It’s time that I get back to work. Not that I haven’t been working my butt off for the past 2 1/2 years taking care of Jack. I have. I really have. I have never known that such an intense level of exhaustion could exist before I had him and the thought of going back to work terrifies the crap out of me. I do know how unbelievablylucky I have been these past years. Not everyone gets to stay home with their kids and I am eternally grateful to have been able to do just that. But I am terrfied nonetheless.
Before having Jack I was a NYC public school, fifth grade teacher. I loved my job! I loved the kids. Often when I told people what grade I taught the instant reaction was a negative one. People would say things like, “Oh my goodness! That must be so hard. Poor thing.” I always stood up for my kids, who were awesome, by telling people that ten and eleven year old’s were terrific and some of the savviest people I have ever met, which is true. I never felt a “poor me” feeling. I actually felt quite lucky to be involved in the lives of the kids I taught.
After having my son I thought that I would miss the classroom and the kids desperately, but a strange things happened. I didn’t. I didn’t miss it. As a matter of fact I completely forgot about it entirely. When I was working I remember other teachers bringing their kids in to meet everyone and keeping in touch with the school throughout their leave. Not me. When I left, I left. Yes, I have gone back a few time, but that was only to fill out some paperwork.
Now, after being out of the game for three years I think it is time to return and the thought of it is making me feel sick. Every time I think about it my heart starts pounding and my head instantly starts to hurt. I loved teaching. I really did. I just don’t know if I have it in me to give the kids what they deserve. When I was teaching I stayed late and brought lots of work home with me. I was dedicated and passionate. These days I am dedicated and passionate about our son. I love being home with him. I won’t lie and say that everyday is a great day. But at least part of every day is a great. I feel so great about my decision to stay home with Jack. If only this city weren’t so damn expensive.
We do not have Jack enrolled in a preschool yet. He turns three in June. We are preparing to enroll him in a half-day preschool in the fall, but we haven’t made those arrangements yet. Half-day preschool here in NYC is from 9:00 to 11:30. Not a lot of time. I want to be able to drop him off and I want to be there to pick him up. I just don’t see how that is possible if I have to be in school myself by 8:30 and get out at 3:30. My husband leaves for work at around 6am so he is unable to do it as well.
Plus, getting your child into a nursery or preschool program in NYC is quite the feet. Prices are insane, spaces are limited, and wait lists are long. I am also not that impressed by my options. It’s at moments like these that I wish for the suburbs. Having to stress out over where your three year old is going to go for preschool really sucks.
I can barely bring myself to think about Pre-K admissions. Here in NYC there is no guarantee that your child will get to go to the neighborhood school for Pre-K. There is a lottery. A lottery for Pre-K. That also just gives me a huge stomach ache.
If I am stressing out about this now what will the years to come bring? The suburbs are really starting to seem appealing, but how can I leave New York City?