Friday, October 10, 2014

Theory 52. Working mothers are “the man.”

Way back in Theory 4: Don’t judge a woman by her accent or breast size, I expounded on the myth that big breasted women are wild and loose. I further explained the burdensome load of being well-endowed in Theory 38: Orthopedic bras aren't sexy. Part DDDD, then H, then J. At the end of that post, I told you that I had scheduled breast reduction surgery. I planned to do it at Christmas time, for two reasons. 1. I’d have plenty of teacher time off to recover, and 2. Last Christmas break was marred by theft, exhausting work, annoying obligations, and, to be honest, grotesque, gag-me-with-a-dead-Smurf shopping that I dread and despise. I figured doing the surgery at Christmas would be par for the yucky pressure-filled seasonal course.

As all working mothers know, plans are pointless. Right? JUST when you think you have everything figured out, all helk breaks lose. And, doesn’t it seem like EVERYTHING happens at once? I am coping with so many “big” things right now, that I had to make a list and tape it to my computer so I wouldn’t neglect a life event. The bullet (not to be confused with bucket) list:

  • Breast reduction surgery (four hours “under” and 2-3 week recuperation time)
  • Finish master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (December comprehensive exams and graduation date)
  • HUGE student anthology project with 470 author-freshmen (Red Hot Backspace and I will edit, format, upload, proof, order, proof, revise, proof, order, ship, etc. by December 9)
  • Gnome’s birth mother wants to do a family photo shoot with ALL of us in October so she can take an album on her trip to visit Gnome’s birth father the first week of November.
  • My principal informed me that I may not have a teaching position at my (the best ever) junior high school next school year. I teach vocational courses and the district is changing the vocational offerings at the high school, which trickles down changes at the freshman level. I have no tenure. Last in, first out. So glad I took accounting so I’d understanding my situation. My dear principal, with whom I have a great relationship, promises to try to find me another position in my district, but she has little to no control over that. And, no one leaves M.C. Schools. I drive 40 minutes one way to work in that prestigious district because the students are ideal, my colleagues are outstanding, and the pay scale is one of the highest in the state. Why, even with a master’s degree (see bullet # 2), I’d take a $7,000 pay cut to work in the county where I live. I’m not sure my attitude would adjust. Plus, Sharky is in a new, pricey school and we still pay daycare. So, that settles that. My options are: get lucky and find some spot (any spot will do) in my perfect district or leave teaching.
  • WHICH MEANS I am job hunting. At the perfect age of 40.
  • The whole family must adjust. Not only may I end up changing jobs, I may end up changing industries, which affects Gnome and Sharky the most (think summer, Christmas, spring break, fall break --- what do I do with them?). And, quite honestly, leaving the education profession will break my heart because I love the creative, dynamic, fulfilling experience that teaching provides.
  • If I change jobs, my new employer may ask that I tone down my blog. I'll keep readers posted if the tone of Theories: Size 12 must change. We'll see. Oh, and, if I change industries, I'll have less time to write. So many goodbyes, potentially, coming my way. But, good things, too!
  • Did I tell ya’ll that Delicious and I are trying to buy an old house near the Little River in Townsend, TN. Sure, why the helk not? Subtract paycheck. Add mortgage. Makes sense to us. HA!
Or, as Gnome would ponder aloud, “Seriouslessness?”

But, I BOUNCE BACK! I've been through much tougher times. Haven’t we all?
Working mothers, these are the reasons I write so often about our toil and triumph! We are so strong! My sweet colleague, Tech Savvy, tried to make me feel better. She suggested, “Bug, why don’t you just hang in there with the district and do some interim work like cover maternity leave for other teachers until [so-and-so] retires at the high school?"

I appreciated her advice, and she is trying really hard to help me by asking around the area about potential openings as well as sincerely praying for me. But, unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of taking interim, short-term, mixed assignments because, as I told her, and as I told my principal, “I am basically the man.” Not “the man” as in a stud, but “the man” as in “the woman” whose job must not only provide a good income, but must also provide health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and retirement benefits.

Please note that I honor and respect my husband. Tall Child is the man, too. He works very hard, loves his job, employers, and clients. He is a good daddy and spends lots of time with Gnome and Sharky. Helk, he even went to the grocery store last week. But, the insurance burden is on me. Even though I sport a uterus, I provide for my family. Just like the traditional, proverbial, bread-winning man.

I figure I'll get some housewife panties in a wad over this post. Yes, it is tiring taking care of children all day. I know. I was a housewife for a bit. But, and I only speak from my personal experience, there is NO comparing the difficulty in being a working mother and being a stay-at-home mother.

Once, in an unwise moment when I was a full-time bank executive working from 8 to 5:30 Monday through Friday (Fridays til 6), with customer call nights every other Thursday til 8 and working every fourth Saturday, 49 weeks a year, Tall Child smarted off, "Wow, this house is a wreck. [Friend's stay-at-home wife] keeps her house clean and smelling good all the time." That was the time I threw my underwear drawer across the bedroom. It shattered. Of course, I had to buy wood glue and fix it.

Sorry, but this is my truth. As my hard-working, single-parenting, dynamo sister-in-law Dogwood Debutante recently said, "Wow, my house would be clean, too, if I had an extra 50 hours a week at home instead of work!"

We've/I've hustled at different levels. A was the hardest. E was the easiest.

Level A: Bank executive
Level B: Teacher and author running small publishing company
Level C: Teacher
Level D: Part-time worker (substitute teacher)
Level E: Housewife

I am not afraid to say that being a housewife (Level E for Excellent) was profoundly easier than being a working mother. Tall Child worked very hard to give me those years with Sharky and I will be forever grateful. Unfortunately, the recession changed things for us. BUT, but, but, I LIKE working, and don't think I'd go back to housewifery again, even if I had the choice. Who knows? And, I may be headed back to Level A, but I'm okay (actually a little excited) to do so. The important thing is that I adapt. That's what working mamas do, right? 

So, friends, forgive my woe-is-me diatribe, but I write from my core, and my core is sore. Oh, yes. Sore from stress, but also, ding!-ding!-ding!, sore from surgery!  Because of the possible mid-year job change, my surgeon agreed to move my surgery up to my fall break (last week). YEE-HAW!

On the morning of October 1, I checked into the hospital a whopping, strap-straining, back-aching size 34J. Late that night, I checked out of the hospital at least 2.7 lbs lighter in the bra and potentially (once the swelling subsides and I can take the bondage-bandages off) 8, yes, E-I-G-H-T cup sizes smaller. YAAAAAAAAAY!

If I weren't looking for a respectable job, I’d post pictures. This is the best I can do. And, it’s not too far off the real deals.



So, one bullet down (or should I say two bullets down?) and a few to go.

Friends, thanks for listening. I feel like I got a lot off my chest (sorry, couldn't resist). I appreciate you. 

Working mamas, this post is dedicated to you. Keep taking care of business!

Oh, and I DO have a funny post in progress. Stay tuned and think outside the barn!


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Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

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Just thinking outside the barn...

Just thinking outside the barn...