Friday, September 27, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet?

That’s the phrase that has been going through my head lately.

It’s been four and a half years of job hunting for Boyo.  Four and a half years of revamping his CV, writing covering letters, scouring job postings, talking with employers, having interviews, and still not having a full time, permanent job.

I realise that we are blessed.  We are doing okay.  Honestly.  But it’s just tiring, doing what we are doing for the length of time it is taking. 

Four and a half years of part-time work, out several nights a week, with all of our sleep subsequently disturbed.

Four and a half years of feeling like we’ve been led “down the garden path” time after time, with people sounding excited at Boyo’s experience, saying they might need someone, having talks, realising workload has dropped, deciding he’s too old, faffing around with whether they want someone full or part-time, not getting back to him, changing their minds left, right, and centre.

Four and a half years of not knowing what summer will hold as our student allowance ends at the end of November each year.

By the time I graduate, it will be six and a half years.  6.5 years of my life to get this degree.  I will have spent Munchkin’s entire preschool years studying.  Except the year I worked part-time instead.

So while some other mums get to enjoy gardening, or coffee, or cooking, or even cleaning on their own when their child is at preschool, I don’t.  I don’t have time.  I am trying to manage a thirty minute walk on my own (because if you’ve tried walking with a three year old lately, your heart rate usually only rises due to their skinned knee, not your walking speed!).  I don’t have time to enjoy the days he is at preschool because I study.  Next week is officially study-leave for both myself and Boyo.  That means no classes.  Yay!  But it does not mean a break.  We might take one day off to have an outing together.  We did that back during our last study break and it was really, really nice.  But the rest of our study break will be spent studying.  Loads and loads of assignments.  Research, interview, essay, online quiz, you name it, I’ve got it on my list for the next two weeks.  Of course I won’t get it all done.  But having just been sick for two whole weeks and still managing to hand in two large essays BECAUSE I had done a heap of work early on them, I know that as a part-time student, full-time mother-of-preschooler I MUST keep moving and keep ahead of deadlines by several weeks, just in case I end up being called into the ‘stop everything else because this sick child requires constant Mummy cuddles’ phase that occurs all too frequently when you have preschoolers.

Studying when Munchkin was 2-3 months old - Child Development textbook!
Now, in my saner moments I know that we are doing the right thing, using this time to up-skill. I know that some of our circumstances are our own doing.  We could have done better when we were younger at preparing for our future.  We could have managed our careers better, done many things differently.  So I know that this is just how it is.  And usually when people ask me how I do this mother come student gig, I just say I don’t know, I just do what I have to do.  I don’t want applause.  I don’t want pity.  Most of the time at any rate.  But right now, in all honesty, I just want it to be over.

It would be such a relief to have Boyo in a stable, steady job.  I know that would mean big changes and adjustments for us.  Munchkin would miss seeing him so often during the week.  I would miss his help with Munchkin (particularly at times like the past two weeks when he’s juggled his study to help me with Munchy and mine!!!).  BUT, it would just be nice to have stable, predictable income that actually meets our needs.  It would be nice to feel like someone sees in Boyo what I see.

That they see how determined he is to get work, how hard he is trying, how much better he will be as an employee than when he was younger (why do people want to hire young sprats anyway?!). I wish someone would take notice and see that he’s been faithfully working at a supermarket doing nightfill for four and a half years to support his family, while studying hard to upskill and try and get back into his industry.  I wish they could see how passionate he is about civil, how he lives and breathes it, how his number crunching brain is made for that line of work and how much he’s missed being a part of it.  I wish they could see that he really KNOWS now that this is what he wants to do, so he’s going to be committed, and focused, and enthusiastic about their company and their work.  I wish…

And I wish I had my degree. I know that working now with Munchkin the age he is wouldn’t be terribly helpful or easy.  I just want to be able to do something other than study (I get to blog in the evenings ‘cos study leaves me too wound up to sleep, otherwise I wouldn’t even be doing this).  I know I will really enjoy working in early childhood.  I love hanging out and meeting Munchkin’s play buddies, or talking with the kids at church.  And I know that this season has created changes in me, just as it has in Boyo.  I’m less structured than I used to be (some of you may be laughing right now, but it’s true, I used to get really upset if I didn’t get my list crossed off, now I just move it to another day!).  I’m having to learn to accept changes to routines every few months, which I suppose is good for my routine-loving soul.  I’m becoming more flexible, I hope.  I’m a better parent for it, at any rate.  I’m also learning to lower my standards.  I’m an A grade student.  Just always have been used to that.  I like to do a really good job on things.  I’m thorough.  Well, I am learning to be less so.  I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to pass.  No one is likely to ask me what grade I got on any given assignment during my studies.  Nope, they will check I have a good qualification, and watch me interacting with children.  So it’s okay to allow myself some work-life balance by being a little less picky over assignments or whether I read all of the extra readings in any given week.  Grin. 

This time has definitely wrought good changes in both of us, melded us together as a team at a time we really needed that.  So I’m grateful for all the good things it has done and the bonuses it offers (like being able to go for a walk together today, a windy Friday morning).

Munchkin and Boyo have an amazing relationship and have always spent lots of time together!
I know we are nearly there.  I know that.  I just wish we were “THERE” already.

It’s been one of those years.



MaxineD said...

And when you are 'there', there will be other changes and challenges to build your character and make you grow..... :-)
Blessings and love

Aynsley said...

Never lose sight of the fact you have made it this far... so many families in easier situations wouldn't have made it as far as you have come. Things will get easier and I think it is almost a given that at about year 2 most students just want things to hurry up and finish... we sure did!

Elizabeth Collins said...

Oh - I hear you... and I kinda get it!

I know we haven't struggled like you, but we only ever had about 18 months of two incomes - other than that it has been 1 or 1.5 incomes our entire marriage as either study or children deal with the other income!

Sometimes it feels like we'll never get anywhere... no home, no money; nothing.

But we keep dreaming, and keep believing that one day, maybe - like you guys do.

Chin up!