Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Scourge of Itchy Feet

As I said, I have been feeling unsettled lately. A variety of issues contribute to this, some of which will fester on for a while I suspect.

Back when I wrote this, I anticipated a state of flux as my husband figured out what he wanted to do, work wise. He pushed his boss on letting him take over his department and through a series conversations, they determined that right now, this is not a wise move. Fine by me, since I wasn’t that keen on it in the first place – way too many ‘what ifs’ for my liking. However, because I had myself steeled for change, I have now found it difficult to settle my head again.

Instead, I have been going through something that happens from time to time – a desire to move, to change, to do something different. I periodically get the urge to move house. Much as I hate to say it, this is because I have never really felt like this house is my home. My husband found this house, with his mother’s help while she was here on a trip to visit him, over six years ago. It was a model home in a new subdivision. It’s a very nice house – but I didn’t choose it. However I try to rationalize that attitude as being ridiculous, and try to convince myself that it is my home – it just doesn’t feel like it is my home. And so, I go through all the real estate listings, to see if we can find another home for our family, one that we will seek and find, together.

Then the frustration enters because, while I am not in love with this house, I’m not foolish enough just to sell, pack up and move to any old place. It has to be somewhere better, in a great neighbourhood. And so the rationalizing begins again – this is a great neighbourhood and there are few in our price range that can match it. On top of this consider the fact that in this part of Florida the housing market is D.E.A.D. Our neighbours' houses have been on the market for over a year, and so to the mix you add a whole big helping of uncertainty and a dash of fear that we could find our dream home and not sell our own to help us reach it. A recipe for more frustration no doubt.

In an attempt to ‘fit’ more into my current home, I am currently obsessed (and no, that’s not too strong a word for it) with changing it. Changing it so that it doesn’t resemble the house that I moved into. I want to change the outside, I want to change the kitchen, and I want to change some of the furniture. Luckily, my husband is 100% on board with these changes so our current vision is to slowly tackle these and work our way through some home improvements, focusing on those that will add value to the house so that if we do decide to sell, we will have some extra buyer appeal built in.

The other issue that has my head spinning lately is the whole ‘Stay at Home vs. Return to Work’ debate that I have with myself. I have been out of the workforce for almost 5 years! When I moved to the States, I never anticipated being away this long. While overall I feel that being at home with my kids benefits them, and me, in these early years, that niggling voice ‘what about work, your career, the compensation?’ gets louder at times and has me wondering whether going back wouldn’t be better right now. Then I question ‘How do I get back’? How do I make myself attractive to a prospective employer now that I’ve been out of the corporate marketing loop for five years? Then I get agitated because I fear that the world of work, as is widely touted, will not look favourably on a mom attempting to return to the workforce – because on paper it will look like I have done nothing of substance in the last five years.

I know this is not true – I have carried and nurtured my babies, I teach them and love them. These are achievements of the utmost importance to me and are most certainly substantial. I have not let my mind shrivel up and die either, and I know that I have the capacity to gear up and hit the ground running in a work environment again. When is the right time to do this though? While my kids are still small? Before I am out of the workplace so long that prospective employers will right me off? After I undertake ‘refresher’ study of some sort?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, and it’s killing me.

Then I ask myself a whole new set of questions: What is motivating this desire to return to work? Is it the need to use my career skills? Is it the need for something more challenging than nappies (diapers) and baby food? Is it the need to prove myself? Is it the money?

I suspect the answer to these questions is ‘all of the above’ and that kills me, too.

Why can’t I content myself with where I am now? Why can’t I realize that I have it pretty good, and certainly a hell of a lot better than many? Why can’t I be present in the most joyous time of my life so far? To relish in these early years with my children? To live each day to the fullest? To be SATISFIED?

I. Don’t. Know.


andi said...

What a great post, Annie. I think all of us struggle with these questions. I hope you find the answers soon. :)

Deborah said...

I could have written that post! I know exactly what you mean. I'm toying with the idea of applying to med school next year under the "mature" (you spend your whole life wanting to be mature, but once someone actually calls you that it has a whole new significance!;-)) student scheme. DH is totally on board, so we'll see. It's always been my dream and I think I'm young enough that it could still happen.

Hang in there... it'll make sense soon enough... I hope! ;-)

CakeHead said...

As an apartment dweller, I totally understand your desire to change the home you have right now.

As a working mom, I can only say I wish I didn't have to be. The grass is always greener, huh? Seriously though, it might be difficult at first if you decide to do it, but persistance is key. I can't say how easy or hard it would be for you to find a job, but I'm sure you can do it!

moodswingingmommy said...

This is such a fantastic post! How on earth did you get inside my head?