I can hardly believe it, but I’m looking for a job. You’d think that the whole “married to a doctor” thing would mean a life of ease and abundance, but no. In fact, it actually seems to mean a life of major loans, major credit cards, and car problems. We seemed to have more money back in medical school – but then, I was working full-time and Gruff brought home a few thousand a year from “surplus” on his school loans. Now, Gruff is working full-time and making just a little bit more than I did as a teacher, and I’m not bringing in anything to our finances.
I’ve been wracking my brain. Tutoring? I’m uber-qualified, but I think the logistics keep this off the table. If I tutor here, during the hours I’m Smooch-free (aka, naptime), I have no idea what students would be available from 1:00-3:00. (Although, as I type this, I’m wondering: college students? There’s a thought…) If I tutor here during after-school hours, I don’t think Smooch would take well to being sequestered in another room while I work at the table with a student. And if I tutor elsewhere, I’d cut my “income” in half by paying for a babysitter. It would be hard to base a tutoring schedule around Gruff’s schedule, because his hours are totally at the whim of the patients and surgeries they have on any given day. Writing? I’d love it, but it looks like gettting started on that will be largely a pro-bono, good-way-to-practice-your-skills venture for a long time before it ever turns a profit. Nannying or babysitting? While it might bring in cash, and while it would probably be easy, I don’t know if I want to do something that would so clearly impact Smooch’s life and schedule. Going from the center of Mommy’s attention to one of two (or more, oh the horror!) kids in the house would be really different. And there are logistics issues there, too — would I be stuck at home all day? Could I still go to my playgroups and story times and run my errands with someone else’s child? What would I do if the client’s kid didn’t nap? Oy. That option is still on a back-burner as the next possibility.
There’s an announcement in our church bulletin that has caught my eye. We attend a big church that has two or three “satellite” campuses. One of the smaller locations is in need of a part-time custodian. It’s advertised as a 10-15 per hour a week job. I have no idea what it pays or what exact tasks are involved, but I put in an email and I have a phone date arranged for later this afternoon to speak to the woman who is currently the temporary custodian. From my experience in other, small churches, I’m guessing that it will be a pretty simple routine — probably tidying the sanctuary or worship space from old bulletins and gum wrappers, vacuuming, dusting or wiping down the pews, cleaning the bathroom(s), and cleaning the kitchen if they have one. My hope is that it will be a flexible job, one that I can do at different times of day from week to week, basing it around Gruff’s availability to stay here with Smooch (or even, taking Smooch with me occasionally; if I wear him on my back in the Ergo carrier I can do almost all of the chores I mentioned). If that’s the case — if they don’t require that the custodian be there from 5-6 pm every day, and as long as it’s all done before Sunday’s services they don’t really care — then it should work out really well. Even if it pays minimum wage, that’s a couple of hundred bucks every month (which means I can get the car paid off sooner rather than later, and maybe start tackling some of our credit card debt more aggresively).
Gruff’s first comment when I told him I wanted to look into this custodial position was, “Aren’t you overqualified for that?” Well, yes. I guess I am. “You’re a National Board Certified Teacher for goodness’ sake!” Yeah, I am. And I’m proud of that. But right now, I can’t teach because I’m not ready to consider putting Smooch in daycare. I’m not too good to work with my hands, especially if it keeps our budget afloat and keeps me at home during the majority of Smooch’s waking hours.
If this doesn’t work out, my next course of action will be pursuing a nannying or regular babysitting job. If I can’t make that work, my final resort will be working at a nursery school or preschool where Smooch can be just down the hall from me.
To be honest, it’s a little bit depressing to be considering all of this. But there’s a part of me that feels proud at the same time – I am going to do something to tackle this problem. I am going to figure out how to keep us in the black and I’m going to do what it takes to maintain the kind of family life I want.