{What I Love} no20: present in THIS moment.
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{What I Love} no 21: about my life

When I started this {what I love} series, I had two goals: try to blog every day, and try to capture some everyday stuff that I love. Of course, being me, I gave that first goal my best shot knowing I probably wouldn't accomplish it, simply because I can't always fit blogging into my day. And there are several everyday things that I meant to blog about but didn't, namely my affection for:

  • the perfect chocolate chip cookies (a blog post wherein I meant to share all my CCC secrets)
  • listening to entire albums instead of a playlist
  • my favorite facial products
  • my dermatologist
  • specific things about each of my children
  • the extra shelf Kendell built for me in my kitchen closet
  • my pretty spot
  • anything caramel related

(if you add it up...I did 21 posts and had 8 more topics to go, so I at least did have 29 things to blog about!)

Failures aside, I always meant to write today about the things I love about my life right now. This is different from yesterday's post in that I was going to look at my life from a wide angle lens and point out the highlights: these things are awesome and I am so glad my life has given them to me.

But as I sit down to write them, I find I can't do it.

This is because some recent developments have left me doubting these wide-angle highlights. Yes—these things make me happy. But if I were unselfish, perhaps I would be able to give them up in order to make my family more happy. For example:

I love my job. It makes me happy knowing that I get to work with, write about, recommend, and otherwise interact with books. I love the people I work with. I love just being able to say: I am a librarian.

BUT: my job is only part time. With budget issues and the economy, there isn't a whole lot of room for advancement. And it doesn't really pay very much. Am I being selfish by staying in a job I love when I really could find a different full-time one that paid me much more? If I did that, I could provide my kids with things and experiences I cannot do now.

I love that I work part time. Not working full time means that I can take my younger kids to a charter school because I am here to drive the carpool. It means that on at least half of the school days, I am home when the kids get home to talk to them and see how their days were. It means that if they get sick at school, forgot their lunch money or gym clothes or physics book or violin, I can usually help. It means I can go grocery shopping on a day that isn't Saturday, I can do laundry at 9:45 on a Wednesday morning, and I can spend a day cleaning out my pantry (like I did on Monday). Those things all help my family, I think.

Working part time also helps me. It gives me solitude. It gives me time to do things like scrapbooking, quilting, and writing. It means I can be fairly dedicated to exercising without having to get up at 4:30 every morning to fit it in. It means that twice a week I go to a gym class nearly in the middle of the day. None of those things help my family—they only help me. They provide little peaceful pockets that I draw from when things are not peaceful.

BUT. Again—if I were being unselfish, wouldn't I be willing to give up the solitude and the little peaceful pockets? Shouldn't I be willing to do whatever I can to make my kids happier? Things like extra violin lessons, karate class, a bigger house so everyone has their own room, an extra car, fancy vacations: those things are out of our financial reach right now. I'm not really about accumulating extra things, like more clothes and more video games and more stuff. But the experiences that money can buy? I want to be able to give my kids those experiences. Is my selfish devotion to solitude keeping those things out of our reach? There isn't another answer to that question except for "yes."

I love that I am starting to work on my writing for real. These have been baby steps, but they are moving me forward nevertheless. I am starting to find some of my old determination and dedication. I am starting to not feel as silly as I have felt, working on an essay or a story. Starting to work through the process of submitting.

BUT. Isn't this simply a pipe dream? How many people want to be writers and how many people actually accomplish it? Is it just another way that I am being selfish and failing to provide everything I can for my family? The odds of me becoming a successful writer are ridiculous.

And so on it goes. I'm finding myself doubting nearly everything I could rightfully say I love about my life. Feeling like I am being narrow-minded and, here's that word again: selfish. Maybe it can be traced all the way back to the day I decided to be an English major instead of taking the nursing route. I was determined to get my degree in English because it was what *I* loved, not because it was what would help my family the most.

So I don't know. This is a fairly morose way of ending my supposed-to-be upbeat {what I love} series. I'm just finding I can't fake it today. I'm finding that I just need to think about my options and my choices in a more critical light, one that takes what I need less into consideration than what my family needs. Knowing that what I would love right now is finding answers.



Can I be bold? The reasons you love your part time job seem to me to far outweigh the reasons you fear you are being selfish by not working full time. I would daresay your kids need you home part time way more than they need karate and violin lessons. They will be happier having a mom who takes care of herself and can give more emotionally to them . . . way more than if you're gone and busy and worn out but they get cool lessons. They will also benefit greatly by seeing you pursue your writing dream! I really strongly believe that the great relationship you have with your kids is because you are doing what you are doing. It could not improve if you are gone more and not taking care of yourself. I could elaborate, and will if you want me to say more in person. You are doing wonderful things for your family, Amy! Embrace that!!

Heather H.

I agree with Wendy.

Time is always, always, always more important than money.

But I think I've felt some of the same things. I've rethought my life and my dreams so many times, trying to figure out how to put my family first but not lose my own identity too. It's just hard some days.


I echo Wendy, Amy-friend. Work full time = more money BUT less time with your family, more stress, less opportunity to develop yourself (which benefits your family by the way), and "extra experiences" for your kids that you have to carefully schedule for (where's the Serendipity in that?) ... selfish by only working part-time? I THINK NOT. How happy are your kids? From what I see, they are pretty darn happy and well-adjusted peoples. I say, don't change a thing!

Jill Broyles

I agree with the other ladies, with one other question. Why is it ridiculous to think you are not a successful writer or will not become the successful writer if you put your mind to it? I say go for the dreams, show the family that risk is beautiful, and realize the dream. You will never know until you try. I read you everyday that you write, and enjoy it. Keep moving forward!! Each day has so many occasions to be proud, happy and thankful. Go Girl!

Janet White

Being happy is a part of an example to set as well.

When I was young, my mom took a job for a few years - she was still able to be home when we got home from school much of the time, the stress on her took its toll. She finally quit and all of us were relieved. She was happier and so were we. Plus, she ended up figuring out how to do more from scratch so she saved almost as much as she would have made working out of the home.

Happiness begets happiness...


I also agree with Wendy (sensing a trend here, Amy?) - it's much more important for your kids to have you There, rather than $$$ and you Not There. Especially as the boys get older and enter their 'man cave/grunting' period you need to be there to listen to them when they're ready to talk. If you're fulltime working you are likely to miss that and if you miss those times you'll never get them back.

I've now got no kid at home (he's in a graduate program at university this year and has officially 'left home') and am so grateful I was working part-time through his teen years and could be here when he needed me (much more than any $$$ I might have earned if I worked fulltime).

Andrea b

I agree with Wendy too. And Amy the last thing I would call you is selfish. Your kids are not deprived. They have fashion crew, choir, scouts, mutual, time to play and enjoy being a kid, time with their mom who encourages them to reAd, color, cook, explore, do hOmework, interact as a family. You are far from being selfish you are raising good kids, and honestly when I look at your family I see you working part time becuase you are unselfish and want to raise your kids (and it makes a better mom when you take time for yourself. You are the one who told me that.)

Kary in Colorado

Amy, you are teaching your children a far more important lesson than violin, karate or snazzy vacations could--you are teaching them that it is important for a woman to be happy with herself and that you love to have time with them as well. Money is nice, but they will remember the conversations with you and a mom pursuing her dreams much more than they would remember having an extra car!

michele in la

I could give you many examples and explanations of why it is better for your family to have "you" than anything else. However, I will simply give you the quote my teenage gave. He and my husband had been talking and dreaming about being able to buy a boat and a new RV on and off for quite some time. One time they caught me in just the right mood and I said "that's it - I'm going back to work so y'all can get them". My son immediately brought a halt to everything by responding "***NO*** ... our family would fall apart if mom went back to work!!!". ...and this was from a teenager who could not afford all the things many of his friends had. I can only thank God for giving him the widsom to realize what I provided as Mom was better than what he could purchase.

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