Posted by: Hannah | 09/24/2018

the sweater

Today is the first really cold day of fall. The first morning that I woke up regretting slightly that I’d left the window open all night. The first day I insisted the kids wear warm jackets to play outside.

I don’t mind. This is the time of year I love the most. Nova Scotian summers are humid, the springs are non-existent and the winters a damp cold marathon, but September & October are as close to paradise as you’re ever likely to get. Cloudless skies of a deep penetrating blue. Leaves red, yellow and orange. Purple asters blooming along the roadsides. Fresh breezes and warm sunshine but enough chill in the air that a sweater makes you feel like you’re getting a hug all day long.

It almost makes me feel guilty, when I know I have dear friends out west who are already in winter. Almost. Mostly it just makes me want to entice them to come here and see for themselves.

Right now I’m sitting in my sunny living room. The house is silent as I only have two dayhome kids today and they’re both napping. I’m wearing fuzzy slippers and my new sweater, drinking double spice chai out of my favourite mug and nibbling ginger biscuits. Literally the only sound right now is the tapping of my keyboard and the dog’s gentle snores.

I think I need more time alone in my own house.

A word about my new sweater. It is soft. It is a cream & black twill. It is a cardigan-style with no buttons or zippers. It is nice and long.

IT HAS POCKETS.

As I get comfortable with being in my 40s I am becoming obsessed with the whole pocket thing. There were two very similar sweaters on the rack the night I bought this one and one was much cheaper but there were no pockets and reader, for the first time in a long time I did not stint myself based on saving a few dollars. I bought the sweater with the pockets and I use the pockets every goddamn day. They can hold my phone, tissues, snacks, my car keys. Michael said he likes my sweater and leered encouragingly at me to which I replied “I am not wearing it for your male gaze!” and then hissed menacingly “it hasssss pocketsssssss” so I guess the next ten years should be super-fun for all concerned.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what comes next for me, professionally speaking. On the one hand I’m getting pretty good at this dayhome gig and have lots of routines worked out that make things run smoothly. On the other hand I’m 40 and getting pretty tired of being so entangled with families I’m not actually friends with. In 2020 I’ll have two spots opening up and the thought of starting over again with two new babies and their parents just make me feel tired. I think I will be closing. But what I’ll do then… I don’t know. I don’t want anything earth-shaking. Two of my best friends are currently doing work that they are passionate about, work that makes them feel fulfilled, and I am so happy for them! I am! But I also am not fussed about that. I’ve had my passion project. I’m doing it now. All I want after this is a job where I clock in and clock out, and have a set list of tasks and I never have to offer marriage counseling or parenting lessons.

I think I’m stalled out on what comes next because I feel this pressure to choose something I love and that will complete me when really I just want to make widgets and earn about what I do now. And never work overtime.

Do you know how hard it is to say that to people? Really hard. People want you to have A Big Dream You’ve Been Putting On Hold But Now You’re Going For It. It can be incredibly hard to say “look, I wanted to be home with my kids for as long as possible. I was. It was great! But I still have a very busy family schedule and want my evenings and weekends free, so I’m fine with whatever job lets me do that”.

I think I need to give myself permission to stop trying to think of something AMAZING and instead just think of SOMETHING. In the meantime I’ll be looking out for opportunities to make my existing skills more current (online courses to update some of my software training, for example).

My sweater and I are ready.

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. I don’t know why there’s such pressure in our society for people to find jobs that they love and fulfill them completely. And if you don’t do that, then you’re somehow failing yourself. Realistically, that’s just not possible for everyone. And the older that I get, the more I’m becoming okay with that. I am being fulfilled in a multitude of small ways. Some of those ways are made possible by this job that I have that allows me to clock in and clock out and hardly ever work any overtime. 20-something Kelly would have been disappointed to think that this is where 40-something Kelly ended up, but guess what? 40-something Kelly is a whole helluva lot smarter. 😉

  2. I hear you! After 13 years I closed my day home in August. I’m in the States and the combination of licensing regulations, wear and tear on my home, and the fact I felt like I was *always* working, was just getting to be too much. When my own kids were young and in the day care I (mostly) loved it. Even those first few years when they were in school but still needed a parent at home it was great. But the youngest started junior high this year, and I’ve found the benefits of me working at home were no longer the same. I love preschool so I got a teaching job at one. Monday to Friday, 8-3 and all the holidays off- paid (with no one arguing with me about that) I’m actually able to go to my kids afternoon sporting events, and my house is spotless. I love having my evening and weekends for myself. I miss some of my families and kids, but at the end of the day it was a business transaction. Anyway best of luck with whatever you do!

  3. Go find that widget factory! You can do things you’re passionate about in your free time when you aren’t spending all your work hours and more wrapped up in other people’s problems.

    I love the sound of your new sweater. Pockets are everything. When I make clothes, I add pockets if the pattern doesn’t have them. Why would you not have pockets?! Pockets!

  4. What an exciting time for you though. I lost my high paying ‘dream job’ in July and I had to let a lot of things go in terms of what I think I should do vs what I want to do. The good thing about your 40s is that you CAN safely say what you want and don’t want. I’ve managed to get a short term gig doing something I’m good at and I feel valued. The pay isn’t the same but I also don’t feel like an imposter. Enjoy the search and you may be surprised what the universe throws your way.

  5. I have a male friend who took a reception job at a local college for reasons similar to the ones you’re articulating. He wanted a job that he could go and do, and then come home and not think about at all until he was back again. After several years, he used the free tuition that came with the job to pursue a degree in a topic he liked–not to get a particular job, just to learn about something he enjoyed learning about. He said that he didn’t want his life to be about his work, so–he looked for and got a job that would allow his life to be about the things he enjoyed outside of work.

  6. I really appreciate this post and the resulting comments. Thank you! I have young children and a full time job with work that does not adhere to the “clock in/clock out” mentality I crave. But we live in a high cost but desirable location and for now this is how it has to be. I wish it was acceptable to not dream of the corner office… I dream of sweaters with pockets, mugs of tea, and having work that keeps me busy but not overwhelmed.

  7. Also on Team Pocket here!


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