Friday, May 11, 2012

My focus is shifting

Today, my oldest daughter turns 22.  My husband and I had been married just a few months, when we found out we were expecting.  I was so happy but so unprepared.

We had graduated from college, married, and moved from Iowa to Chicago in May.  Fortunately, he had a job and I was planning on going to graduate school at the University of Chicago.  After visiting the university, and driving by a McDonald's with bars on the windows, I decided that this was not the right school for me.  I had no real experience with diversity....this was after all the 1980s and I had grown up in a suburban neighborhood and lived very close to UNI.

So, I started working part-time, and looked for full-time work while we started planning for our family.  There was little thought about finances and daycare.  Meanwhile, I started working as a Marketing Assistant and was accepted to Northwestern University for the following June.

When our daughter was born right before Mother's Day, we brought her home to a house we had been in just a few weeks.  I prepared to start graduate school in three weeks, and we set out to find daycare.  Three weeks after delivering a baby, I started graduate school, went back to work part-time, and we adjusted to our new schedule.

For 14 years, I focused on finishing graduate school and my doctorate, while working my way up the corporate ladder.  We had moved back to Iowa shortly after I finished graduate school.  Meanwhile, my husband pursued various positions and careers.  We had a second daughter.   Then, seven years ago, I transitioned to teaching college full-time.  Life slowed down (and so did my salary).  But, our girls were active, my husband was traveling, and I knew I needed to stop traveling and be more available at home.

Now, I have resigned from my full-time teaching position.  I am teaching part-time, and working on a few contract projects.  My husband and I are flipping a house.  My salary has changed again, but this time, I am more ready to slow down and accept a different pace of life.  I want to work enough to live but LIVING is my focus.

My family is still important!  I still want a career, but I want to clearly separate my work and my personal time.  And, as I told my 16-year old, I want to be at all your games and concerts, but I have some things I want to do for me too.  Somehow, in our effort to provide for our family, my husband and I lost our focus for each other and the things we like to do.....imagine that!

For now, I am committed to providing a more balanced focus in my life!

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