Saturday, January 03, 2015

Happy At Home: An Update on Me

I am continually surprised by how fulfilled I am doing nothing. My kids are in school all day now. Where do I go from here?

I am not like some people. I feel fine, happy, fulfilled, and joyful at home. Reading, folding laundry, making playlists, and not feeling busy is what I like. But I'm not a domestic goddess or anything. I'm not good at dinner, don't make sack lunches for my kids, and am bad at crafts (though I think I would like some of them if I had an aptitude for them.) I've noticed a lot of women with kids my kids' ages get really into PTA, marathons, or photography. I don't want to do any of that.

I am happy at home. I don't seek outside fulfillment. That said, I have wondered if I can really afford the luxury of time in my day where I can do what I want. If I were a billionaire the answer would for sure be yes. But Christian works very hard and shoulders many financial burdens for our family. Listen, we're fine. We're great. I have a pair of genuine Uggs and a maid. He is safely, happily, contentedly working at BYU and we have sold our food trucks. (That was fun, wasn't it?) But, like anyone, we have financial obligations. Missions and college are looming. Money doesn't grow on trees.  When we had kids we committed to having one of us mostly home with them but with kids in school all day you start to wonder, what should I be doing now?

I like the idea of writing. I still work for Babble which, in the past, has been a slog that I felt burned-out on. However, since they restructured last summer it's much more doable and even at its sloggiest it has been a fantastic job and it feels wonderful to be a paid writer. But I'm not sure how long I can keep blogging about my kids. I want to forge new ground and blog about my older children. I am the grandma of mommy blogging, after all. But their stories are not just my stories anymore so it gets tricky. You know? Of course I'll always have Doctor Who to blog about. But the Babble editors don't let me blog about it NEARLY as much as I'd like to. Point is, I'm not sure if my blogging days are numbered. I hope not. But who can say?

I also thought: "I have a little free time now. I should spend it in the service of the Lord!" So I answered my phone, said yes to everything, signed up for things, and volunteered. As it turns out, you get burned-out on that real fast. If I am going to keep doing my own calling, help my husband with his calling, and raise all 4 of my kids Mormon, I can't take every cannery assignment that comes along. Men are that we might have joy, and that's no kind of life. (At least not for this guy.)

So anyway, I got a job at BYU. It's part-time as an office manager at the Fine Arts Advisement Center. (I worked there as a student.) Applying for jobs is kind of demoralizing and undignified in many ways. I didn't even hear back from jobs I really considered myself too good for. I have a masters degree and have taught college. I've cobbled together a pretty decent little freelance career over the last 10 years. I feel accomplished and capable. But on paper and in interviews it doesn't always come out right. I was all set to talk up myself, to parlay my experience outside of a formal job into a transferable skill set that is valuable. I had no takers. To be fair, I didn't try super hard. But how horrible for people who aren't just job-searching on a lark! I guess I always thought I could get any job I wanted. Being basically a stay-at-home mom for the last 17 years has disabled me in some ways from the perspective of many employers. That makes me mad!

Then I got my BYU job. They were great and wanted me. Let the record show that for all the bad press the church gets feminist-wise, it was BYU that was willing to look seriously at what I've been doing for the last decade and validate it with a job offer. So that's pretty cool. I feel good about it and felt guided to take it and I love the people I work with, helping students, working on campus in the Harris Fine Arts Center, and going to work from 10-2. That said, I like not working better than working and I think I might be a socialist?

At any rate, even though I don't make very much money Christian appreciates the contribution I'm making. We sometimes go to work together and meet on campus for lunch—something that has never happened since we had kids. At some point I might go back to teaching. But teaching is so open-ended. Grading papers and planning lessons takes all the time you have. Blogging and writing are also that way. I can't have 2 jobs that are open-ended time-sucks. In the meantime, I'm on campus interacting with students, which is fun. A future stretches out before me with the potential to do things on my own schedule rather than the nap or school schedule of my kids. This is, I think, the prelude to my so-called 2nd Act career. Who knows what will happen!

If my kids get married and start having children I know what I hope happens: 2nd act—Same as the first.

But that's just me.


10 comments:

  1. I recently retired - and love it! I don't do a lot of the things I was pretty sure I'd fill my free time doing - and I stay plenty busy - but I get what you are saying. I fantasize about paying you a visit - maybe when I get a grandchild at BYU, I can pull that off!

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    1. Yes. We need to get together IRL!

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  2. LOVED THIS! My youngest started kindergarten this year and I've been pleasantly, hugely surprised by how nice it is to be home all by myself, doing whatever I please (more housekeeping than before, but not as much as I could). Keep blogging, please!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  3. I pretty much love everything you write.

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  4. blergh, i just wrote a really long comment and i don't feel like rewriting. but it ended with me saying that i'm going to be in utah next month and if you're up for a lunch date it would be great to see you and let you give me some life advice to get me through the next 18 years.

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