Feb 8, 2008

Take This Job and...

In her latest post, Quinn over at the QC Report explained why she made the choice, mid-year, to start homeschooling her daughter. She didn't do it because of any dissatisfaction with her daughter's school. In fact, she said, she would recommend the school to others. I find this remarkable because the reasons I hear for people choosing to homeschool often include dissatisfaction in some form, whether with a specific school, or school district, or the entirety of American public schools.

Since I was a teacher in a previous life, I have a bit of a soft spot for the public schools. But that's neither here nor there, because it turns out that Quinn's decision had very little to do with school at all. In a nutshell, due to his crazy work hours, Quinn's daughter wasn't seeing her dad much at all, and Quinn wanted her to be able to connect with him more. So when it boils down to it, she wasn't anti-anything; she was simply pro-family.

I've already talked about my belief that everyone makes different decisions for their families because different families need different things. I've never envisioned homeschooling His Highness or any subsequent kiddos, but I'm supportive of most anyone's decision to homeschool, even when I don't agree with their reasons.

There's a military wife I know who was once a fast-paced up-and-comer alongside her husband. He was in the military, she was a nurse, and they were pursuing their masters degrees at the same time. Lo & behold, their first son was born. They were able to make it work, and were keeping up with their pursuits when she stepped back and thought long & hard, and decided that for her son's sake she needed to stop & be home with him during this time that she would never have with him again. It's not that she didn't want to work or get her degree, she did. But she knew that with her husband in the military, she would have to be the one to cut back on outside responsibilities, and she felt it was the best decision for their family.

I am increasingly understanding the pull women feel in more than one direction, and understanding even more why they choose the way they do. I've always known the value of parents being with their kids, but now I better appreciate the sacrifice that it is for some. I'm not anti-career or anything. Some women work full-time, some women work part-time, and some women do the stay-at-home thing. Or some combination thereof. When His Highness was born I wasn't sure how much I wanted to keep working, if at all, but I knew that I did not want to work full-time. I just don't have the emotional capacity to juggle full-time work and family demands. Well, I could if I had to, I'm sure...I just prefer not to. So I decided to try working part-time. I reasoned that I could quit altogether if I hated it, or re-evaluate at moving time, which I knew would not be too far off.

I've found working part-time to be a pretty good balance. I do enjoy the work I do, and we've had a spectacular experience with the daycare. His Highness loves going to play with his teachers and pals...some days it's like pulling teeth to get him to leave with me. Still, I too feel the pull in two directions. Like I said, I enjoy my work; I just don't like the juggling that goes with it. I don't like having to be out of the house at a certain time, or ironing, or packing a lunch. I'm fine with work once I get there; I just don't like getting there.

Unfortunately though, I have an almost crippling degree of ambivalence. Some days I'm ready to chuck it all & stay home full-time...and yet I can't quite bring myself to cut the strings. Other days I'm completely content with our arrangement and am grateful that I've waited out the tough days...making me all the more reluctant to chuck it the next time I think about it, etc etc etc. I think myself in circles.

I can see why some moms struggle with these work and family decisions because now I count myself among those for whom it's not an impossible decision, but not quite a no-brainer either. And I understand all the more that there isn't a 'right' answer...it really does depend on each family and their situation.

With the Cat Daddy, I can see the future...the military has its own set of demands, many of which increase as one progresses through the ranks. I see his responsibilities and commitments only increasing and I see myself, if I want to preserve my sanity and the overall sanity of our family unit, making more and more hard decisions. And when push comes to shove I hope that, like Quinn, I keep my priorities in order and decide in favor of my family...

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