Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Money minds

My six months of sabbatical are almost up. That means I have to decide whether to go back to work soon. The issues are typical. Money (Tangible, materialistic) vs quality time and quality of life (intangible, soul-enriching). I'm quite a control person. I like things within my control. When I saw our bank statements and the realisation of how this dream of being a Stay-At-Home-Mom was seriously hemorrhaging our savings, Little Miss Control Freak panicked.

Did I need to go back to teaching? Packrat pointed out that I was a much nicer person and a much better mom while I have lived the life of a non-teacher. But can we afford for me to be a non-teacher for much longer? Then there is the whole larger picture of perhaps I should find something I really want to do with my life and start working towards that. Problem? I don't particularly know what I want to do with my life. A simpler proposal was just to be a good mom for these couple of years and be there for the kids while they are at their most sponge-like times (i.e. now) and make the best out of it, for them and for myself. I like the third option best but I'm realistic enough to know I can't make it work if I'm not earning an income. And I'm realistic enough to know that with play school fees, car and house payments as well as helper salary and levy, we can't live on one civil servant's salary unless that was a Superscale salary and Packrat laugh hysterically at that thought.

So what am I left to do? Sell my soul and return to something that makes in inherently unhappy but allows me to provide financially for my family? The very pragmatic in society will tell me with a sigh that young people nowadays want everything. Good paying salaries for jobs they enjoy and that is a pipe dream. I should suck it up, just like our parents did for us.

But I also know enough to question what is the point of being able to make enough if that is going towards sending the kids to full day play school because Mom isn't home when they wake from their naps in the afternoon? And what is the point of buying them a whole ton of toys and books if Mom isn't there to play it with them and read it to them? Even now, sometimes, I leave them to their own devices or their other caregivers while I sneak in some chill time or some work time and those times, I feel guilty as hell because I haven't really reconciled the fact that a good mother doesn't need to spend every breathing moment doing something with her kids.

Packrat's final words on the subject however were reassuring. We have enough savings for a while yet. And I'm not squandering it on the new season Kate Spades and at the spa. I'm using it so that I can be with the kids. And that to him is the definition of good and responsible stewardship of money. Now, I can't argue with that logic and the rest of it, in his opinion will sort itself out.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:11

2 thoughts...

2 thoughts...

At 6:38 pm Blogger Olie said...

Don't. Go. Back.

Not worth the money.

At 11:27 am Blogger Jenny said...

I'm thinking the same too (what Olie said). I've been severely traumatised by teaching (I used to want 2 or 3 kids by the time I'm 26, now I'm convinced I never want kids to be exposed to this society), and was on the brink of slipping into depression, until I made the choice to get out.

In fact, I've been on no pay leave for a year and a half now, and am quitting soon.

Then again, it really depends on what school you've been posted to. I know that there's a school out there that I will happily teach at because the management care about the students and not just about the school's reputation and results. Obviously I wasn't fortunate enough to be posted to that school for my permanent posting, but I've often thought my life might have turned out differently if I was posted to such a school.

Since that didn't happen, perhaps it helps that I already have a job lined up.


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