I am halfway through my Year of Jesus. What is the Year of Jesus? You might be wondering, especially for us nonreligious types. My friend and biblical scholar told me about the “Year of Jesus” on my birthday this past February. It is simply the year that you are 33 years old, and if done right (as Jesus did way back when), it’s a special year of growth and success, of finding your stride and accomplishing great things (like saving the human race from sin).
Yes, I thought. This will be my year, I thought.
So far, welllll? We’ll start positively: the kids are great, and my hubs is climbing the ranks at work and enjoying the challenges associated with his newest role. We are all healthy and loving life in the Pacific Northwest. The “eh” part: I have been working in a job I like but don’t love, where the benefits are good but the pay isn’t great. A job in which I could easily stay, but knowing I am capable of doing much more than take care of small children makes the daily grind that much worse.
About three weeks ago, I got my new contract for this school year.
It was not what I had hoped.
I actually felt (uncharacteristically) ANGRY. So angry, I just started cleaning my house. Have you ever angry-cleaned? Whoa, nelly! I was fuming, putting ALL the clutter away. Lots of stuff into the trash. Spotless toilets. Hubs asked me what was wrong, and I promptly burst into tears saying I wanted to quit my job.
But we had just talked about this! Literally, two days before we talked about my next year of employment. Let’s do one more year, get our older son through kindergarten, keep my insurance, yada yada…
But I couldn’t do it, ya’ll! I couldn’t do it for one more year.
Let me rewind for a minute: I was a teacher for about 5 1/2 years before my family moved mid-year clear across the country from Missouri to Oregon. Leaving a teaching job mid-year is a nightmare for all involved, but my realistic choices at the time were to move at Christmas to join my hubs in Oregon, or to stay (alone) in Missouri for another six months with a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old.
No Daddy for 6 months?
The timing was hard — Portland in the winter is basically shit, and I had no job, no friends, and no sunlight. Getting a job was a game-changer. Instead of teaching, I was a teaching assistant, which is a bit ironic because weeks before the move, one of my best friends and I were laughing about how amazing life would be if we were assistants. We would crush it! Clock in, clock out, no work on weekends, no emails, no conferences, oh! It sounded like heaven.
And then I got that job! I became the teaching assistant in a sa-weeeeet kindergarten classroom, and it was all of those things…and more. And less. Because, teachers at this school make a pretty good (read: livable) wage. But, I didn’t make a livable wage, rather I made enough money to pay for my kids’ daycare. That was all. And there was quite a bit of exhausting and emotionally draining shit that went along with my very meager paycheck. Nothing like working just to send your kids to daycare!
Although I didn’t have to plan lessons or meet with parents, I helped raise their babies every day. I wiped their tears, rubbed their backs, encouraged them, helped them, guided them, “mom’d” them (since I was the only mom in the building). And then I went home and did the same for my own two babes at home. One of the reasons I wanted to leave was I couldn’t find the balance between being present at work and giving my students what they needed, and being present at home and giving my boys what they needed. I was out of gas.
So I quit! The news is still sinking in, but I’m encouraged by the positive texts, hugs, “congrats,” and “On to bigger and better things!” that I’ve received so far. Geez louise, I must have been visibly miserable to get such a positive response.
Back to my Year of Jesus. I am unemployed (FUNemployed?) and trying to figure out that mystical, elusive, tal vez Impossible thing called balance. Balance between work and family, and between being a MOM and being a woman/friend/partner/human being. Balance between sacrifice-for-the-good-of-my-family and self-care-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity. I am seeking the balance between Getting Shit Done and Relaxing (at least sometimes). Between Working Super Hard to provide a good life for myself and my family, and Enjoying Life While I’m Here on this Earth.
Anyone else out there feeling these tensions?
Anyone else’s favorite word “shit?” Man, I don’t know where my mental health would be be without it.
I just signed up for a writing course, and by the end of this year, I hope to have a client (or a few) who actually pay me to write. This is my plan. It is a loose plan at the moment, but I’m writing it here and publishing it in order to hold myself accountable. And you can come along for the ride! I will write much more often now that it will be my job to do so.
Friends, family, people of the Internet, this is my first HUMPDAY post in a LOOOONG time, years actually, so let’s celebrate the (re)birth of something new. I have almost exactly six months left of my Year of Jesus, and I plan to crush it. Hang with me, laugh with me, love with me. Judge me if you want to, just do it quietly. Let’s raise a glass of wine (A.K.A. Jesus Blood) to Family, to Balance, and to figuring this crazy life out before our souls are completely sucked out of our bodies. Happy Humpday!