Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Or keyboard. Or whatever. I've been kind of MIA lately - haven't even been keeping up with email. There have been some changes round these parts, and I'm working on getting my head back in the right place. We had the big family party for Big Trouble's birthday this weekend, which invariably takes up buckets more of my time than I anticipate. It's not that it is too hard or time-consuming, it's just that I have discovered I am really bad at estimating how long things will take. Denial, or something, I don't know.

This week Big Trouble began full-day kindergarten; his school does half days for the first month to help the kids transition. It seemed like a good idea initially, but after a week, both my kids were more than ready for full day. We walk to school, and I was getting to know all the crossing guards really well, as Miss Serious has been full day since the beginning, requiring multiple trips to the school.

I've been very ambivalent about him going off to school full day. I don't yearn for the days when the kids were young, or wish that I could turn back time or anything. I've enjoyed my kids at each age they've been, and never feel the need to change that. This is different, though, because I've been a stay at home mom for almost 8 years now, but once the kids are out of the house all day, my role is vastly different. I told The Professor it was like I've been working at a job I really enjoyed, and now it's been outsourced, a feeling which surprised me and threw me a bit off balance.

I plan to go back to teaching next year (I am SO looking forward to job hunting after all this time....), so in aid of this I interviewed to be on the substitute teacher list in the kids' district. I filled out my application, sent in my resume, and was placed on the list. I thus don't quite know why I was so profoundly shocked when my phone rang yesterday morning just before 6:00 AM asking me to sub; it was at a different building, so I had to say no, but now I know it's official, and sooner or later I WILL get called, and WILL need to dress myself up in grown-up clothes and teach a strange class full of strange children. Don't get me wrong - I loved teaching school, and I'm sure after the inevitable growing pains I will be fine. While my kids have been home I've taught graduate school and supervised student teachers teaching their classrooms, but it's not the same as teaching elementary school myself. It's just that subbing is much less suited to my temperament. I am someone who likes to know plans far in advance, and I have a distinct need for a feeling of control. These things are all impossible in a situation where you don't know if (or where - could be kindergarten, could be 5th grade) you will be working until the jangle of a phone early in the morning.

I gathered my wits about me yesterday, hit the teacher's store, the internet, and my old files, and have compiled a pile of things which may or may not be useful. Having only subbed twice in my life (and that was back in the dark ages, before I had taught school, had gray hairs, or children of my own) but having survived those, I'm sure I will survive this next chapter in my life. Unfortunately, my obsessive nature woke me up at 4:30 this morning to look at the clock and wait worriedly for the phone to ring. It did not, and I heaved a sigh of relief. Until tomorrow when 4:30 rolls around....


Anonymous said...

Welcome back - and how lucky to be able to reenter a day at a time.

I went back to work full-time when my son was 2, because we had no money and no health insurance and I had to. (I didn't say I did it gracefully, just that I did it.) The first few weeks, OK months, were horrible, I felt pulled in many directions when all I want to be was home. But now - 2 1/2 years later - I have found a balance and have rediscovered the joy which is having an identity and a personality outside of my own home. Vicki Iovine wrote about how, once you have children, "You're no longer somebody, you're somebody's mother." It felt good to be somebody again.

And the moment I get pregnant again, I'll begin counting the days until I can just be somebody's mother again.

(Sorry for the dissertation, I had coffee this morning and cannot shut up.)

Bezzie said...

Hee hee, my husband is only bummed about this statement in regards to his eventual foray into teaching: "...[I] WILL need to dress myself up in grown-up clothes..."

Teachers seem to be recession proof. Yes there are layoffs/budget cuts, but there's always another job around the corner in teaching.