snob.

My first mistake was making some crack about that being too obvious for me.  As soon as it came out of my mouth it became forever etched into my mind as something stupid I SHOULD NOT HAVE SAID.

I can still see myself there in front of that room, with the football coach watching on, attempting to sound like a snob and failing miserably.  I thought, why couldn’t I have gotten angry, frustrated, child-like, heartbroken…anything but SNOB!

The casting list came out a few days later.  The obvious names were there and I was not.  Never, ever have I attempted to act again.  Until now.  Sunday will be my big debut–about 16 years later.  I’ll let ya know how it goes.