Where is the best place to post updates? 2022 “me” is so extraordinarily different from 2014 & 2016 “me.” I guess I will update here at the top. I will turn my original “About Me” into a “past life” blog post later. -Tina, 2022
What happened? The last time I wrote a blog post, I was employed as a paraprofessional at a local middle school, and I really liked the change. In retrospect, a part of me wishes that I could have found satisfaction just being still and appreciating what I had: job security, students who appreciated me, well-defined work hours, time to focus on my health and fitness, breaks off of work to focus on other interests and responsibilities…
Now, it’s 2022, my husband Joe is approaching retirement, and I find myself in a strange career limbo. I stopped experimenting on projects at home in favor of applying myself to my own educational and professional endeavors, and I am kind of questioning my choices.
I started a bachelor’s degree/teaching credential program while I was working as a paraprofessional, and then quit work in order to complete the student-teacher component. I loved student teaching, and I learned so much from my master teachers. Then I completed the HELL that is the EdTPA. Oh my goddess, my eye begins twitching when I remember the EdTPA. Who thought that madness up? I am still so confused at how that project demonstrated my competency as an educator. Whatever. I earned preliminary dual credentials in the state of California as a Multiple Subject and an Education Specialist teacher. In 2020.
The positive part of 2020 was: my daughter Alyssa, who previously, at the Defense Language School in Monterrey, California, met and married a dream of a young Marine, moved to Maryland, bought a house, and switched from active duty Air Force to the reserves, called me in March to tell/ask me “What the Hell am I supposed to do now we thought we’d try to get pregnant and it worked I’m pregnant I’m going to have a baby oh my God.”
By December, Alyssa and Gunnar (yes that is his real name) had sold their house, moved back to California and into our home while we simultaneously began a long-anticipated construction project – turning the upstairs of our garage into an apartment – and then they had our granddaughter who they named Ruby Jo.
Did I ever mention in any post that Joe and I built our house? Which included a two-story detached garage? The upstairs of which was never finished, just waiting for the day when we had the money and time to make it into something special? Eighteen years later, we had neither the time nor the money, but it is completed.
Having one of my children living back at home like this is absolutely the best thing that could have happened to a person like me.
So, while the rest of the world SUFFERED, suffered, through shutdowns, I got to prepare for the arrival of Ruby. Yes, I was lower-case suffering through completing the EdTPA, and then discovering that I had to take extra courses to show I really was certified to teach English language learners (I TOOK THOSE COURSES ALREADY, CTC.) I lower-case suffered because school districts weren’t hiring because of the pandemic.
Honestly, with all of the work I had put into getting that degree and the credentials, it was really my pride that suffered. Otherwise, life was near-perfect. I actually had to stay home. I made bread again.
2021. We learned Joe’s mom was very sick. Metastasized breast cancer. I got a long-term substitute job. Joe and I took turns taking his mom to chemo. I worked. He worked. We marveled at Ruby. We completed the apartment and the kids moved in. I got a full-time teaching job at a charter school and got lost in the demands of being a first-year teacher. Joe’s mom came to stay at our house, and then passed away. And I spent the rest of the year trying desperately to find a balance between being present for my family and being the teacher I had planned on and dreamt of being. The teaching job won.
The first half of 2022 is a blur. My school and the student population were tough. I hope I made a difference to those students, but it took more out of me than the hours I spent in the classroom. Things are hard out there for teachers, people. Show compassion. I made it to the end of the school year, but I declined to come back for the following year.
Tomorrow, my closest teacher friends are beginning another school year. I’m going to be fine substitute teaching instead. I would LOVE to apply my heart and experience to another teaching job, but I just don’t have confidence in the system to gamble another year of my life away like that.
Whew. My life became like the majority of other women’s lives, trying to juggle the responsibilities of home, family, and work. My goal from 2014 was “to be frugal, creative, and make things from scratch when it is feasible, logical, and efficient.” Is that a lifestyle I could ever have again? Do I want it back? Feasibility, logic, and efficiency are in short supply; I (get to) have an eighteen-month old running around the house. I don’t want to miss out on the magic of this time the way I did when my own kids were this small. I was always so busy. Now, life is becoming shorter by the minute. I need to spend more time appreciating what I’ve been given.
P.S. I still have someone else clean the house, and it’s still the best money spent.
How’s it going? Thank you for reading my blog, and for being curious about what kind of person is writing it! I’m a 40+ year old wife to my first husband, and mother to three mostly grown kids. My husband Joe and I have been married for a little over 20 years. We decided when we got married to live on his income solely while I stayed home and raised our kids. We’ve depended and thrived on this lifestyle, and so far the kids are doing okay so I’m thinking that we made a pretty good choice.
As a child of my parents, I suffer from constant guilt. (I’m not alone in this, am I? Hey, are we related?) I’ve always felt guilty that I wasn’t bringing money into the household too. As the kids got older, I knew that the day was coming: time to get a job. Or finish that degree and get a job. Problem is, I still do not know what I want to do with my life!
My very wise friend Steph finally told me to shut up and just do what I’ve been doing. Do Joe and I NEED extra money? Not exactly. Do you like being at home when your kids and your husband are there too? More importantly, do you like being there when the house is empty? Yes and yes. Are there things that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time because you were, duh! taking care of kids? YES! Steph works as a high school teacher and she relishes her summer “stay-at-home mom” time. She told me to take advantage of the fact that I don’t have to wait until summer to enjoy the gifts of my life. If Joe doesn’t care, why should I? Epiphany: I shouldn’t feel guilty because I’m not miserable.
With more consideration, I presented this amazing idea to Joe: If I were to work outside the home, we would spend even more money. We would eat out more, I would definitely hire someone to clean the house, I’d spend more money on gas and clothes, etc. How about if I continue staying at home, and I’ll see how much money we can SAVE by doing as much as I can myself? By being frugal, creative, and making things from scratch when it is feasible, logical, and efficient? I was proposing more at-home, industrious activities using the stuff we already had. Joe’s response? “Promise to make more beer?”
UPDATE August 30th, 2014: I’m still in shock about how this happened, but I find myself employed. See the “Time for Something New” post. The focus of my blog will be changing, although I’m uncertain about the details. I’m still focussed on “being frugal, creative, and making things from scratch when it is feasible, logical, and efficient.” We will see how this pans out as I will be spending much less time at home!
UPDATE June 24th, 2016: We have hired someone to clean the house. Best money I have ever spent.