Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Leraning how to say no

The universe, or my fairy godmother, or whoever must have been listening to me last week, because no sooner had I said I should have been a teacher, I was asked to interview for an amazing role.

It involved teaching parents of children from different backgrounds (predominantly immigrant, Aboriginal and low socioeconomic, but also any families within a geographical catchment) in the comfort of their own homes, how to be their child's first teacher. Tricky is in the program this year because he's been asking me actual school questions lately and is trying to read (what?!) and I didn't know if I was teaching him properly or going against everything he was learning in kindy. So we enrolled in the program mainly for me to be confident that I could help him.

He loved it. I loved it. To be part of the staff on that program would be amazing. I attended the interview and I left feeling so bloody confident. I'd nailed it. Except for the bit where I said "Roleplay in interviews makes me feel like a dick". Classy, Glow, real classy.

My parents had agreed to look after Bobbin for a couple of hours at a time, but even then, with clients booking in all over the place, it wouldn't have been an easy schedule. My dad, the army dude, needs regimented schedule. My mum just needs to know when she can and can't go out for coffee. It was going to be hard, but they said they'd give it a go.

The next day I went to Tricky's kindy for a Mother's Day Morning Tea. I've never been one to cry at kindy; the idea of my kids growing up and gaining more and more independence doesn't make me sob, it makes me celebrate. No really, because if they're not growing up... yeah, the other alternative isn't so nice. So anyway, I'm sitting at Tricky's kindy and he's winking to me from the "stage" area as they were getting ready to sing us a song. The kid who never sings and never does the dances at school. Get him on a dancefloor and it's a different story, but in a bunch of kids, no go.

He sings. He dances. He waves at me and points directly at me when the lyrics say "I love you". I melt in to a giant puddle and come the closest to crying at kindy I ever have. I'm talking lump in my throat the size of a house. I was so damn proud of that kid, previously paralyzed by shyness and here he was SINGING and DANCING!

If I was working, I might miss out on these little things that are actually HUGE to both him and me. It got me thinking, and as I turned around to pick up Bobbin (who was making a beeline for the home corner), I realized I would be missing out on so much of her first year when I didn't have to. I had so much time with Tricks, and this year with him at school, Bobbin and I get to have one on one time together where she comes first and isn't just being stopped from eating Lego or being moved away from one of Tricky's creations.

She is a handful and then some, but geez, she's good value. She needs her mama. I need her.

On Tuesday, the company called me to offer me the position, and, on Wednesday I formally declined.

I've never turned down a job before. I've never been in the position to. I felt awkward and uncomfortable, wanting to please them and say yes. But the right thing for me, for my family, was to finally learn how to say no. I feel that if I go back to paid work right now that both of my kids would just miss out on so much, and since I'm in the very privileged position to not have to go back, I feel like it would be short changing them, particularly Bobbin.

I take my hat off to you paid-working mamas, and to the paid-working dads, I really do. I couldn't do it.

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