Monday, October 18, 2004


I've finally done it.
I've achieved the ultimate. I've finally found work/life balance. But I had to quit my job to do it.

Last month after six years of 50-60 hour high stress weeks publishing content for software developers, I quit my job to teach at a local community college. I gave up my good salary, my stock options and awards, and my museum and zoo passes to teach three classes each morning and be finished with my day by 11am--just in time to have lunch with S and T and put them down for naps. And when they wake up, we play. It's glorious. We cook and color and dance around the kitchen and chase each other around the house. We scream and sing at the top of our lungs and make forts and feed T's dolls huge, ridiculous feasts.

Sometimes we're bored and that's heavenly, too, because it's a new emotion in our house. S and T have been in daycare for at least 50 hours a week since they were each four months old and boredom is not something they've ever experienced at home. Most of their toys are in practically brand new condition because they've never had time to play them after daycare (dinner, bath, obligatory story, and then bed so that Mommy can get back online and get some work done!) and the weekends were always incredibly hectic (cleaning, groceries, errands) and mostly spent in their carseats.

Ironically, since I am pulling a full load of classes, I do have a lot of papers to grade and lessons to plan at night. But just spending the time at home in the afternoons changes everything. I have so much more patience with the kids and they seem to have a lot more with me, too. There's a lot less whining in our house these days (from both parents and the short ones) and though the house is messy all the time (ah, so that's what happens when you're actually in your house), I am starting to develop this calm happiness that I haven't had since my maternity leave with T. I'm really enjoying my life. It sounds corny and cliche, but it truly is a new feeling. Why should we have to race around all the time, everyone trying to prove to their co-workers (and managers) that they're racing and getting more done than anyone else? I wasn't even enjoying my comfortable salary since I didn't have time to, anyway, and I mostly spent it on services that I didn't have time to do myself (housecleaning, online shopping, gardner, oh, and daycare, too. Mostly daycare.).

The other day, S started whining. It was a high-pitched, pathetic, repetitive moaning of the word 'bored.' "Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored..." I was surprised to hear him going on like that, but I was in the kitchen, stuffing all of the dishes into the washer and could only see the back of his head as he looked out the window. Every once in awhile, he'd put his face up to the window to see what kind of marks he could make on it. I got out a rag for him to clean off the glass when he was through, but since I make it a rule not to respond to whines, I ignored him for awhile. After a few minutes, I could see that he wasn't really trying very hard to get my attention so I peeked over to see what he was doing. He was smiling as he moaned and when he saw me, he stopped the whines.

"Hey Mommy, I'm pretending to be Conrad from The Cat in the Hat. I'm so bored and am looking for some fun that is funny. Wanna try it?"

So I sat down and started whining and moaning and groaning, too.

We like being bored.