I remember something a very wise man I worked for early in my career told me once, "Teri, the only thing that never changes around here is change". Steve Rubin was the CFO at Mortgage Plus at the time I was hired there in 1995. It was such a great job-I got to do all kinds of different things while I was there. Although I ended up getting laid off in 1997 (almost 3 years after starting); I probably learned more there than anywhere else I worked in that forsaken industry. The only other job I felt left a real mark on me was Long Beach Mortgage, where another man I respected very much (Tony Mango) said these words to me, "Well, Teri, if there is a job that is easy and pays 100k a year, please let me know because I will be first in line for it. What do you expect?" Those were years in my work life that I still had a ton of passion and excitement for what I was doing. I never really loved the mortgage business, I just liked learning new things-and it was a very dynamic industry, I liked being successful, for the longest time, I just did better and better. In fact, I never thought I could ever fail. After a terrible parting at Long Beach, I never had that feeling again at a job. I would come close at CAR. That job was more about the people than the job. I truly hated to leave that job, but I thought I had found a good opportunity at AST amidst a certain lack of a good situation in CAR. The market just could not support my salary much longer there. I am not so sure it would have mattered. In fact, the market isn't supporting mine here at AST either. I have wanted to be at home with my kids more and more as the years have gone by. Moms have told me again and again that the older the kids are, the harder it is to not be a presence in their lives. And I am seeing that.
I had to fight tears today as my 5 year old sat in the dentist chair (like his 7 year old brother a couple of weeks ago); and we found 2 cavities. The hygienist was good enough to point out all the plaque I am missing when I brush his teeth. which I don't do every day-b/c I am tired and lazy, I don't have my priorities straight. My 2nd grader is going through some kind of thing in school where his grades are slipping, he wants to quit sports, he gets very angry-he is just a different kid than he was 6 months ago. I can't help but think a lot of these things might still be happening if I was at home with them, but at least I could focus on them. I feel spread so thin some days. I just let them sit in front of the TV while I try and shift piles around the house so I can have some semblance of order. Then, I make some dinner neither of them will eat, then try and get the dishes done (or mostly done) and start the uphill battle of getting them to bed. I often get them all the way in their beds and they are just about out before I remember that we haven't brushed their teeth-which I often let slide. I realize this is the plight of many parents, and it's not all fun and games, but I have been wondering lately if there is some way I can merge these many weights on my shoulders so that maybe I could be more productive-both at home and at work. I wish I could just work part time. I am afraid to talk to my employer about it for fear they will just let me go. I am afraid we can't afford it. I am afraid if I stop working, I will lose validity and vitality. I am afraid Paul will turn into a giant ball of stress and nerves-who scrutinize my gas and grocery purchases with a monocle. I am afraid of change.