Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Starting a New Life

or at least the Next Phase in my life.

Since I was about 15, I've never not worked (i.e. had some sort of paycheck coming in), except a few months here and there during transitions. As of August 1, 2010, I will be officially unemployed. Fortunately, by choice. And by "employed" I just mean some sort of organization giving me a regular paycheck and me being responsible to some boss. I will still be employed, only now I won't have a regular paycheck (unless you count Frédéric's) and I'll be responsible only to two munchkins demanding my time and attention. Yup, just call me "Dr. Mom."

I suppose I should be a little scared, and I was initially when, despite thinking about this for the past few years, we finally looked to it as a real possibility. But really, I'm just excited. I know many people manage to work full time, raise kids, take them to all sorts of events, volunteer for boards, etc etc. Me? I can barely find time to make it to and from work. Between the demands of both our jobs, something had to give, and I was all too happy to give my job back :)

I like what I do - I still occasionally convinced myself I was out saving the world from infectious diseases - but I'm tired, and the day to day minutia is just not worth the time away from the family. I want to be able to do all the little things I can barely manage now, and then some. I feel really fortunate that this is even an option. Frédéric's job is pretty demanding and requires lots of travel. Until now, we've been coordinating it ok, but it's a challenge. My not working will ease up the pressure on him a bit too, although I've made no guarantees of a home cooked meal on a nightly basis (now, he cooks about 75% of the time).

As for my many many years earning an MPH and then a PhD? Some may say I'm "throwing it all away." Not really. My student years, though trying at times, were not a means to an end. I didn't sacrifice anything really for the hope of something greater at the end (ok, I did sacrifice a larger paycheck, but working in non-profit wasn't exactly a windfall either). No, those years of graduate school were, in hindsight, wonderful years of exploration and opportunity and enlightenment. While doing my research, I got to work on 3 other continents and an isthmus (or whatever Central America is considered). I met and learned from an amazing assortment of people. I am definitely a richer human being for the experience (if not richer in my checkbook...). It was all worth it, and I would do it again.

I'm sure being a Stay-At-Home-Parent will have a similar impact: full of wonder and exploration and enlightenment. Just in a smaller package, though some might say Angelina and Lenaïc have personalities which are not exactly "small." Rather, they are larger than life. There's a whole new world to explore. I'm ready!


Monica said...

I am so excited for you, Cherise. This is absolutely a wonderful decision, and a great lifestyle! It is impossible to throw away or regret education, don't let any naysayers get under your skin about that!

Besides, someday your kids will grow up, and you just might find yourself gainfully employed again. :-)

Have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I owe you pics still... sorry!!!)

Madame K said...

Yeeeah! Stay home! Kids are more fun than jobs I think. *shrugs*

gloria p said...

I really admire your outlook. These are years you will never be able to relive and although it may be frustrating, you will be a wonderful addition to the parent volunteer pool. You will get out of it much more than you put into it. BTDT and not sorry for a minute.

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