Life goes along, you know?
Day by day, things go by, little by little. Most of life is really quite unplanned once we make the Big Decisions.
Then, every once in awhile, the Big Decisions come along. I have never really been good at the Big Decisions, mostly becauseI am not one of those people who just "live in the moment". I am a planner, always have been, and whenever I make a Big Decision, I see the long term effects of it and have to weigh everything carefully. Once I make the Big Decision, I am actually pretty good about living with it, but the making. . . oh, the making.
Walk with me.
The past three months, we have taken some big hits financially. You might remember, I got laid off from my part time job, which didn't make a lot, but was a bit extra each month. Hit #1.
Hit #2 was a string of health needs. Emma was in the doctor five times in one week. Long story. I also have been having more and more trouble with my neck. I cannot function when it goes out and my physical therapy is not covered until we hit our $2000 deductible and then it is covered at 60/40. I tried so hard not to get therapy the first two times it went out, but the cost was that I think I hurt myself more and have cost us more money in the long run.
The most crucial hit, however, was Hit #3, a change in health care plan at M's work, where the amount we had to pay went up - an increase was over $340 per month. Unfortunately, our insurance didn't get any better. We still have huge deductibles and then co-insurance and my PT is still not covered. I know this is hardly a unique situation. I don't really know anyone that has "good" insurance. But we had about two week's notice before the switch and increase went into effect and that's kind of a big amount to suddenly come up with each month out of a budget that was already tight. Before the increase, we had enough to meet our monthly obligations and a very tiny bit extra for fun spending, and that was about it. We are fortunate that we have a decent amount in savings, and so when something like the car needing new brakes comes up (as it did last month - July was a rough month), we have to take that money from savings. Which wasn't a big deal when it happened occasionally, but it seems to be happening more and more often. Yes, I know that is what savings is for, but as that amount dwindles, so does our comfort level. We went through our budget last month and got rid of anything remotely "fun", downgrading cell phone plans, cable t.v., etc., and the numbers are still falling a bit short.
Enter the Big Decision (which I haven't done a good job of suspense-building - I am sure you see this one coming).
I have a former boss who I worked for at J&J. Let's call him. . . Da Man. Well, Da Man has contacted me me about once a year with a diferent job opportunity since I had Will. He works for a different company now, but it is the same industry. Each year, I have been tempted to take the job offer, and each year, I have decided it wasn't time.
This past Monday, Da Man called. He has an opportunity for me that most people would kill for. Believe me, in this economy, Iknow, I am a LUCKY woman.
Here are the upsides (of which, there are many): I will actually make slightly more than I did when I walked away from my career three years ago, which. . . well, it's more than a good salary, with great benefits. The territory is small (relatively speaking - no overnight travel) and familiar to me (I worked it before). I will work from home (though not at home, I will need to be away for the majority of the day) and have some flexibility in planning my schedule. After I am established with the company (let's say six months to a year), getting time off for sick kiddos, doctor's appointments, special events, etc., is a non-issue. I have worked for Da Man before. He worked me like a dog, but he also thinks a lot of me, respects what I do, and is a family man himself so understands that they will still come first. To me, one of the hardest aspects of a new job is learning a new manager and how they "tick". I've got Da Man kind of figured out. I know how to keep him happy and what is important to him.
Here are the downsides: The training is in New Jersey. For three weeks. Unfortunately, I cannot come home on weekends and the kids and M cannot visit. For someone who has been with her kiddos 24/7 since they were born, this is hard for me to get over (yes, I know it is temporary, it still is something that is hard to deal with). There are national and regional sales meetings about once a quarter to bi-quarterly. Those are usually less than five days long, but it will still be hard. I hated them even before I had kids and only had to leave the furbabies and M. There are days when my schedule will be insane. Sales is sales. You go where the money is, when the money is. There were nights when I wasn't home until midnight and then would turn around and leave the next morning before the sun was up. Obviously, I have some control over this, but there will be times when I do not. There are field rides which are awful in length and intensity, and Da Man loved working with me. He worked with me a LOT (once a month or more). My world kind of stopped before when I had to ride with my manager. That is going to be hard with kids. I know I will reach a new balance and figure it out. It's just intimidating.
And, the ultimate downside. . . I will no longer be with my kids everyday. I know many of you, my dear readers, are working outside the home parents. I respect that with every fiber of my being. This choice is a highly personal one that has to work for each family and no one can make for anyone else. However, I think we make these choices and then live with them based on a tape we play in our head. So, let's say you work. Your tape would support that choice. Let's say you don't work. Your tape supports that. Not to say that either tape is wrong or right, but it's what keeps you going, what helps you feel comfortable with the decision you've made. And while I have heard some moms say that being at home wouldn't be for them, I really have enjoyed being at home (though I do spend a lot of time worrying about what the future holds) and spending my day with these two amazing little people.
We looked at several daycare facilities today. One was an absolute NO GO. I mean, I wouldn't leave my furbaby there. One was decent. One was your cadillac, top-of-the-line facility where our children will be taught Spanish, Manners, and Reflective Dance (I am not kidding). All of them made me cry. It's not that there was really anything wrong (with the last two anyway). It's just that they aren't. . . ME.
A good friend has offered to watch them, but my hesitation is that I haven't heard a lot of successful stories of mixing friendship and childcare. She also wants a "trial" basis and I don't know what we'll do if it turns out to be too much for her and then I've aready taken the job. I also think she wants a more casual arrangement, and I need someone who will be there when I need them to be (within reason).
M refuses to look off of Craigslist or do a state-licensed home daycare (for security reasons) and nanny services are so expensive that it would really negate the financial benefits of me returning to work. So. . . it's pretty much either finding a nanny through word of mouth or using a daycare center. But, I think we can find something. I just have to stop playing the tape.
So, my tape has been playing for a long time. It's hard to unwind that tape and start playing a new one. I realize I am fortunate to even have a decision to make.
I mean, we could keep hobbling along, barely making ends meet. This causes a lot of stress for both of us. Or. . . we could choose a different path where we won't have to hobble along.
So. . . I don't even know what I am looking for here. This is decision that we have to make together. I guess I just needed to put all of this down. And if I am quiet for awhile, you will know why.