Friday, 28 August 2009

Role Reversal

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. In a rather unexpected series of events, I have suddenly found myself thrust back into the workforce, no longer able to call myself a stay-at-home mom. After three years away from the classroom, I am diving head first back into the world of education, teaching English to 11- to 16-year-olds at one of London's top international schools. Term starts next week, and the nerves are mounting every day.

I hadn't planned on going back to work (outside the home, that is) anytime soon, but things happen for a reason and sometimes you have to grab an opportunity when it presents itself. This job is such a good move for me in so many ways, aside from the obvious financial benefits. I can keep my NC license current, for one. Experience at this school will be a great addition to my CV if and when I decide to move on, as it has a very good reputation, especially within the international school community. I'll also gain experience working in an IB program, which will be a real benefit if we ever decide to try living abroad for a year or two, something we've considered doing when Crumpet is old enough to appreciate the experience but still young enough not to feel completely uprooted from her life here. And, of course, there's the discount on tuition for faculty members' children. But we're getting ahead of ourselves....

My new identity has also given The Other Half a new identity of his own, as he has taken on the role of stay-at-home dad. He hasn't had much luck finding a job himself, so at least this gives him a little more time to look and consider whether or not he wants to stay in the same field or train for something different or even start up his own business. But, right now, our priority is having someone home with Crumpet full-time, whichever one of us that may be. The Other Half and I have never felt like we have to define ourselves by traditional roles. So it makes sense that whoever has the best opportunity should go out to work. We're a partnership. I'm perfectly fine being the breadwinner now because he has had that responsibility in the past and probably will again soon. Still, no matter how secure we are in our new roles, it doesn't stop everyone else from making judgments.

Despite all of these rationalizations, being back at work has taken some getting used to. I spent the first two days calling home every couple of hours to make sure everything was okay, less worried about Crumpet than I was about how Daddy was coping; luckily, he had had those days when I was filming earlier this month as a sort of "rehearsal." I won't lie and say I haven't had my share of doubts and even a few tears. But in the end, I know that I am doing the right thing for all of us. I was so lucky to be home with Crumpet for nearly a year (which is much longer than many of my American mommy friends have had with their little ones). And I have all of the school holidays to look forward to; in fact, Half Term is already marked on my calendar in big bold letters.

So, even though this isn't what I would have foreshadowed a month ago, this is an exciting, albeit challenging, new chapter in our lives. Although, I guess you could say this means my film career is on hold....

3 comments:

Michelloui said...

Funny how life throws us surprises from time to time--but congratulations! This sounds like a great surprise! Good luck with it and have fun (most important of all).

Almost American said...

Congratulations on the new job! It sounds as though it will be good for all of you. Remember that the first year in a teaching position is always the hardest - it gets so much easier after that!

Angela said...

Thanks! In some ways, I feel like I'm in my first year of teaching all over again! But hopefully by the end of the first term I'll have much more confidence in what I'm doing.