I don’t often write about my work here, mostly because there is little to tell. I work for an educational support company online, and it’s a job I have had for something like eight years. It’s fine work, but it’s part-time, and it pays poorly for California (the company is based in another state where these wages might be considered sufficient to some). While it keeps me working in my field when teaching is out of reach for one reason or another, it is mind numbing work–all the paper grading I hate to do when I’m teaching without the benefit of interacting with students or teaching my own classes. In my position, I also mentor and train other employees, so it’s not all grunt work, but it’s mostly that, and honestly, it is just not enough–monetarily, spiritually, intellectually.
The beauty of this work, however, is that I have been able to be home since, well, since I got pregnant (I turned in grades for the last classes I taught just days before our successful insemination). I was able to stay home and work during my whole pregnancy, during my son’s whole first year, and now into his second. But working at home is not necessarily an easy thing to do with a more aware baby or a toddler. My son is very aware of my laptop, and any time he wants my attention and sees it in front of me, he will disconnect the power cord. He’s been doing this for months. Now he knows it can be closed, so he attempts to close it. He hates the black box. I feel endlessly guilty about this. The other issue is that I can’t actually work when I’m his sole caregiver. I always had this image of working from the office/nursery while he played, or working while he napped (ha! that would be nice if I only needed to do two thirty-minute shifts a day), but it just doesn’t work like that. He needs my attention when he sees that I’m there, and I’m inclined to give it to him. Most days, I save the bulk of my hours for night after he’s gone to bed, which cuts into my time with J. It’s just not as workable as it always seemed it would be, and I honestly don’t know how most work-at-home-moms do it without neglecting their kids in one way or another.
All of this is to say, I think I need to get back to the classroom. I’m not saying the pay is much better, but in all likelihood, J and I will be able to work our schedules around one another so that we’re not necessarily teaching at the same time–and if we are, well, the university where she teaches has a fairly affordable, super high quality “children’s school” where we could take our boy for a few hours a week. A few months ago, just thinking about daycare threw me into panic attacks, but I can seriously talk about it now because I think I am ready to find some of my self again outside of the home, and dare I say it–away from my family. The beauty of teaching at the college level is that one doesn’t necessarily have to work every day of the week. I might teach just Tuesday and Thursday and be home the rest of the week with the boy (ideally). On top of that, there are the great holidays, summer break–good things because J and I get the same time off. It could be good for awhile.
So I contacted the college where I last taught, and I will be applying to the university where J teaches too. I’m ready to go back to academia, even with my swiss cheese mommy brain. Of course, my readiness doesn’t mean that these schools will suddenly have the funding to give me classes, but I’m putting the intention out there, and with any luck, I’ll finally be grading my own students’ papers sometime in the coming year.