First of all, let me just say that the sucky thing about being a caregiver is that after everyone has recovered and gone back to their Regularly Scheduled Lives (work, school, etc.), there's no one around to care for the caregiver when she gets whatever it is that laid them low.
Not that I expect my kids to take care of me. But the weekend is nearly here, and Hubby is gonna be doing the bulk of the childcare. And maybe bringing me some soup/tea/juice/whatever.
Luckily I don't seem to have the same flu he and WG had. I'm just a little achy and tired and sore-throaty. Hopefully it won't develop into more. And my equilibrium is off. Even more so than usual, which is saying something! :)
I wonder if it's possible to check into a hotel and be placed in a medically induced coma for 2 or 3 days? OK, possible, yes. Ethical...
Anyway, on to the main point of my post. There is a full-time job opening for a theater teacher at a community college near WG's school. It's EXACTLY the type of job I wanted before I had kids.
BEFORE I had kids. Now I'm not so sure. Because it would mean hiring someone else to take care of them. Someone who would probably end up spending more time with them than I would.
There's nothing wrong with that. I think it's important to be able to have that choice. But because of the high cost of child care, too many people (especially moms) DON'T have the choice.
But what choice do I want to make?
I was what was called, back in the 80's, a latchkey kid. My parents both worked, so, when we were old enough, my brother and I were given keys to the house and sometimes came home before our parents did. There were many who made dire predictions about us Latchkey-ers: We would become hoodlums, or anti-social, or overly-clingy and dependent. We'd never have stable relationships due to a lack of apron-and-pearl-wearing, vacuuming-in-high-heels, cookie-baking, stay-at-home moms.
Who really only existed in 1950's sitcoms, but that didn't stop the pundits from pontificating.
But the truth was, both of us were busy with afterschool activities, and often didn't get home until 7 or 8 at night. I turned out OK, and my brother is one of the REALLY Good Guys.
The fact is, I always thought I WOULD work full time once I had kids.
But that was Before Autism.
Before I spent all my time with them, and realized I can communicate better with them than anyone else, despite their limited or utter lack of speech. Before I understood that I know and understand them better than anyone else. Before I realized not only how much they need me, but how much I need to be with them.
Don't get me wrong, I LOOOOOVE that they're in school full time now, lol! And I'm certainly not averse to having someone come in and be with them a few hours a week (as I wrote about in a previous post), or sending them (pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease) to day camp for a few weeks in the summer.
But it has FINALLY dawned on me that I've been asking the wrong question. It's not "HOW will I take care of my kids while working full time," but "WHO will take care of my kids IF I'm working full time?"
I suppose I'm also not quite as ambitious as I used to be. Sure, I still fantasize about being on Broadway, or jetting over to the U.K to appear on the West End or at the National, or filming an episode of "Doctor Who" or "Sherlock." But that's just what it is; A fantasy. I don't expect it to happen, and I'm not working towards it. The truth is, I'd be happy to be a part of the local theater scene (like Hubby is), if I can ever stay awake past 9 again.
20 years ago I had it all planned out: I'd teach theater at a college or university during the year, and appear in summer stock every summer. If a husband and kids came along, great! But they wouldn't interfere with my plans.
I didn't understand it when friends and colleagues stopped appearing in shows and focused on teaching and, occasionally, directing, instead. After all, many of them had spouses who were perfectly able to take care of the kids. It never dawned on me that they actually WANTED to spend more time with their kids, and that NOT doing 8 shows a week would allow for that.
Ah, youthful folly!
I guess you could call it Karma (who can be kind), a Life Lesson, or simply Growing Up, but I'm now one of those folks.
These days my ideal is teaching part-time at a college or university, doing a show here and there when I'm able, and making my priority my family.
It's who I am NOW. It may not be who I am in another 10 or 20 years, and it's certainly not whom anyone else should feel forced to be.
I'll apply for the job. And we'll see what happens. But it's good to know that the choice is MINE. And I know how very, very lucky I am to HAVE a choice.