In sum, I quit my job, and we moved to Berkeley. For the last three months, I've been a stay at home mom. The reality of the hold on my teaching career has only recently hit me. I finished out the year, and this would be the time I'd be going back. And I'm not. I miss my school. I loved it, and I loved my job. There were problems, yes, but I had a real attachment to the place and my place in it.
But I really felt I was missing everything from my daughter's life, and at the most important time. This is all I'm going to get, all the time I get with her. I can go back to teaching, but I can't ever have this again. Even if I have another child, this is all the time I get with Julia. So I cast aside all of the doubts and fears I have about parenting, about not working and what it will do to my career, my identity, my feelings of self-worth, and I made myself face the truth. If I have the opportunity to raise my daughter, and I don't take it, I'll probably always regret it. There were other factors to consider, but they all melted away in the face of this realization. Not that they won't come creeping back, these insecurities, but I have to keep reminding myself that what I'm getting in return is far more valuable. And Julia makes me see it in some small way every day.
An East Bay friend of mine has warned me against calling Berkeley "the suburbs," but it's definitely more suburban than the Haight. The streets are tree lined, and we're walking distance to parks as well as cute cafes, shops and the like. Making friends at 34, in a new town, with a young child who needs my constant undivided attention is a challenge to say the least, but we go out every day, and I attempt to chat up other moms and nannies. Not everyone's nice (nor is everyone's kid), but there are plenty of well-intentioned people out there, and the whole experience has made me value the friends I already have even more.
So I'm looking at the little battery icon on my computer, and given that I only have thirteen minutes before I completely lose power, I'll sign off for now. More to come about Berkeley, parenting a toddler, and being a housewife in the next entry:)