Why I Worked, Part 4: Another Baby, Another Move, Another Job Search

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here

Here we are right after John Paul's birth - I was excited to go back to work for my first FULL year teaching, and not even a little bit concerned about leaving my newborn.  We had a sweet babysitter hired for the times when Andrew couldn't watch him at home, my freezer stash of milk was huge, and I was reeeeeeeeeeeally ready not to be nursing a baby all. the. time.

Dad in grad school = LOTS of father-son bonding time (when Dad's not studying, at least...)

Yeah, John Paul was one of those babies.  He would nurse for like, 45 minutes to an hour, and then 30 minutes later he would need to nurse again.  After all my pre-labor research and the information at the hospital saying "every 2-3 hours" I was a little disheartened.  So it was actually a HUGE help to my mental health that I could be at work and just have to take pumping breaks every 3-4 hours (which worked out really well with my schedule, and my body has always responded well to a pump).

My students were so sweet and SO excited.  Being a choir teacher is seriously the BEST job (if you're doing it right), because teaching kids who want to learn and want to be in your class is so rewarding!  I learned a ton teaching them that year, but there was a lot of uncertainty brewing underneath...

We were waiting and waiting and waiting for a job offer, any job offer for Andrew.  And my school was closing, staff being transferred to a new school that had just been built that year.  Meanwhile, my sister had moved in with us after a brief stint in the convent, and we were pretty cramped in our 2-bedroom apartment.  She was moving out that summer, but we needed a bigger place so that we had space for a new baby due in January!

We waited.  Still no job offer for Andrew.  I threw myself into visiting elementary students and recruiting for what *might* be my new choral program the next year, assuming we were still in the area.

We waited some more.  Still no job for Andrew.  I signed my teaching contract.  And got an ego boost when I found out that my program enrollment had increased by almost 100 students over the last year!  I took a tour of the school, including my gloriously huge classroom, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a pond.  We found an adorable condo in a nice neighborhood that would be perfect for our growing family.

Andrew graduated.  Still no job. We packed everything up for our move and a few days after our lease started at the new place (but right before we moved) in July?

Andrew got a job offer.

2.5 hours away.

Yeah, that condo wasn't happening.  I started searching for jobs in the area where we both grew up, but it was July already.  Pretty much everything had been filled.  We moved in with Andrew's dad and I resigned myself to "just" being a stay-at-home mom for now, until I could find another job (Andrew's job had a pretty low starting salary and no health insurance for us, so I really needed to find something if we were ever going to get out of his dad's house).

The school year started.  I was feeling, once again, really fabulous about the fact that I was AGAIN unable to find a teaching job.  And this time I even had experience!

Then of course on the first day of school, I got a call.  They needed a long-term substitute at a local high school because the teacher had to go on bed rest for her maternity leave.  They needed someone NOW!  And it worked out that that someone was me.  The pay was practically nothing (just enough to cover daycare for John Paul), but it was a great way to get into the district and hopefully find something for the next school year.

It was a blast, even though I had to teach show choir (don't even get me started. Those kids would sing SO well in rehearsals, and you put them on the stage and add choreography and 90% of them are just screaming the melody. Ugh.).  I got the lovely runaround when their teacher couldn't decide if she was going to come back from maternity leave or not, but I finished up my stint, we moved into a townhouse closer to Andrew's job (the hour+ commute every morning and evening was KILLER), and got excited about the prospect of a full-time job for me!

But apparently it was still not to be.

Cecilia was born and I got used to being a stay-at-home mom.  I joined a mom's group, a book club, met up with other moms at the playground.  I even started a blog!

I kept applying for jobs in the spring and summer, but nothing was opening up and I was kind of okay with "just" staying at home (despite the fact that we really needed the money, or at least the health insurance. I try not to think of what a horrible financial situation we were really in at this point...).

We spent a lot of quality time with "The Baby in the Mirror" that year

The summer was almost over, and I had no leads.

Then I got a call from a local high school director who needed someone to teach a class or two at the middle school.  It was a secondary school, and the choir position had never been full-time for middle school.  I took John Paul and Cecilia to a playground nearby where a sweet former student from my subbing watched them, and talked to this director to see if we were on the same page.  It seemed kind of perfect, so we set up a formal interview for the next week.

Incidentally, I got the call very conveniently while she was passed out!

Did I really want something part-time?  They didn't even know if it would be one or two classes...  After much prayer and deliberation, I accepted the position.  And then found out I would be teaching ONE class.  Thankfully it still qualified me for part-time benefits, so it was worth it financially.

I was so excited to be back teaching again!  We had a really sweet babysitter lined up.  And the schedule was weird, but nice - I could still do all my stay-at-home mom things, and every other weekday afternoon I headed off for a few hours to teach choir.

I was ready for a much-needed break from these two, no matter how adorable they were!

The only issue?  I got my final enrollment numbers shortly before school began.  69 middle school girls.  One class.

Coming up next: My last teaching job, the craziest maternity leave ever, and why I left teaching for good. (Read Part V here)

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