Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Second-Guessing


I am scheduled to return to work in 1 day. I found out last week that I will be working in the Gr. 1 and 2 classroom, with a "new" Gr. 1 and 2 teacher. I've worked with this teacher before--some shuffling of teachers has taken place in our school for the upcoming year, so this teacher is "new" in the sense that she has not taught the Gr. 1 and 2 class (exclusively) at our school before--but she has been in our school for a year, working primarily with another age group. I'm quite excited about working with her. She's young, vibrant, enthusiastic . . . a great fit for this age group. I wish I were with her all day, but alas, due to school division budget cutbacks, I'll only be working in the morning, from 9 a.m. until noon.

As I've stated in previous posts, this cut in my hours, resulting in a cut in wages, is not something we had really hoped for. Living off of Employment Insurance during the summer months has been sort of like a "test" for us with regards to whether or not we can manage with my cut in wages. And to be honest, it has been a struggle. On the other hand, I'm not sure how realistic the month of July was, because I only received $20.00 from E.I. for the entire month . . . only now am I finally getting what I'm entitled to. That's just how it works. Lots of logistics and lots of waiting. But in the process, bills pile up and then, as our current situation is, I'm scrambling to make sure everyone is satisfied with payment arrangements I've managed to organize. I say organize, because while it sounds ridiculous, a certain skill is required in order to time payment arrangements "just right" so that there is still enough money left over for things like food and fuel. I'm not even going to mention clothing here, because, for the first time in their lives, my boys are going to start school without any new clothes.

Now, please do not think I'm writing this to make you feel sorry for me. On the contrary, this has been a great test of faith and perseverance for me. While my anxiety level was extremely high a couple of weeks ago because of all of this, I've been "working the numbers" and I think that within a couple of months, we'll be back on track and I might be able to shop at the grocery store like a normal person, instead of writing up my list and then prioritizing it according to what we cannot live without and what is currently a luxury item, even though it isn't really a luxury item . . . it's just something we can get by without that particular day. I've already informed my family that hot dogs and Kraft Dinner are going to be par for the eating course around here for a while. Thankfully, they enjoy that meal. I, however, don't enjoy it as much as they do. But, we are not starving. We have vehicles to drive. We have a roof over our heads. And we've got clothes to wear.

I know you're probably asking yourself why I would share all of that, since the title of my post is Second-Guessing. Well, here's why:

I am second-guessing my decision to keep my 50% position at the school and not seek alternate employment. I probably shouldn't have been doing this, but for the past couple of weeks I've been searching want-ads in specific places of potential employment, checking out what opportunities I'm missing because of my commitment to my current job. And what I'll say is this: The opportunities I am passing up would potentially give me the option to buy anything I jolly well please at the grocery store, at any given moment. It would allow my boys to have designer clothes (not that they would, but the option would be there). It would allow me to pay off debts that are piling up in one fell swoop. It would allow me to allow the boys to do all the extra-curricular activities they want, not just "the least expensive one." My stress level on the financial level would be next to nil. However, my stress level on other levels, such as maintaining the household, preparing proper meals and baking goodies instead of buying them, having quality time with my husband and kids . . . those things would suffer. And from my husband's perspective, a more stressed-out Kimmy is a less-tolerable Kimmy. We've tried it before and he's right. I do much better at "keeping order" in the house (and of my emotions) when I don't work a full-time job. But then again, I've never worked full-time (40 hours per week) consistently since my boys were born.

Anyways, I really just needed to get this all out and try to sort out my thoughts, in an attempt to convince myself in writing that I'm doing the right thing by keeping my current job, even with a reduction in hours. I'm more accessible to my family after school if I only work 15 hours a week. I'm going to be less stressed out over the housework now, because I'll have all afternoon to work on that, every day, without anyone else around to distract me. I will have the opportunity to rest . . . maybe even read a book or two.

Sometimes it is difficult to decipher what God's plan is for us. We are given so much free choice that I wonder how much of our own desires, actions and decisions get in the way of God's plan. I strive to listen to His voice, but when it came to this particular decision about future employment, I did not sense His direction one way or the other. It is times like those that uncertainties begin to surface and I spend way too much of my time and energy lamenting over the "what-ifs?" in life.

It is also times like this that I cling to the verses in Jeremiah 29:11-13, trusting that everything will work out in the end.

11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Today's New International Version)

4 comments:

~Rain``` said...

What a honest post. I know from experience how it feels to be in a position of "second-guessing". And sometimes, like you mentioned, God is silent and allows us to make the decision. You are doing a great job of weighing out the options and from what I am reading, it seems like you have made the right decision to keep your job. While extra money can reduce one kind of stress, it can also create another kind like being so busy that you don't have time to rest or really connect with others.

I remember many times as a kid not getting what I wanted (ex: designer clothes or extra-curr opportunties) because my parents didn't have the extra cash. Looking back, I really appreciate those lessons. Life wasn't about getting everything I wanted. It was more important to be together as a family. All will work out and lessons will be learned in the process. Your boys will be better people because of this.

And, I love that verse too. Got me through some crazy times as a single woman.

plettdaphne said...

Oh, Kim, thank you so much for this post. It is sooo reassuring to hear someone else living like we do...we have a house, a vehicle, clothes so from the outside it looks like we are doing well - but I also "make payments" on our bills, have a very limited grocery budget, and rely basically on hand-me-downs for Maddie. (The girls are very lucky - their mom buys them new clothes - which is hard for me at times when I hardly get any, nor Maddie) - but that's okay - good lessons to learn. Just wanted to say thank you for your honesty and I can't wait until we can get together - hopefully soon. I love you!

stacey said...

i won't pretend that i know what God's answer is for you, but my heart will always veer towards kids and family unless the situation is dire enough that you need to do something else. God knows your heart and i think He would make the message clear if you needed to be somewhere else.

i love the honesty.

Lovella said...

Thanks for the post, Kim! I really think you're doing the right thing despite the financial pressures you're having. I just want to encourage you to trust God and not stress out. I believe that if God didn't want you in the school He would close that door altogether. I believe He has a purpose for you being there and hopefully in time your hours will increase to take off some of the financial pressures you're facing! You and your fam will be in my prayers. Love you!!