Difficult decisions


Again I am faced with a decision I do not want to make.

Going back to work.


I've done this twice since I left the full-time workforce in 2004. I was home with Little Lady and, three years later, Tator too, until we returned to Vermont in 2007. At that time, Hubby was making minimum wage while finishing his graduate internship and it was obvious I needed to do my part. As we were living with my parents for a brief interlude I was able to work three days a week with no need of daycare. I was incredibly lucky to find a job in the same facility as Hubby and which ran like a laid-back family. But it was a 40-minute commute up a treacherous mountain road, and with winter looming, Hubby's new "real" job in the offering, and my writing calling, I decided to leave at the same time as Hubby's internship ended.

As Hubby's clientele was growing he was making enough for us to live on but little enough to qualify us for the state insurance plan. But when he reached his full client-load we were over income level and suddenly we had no insurance for us or the children. Having never in my life gone without insurance, and definitely not feeling comfortable leaving the kids uncovered, I began the job search again. My plan was to either find a part-time job that offered insurance or paid me enough for us to buy private insurance. Well, I found a job, part-time, and exactly the kind of thing I wanted to be doing (newsletters, grants, PR), and with access to a group insurance plan. One problem: during the discussion with my new employer she informed me the monthly plan would be $500/month, but it turned to be over $900!

For a few months I worked extra hours in order to pay our insurance premium (and the extra daycare) while facing the insane paradox of not actually being able to afford to use our plan because every trip to the doctor was $30 and many things weren't even covered (Tator's EEG, for example, which we are still paying off nine months later). Finally, after bout after bout of Kindergarten/daycare contracted illnesses and no paid sick days, plus a very high winter oil bill, we just could no longer pull the premium amount together. We canceled the policy and sought out a high-deductible ($5,000) private plan. That was over $500/month and everything came out of pocket, so once again we were had to make the decision with each illness/injury if it was really that bad.

By this time school vacation was around the corner and I didn't know what I was going to do with Little Lady if I was still working. Hubby was bringing home a good wage at this point and we made the decision that I should leave my job - which I had only gotten for the now useless insurance anyway - and stay home with the kids. Also, I was recently certified as a journal workshop instructor and I was anxious to begin my new career.

Then Hubby's paycheck began to shrink. And then bottom out. We had no choice but to cancel our new insurance policy. We were once again eligible for state insurance - financially - BUT, and here's the baseball bat to the head: Because we purchased private insurance we are not eligible to receive help for ONE YEAR.

Once again we are insurance-less and rapidly becoming penniless.

I have begun to look for jobs, but here is the conditions I (and a future employer) have to consider:
1. I can't get there until 9 (Little Lady gets on the bus at 8:40)
2. I have to skip out at 11:30 every Monday and Wednesday to transfer Tator from pre-school to daycare.
3. I have to leave at 3:30 to get the kids from their various school/daycare establishments
4. I will be called away from work to collect a sick child from school every couple of months
5. I will have to stay home with a sick child (for up to four days) at least once a month
6. I myself will have to call in sick on the fifth day because I have contracted the snotties from my children
7. I have another life as a mother, wife, writer, and teacher so I won't be emotionally invested in your company (unless it's a writing job) - I have dreams and passions which WILL be pursued!
8. I will leave as soon as things get on track again so I can be those above-mentioned things (unless it's a writing job)

Needless to say, it is with little joy or confidence I look at the classified job listings. I am wracking my brain trying to think how I can help our little family. I feel so helpless! I have a new online writing gig - for pennies probably - and I'm trying to get my workshops going. On the one hand I believe in my dreams and the absolute need to pursue them:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined
(Henry Thoreau)
But on the other hand you have to make decisions with proper consideration of risk and timing. If you can't buy food for your kid's lunch your dream to be a soap-opera star may need to be put on hold.

So, that's where I am right now. Stuck between my dreams and a hard place. Do I keep on plugging along my honest, authentic path, hoping it will open up soon onto a sun-lit meadow of success? Or do I take another U-turn back into the working world knowing it won't be forever and as long as I don't abandon my dreams they will still be waiting up ahead?

Goethe said,
... the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
I guess I better make a decision...

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Morgan U said...

tough one, what about just hostessing somewhere a few nights a week?

Jo said...

I truly believe fate steps in when we most need it - but sometimes he needs a push - perhaps the decision to actively seek work will tempt him to put the right thing in your path. I'll keep you in my prayers. x

LM said...

this is a really tough call...but I am inclined to agree with the the other Jo. You've established yourself in the writing field...it's not something that needs to go away entirely. Have you considered tutoring English students...I'm not entirely sure if you need to be a certified teacher or not, but it might be more flexible...high school and college levels come to mind.

Good luck with this choice!

RaisingSmartGirls said...

I'm sending good wishes your way (and a few prayers) that maybe you'll find the perfect job for right now. I'm sorry this has to set your dreams back a bit, but as you said, it doesn't have to be permanent.

Try not to think too hard on the what if's like if the kids get sick. It may not be as bad as before - the older the kids get, the better their immune systems get too.

I can imagine how frustrating and disappointing this is for you right now. If I had to go back at this point (before all three are in elementary school) I would be terribly conflicted too.

I hope that it all works out to your family's benefit.