Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That whole 'outlook on life' thing

Sometimes it really amazes me what can change my perspective on a situation, what can change my perspective on life.

Recently, I quit my job. I had been baby-sitting for this couple for nearly three years, had watched their son grow and seen their family grow. Had you asked me two years ago if I would ever leave the gig if I stayed here for school, I would have said no. 

Things changed. They started being home a LOT more when they had their daughter and their son stopped listening to me the way he used to. I became more hesitant with doling out time-outs, because my punishing him often got him in trouble with his parents. My two hours of peace when he napped went up in smoke when I started watching him and his sister - their naps never over-lapped for more than thirty minutes. I felt like a horrible person, disengaged and unhappy. I love those little kids, but I just could not take their parents being RIGHT THERE ALL THE TIME. It was like the ultimate pressure - I had to walk this fine line or else watch the little dude get in trouble or lose my patience because she would be screaming her head off and he would be trying to get my attention.

I knew it was time for me to leave many, many times over the past few months, but I knew I had to quit when I started wondering if I really wanted kids one day. Anyone that knows me knows that I coo at babies like a mad woman and that I’m beyond content to have one sided conversations with toddlers at the grocery store. I’m that girl, the girl that likes kids and knows she wants a bunch of them. Girls like me, we want kids and struggle with the concept of not wanting a few. And there I was, wondering if my conversations with teh boy about random things like baby names and awful habits our kids will inherit one day, you know, our future kids as conversation topic, was really a path I wanted to head down. 

So I finished. It was about as informal as it could get, my last day - some of their friends came into town, so I spent forty-five minutes at their house before giving up and going home. There aren’t words to express the mix of emotions I felt as I walked out of the door - a sense of freedom (I’ve likened it to the scene in the Rescuers Down Under, when the lizard gets out of the cage and dances around, singing ‘I’m free, I’m free!!!’), a little big of anger, and a touch of disappointment. 

Since last Friday, things have gotten better. I feel like I have a handle on things and I’ve been so happy, happier than I’ve been in a while. The last time I remember feeling like this, I was at teh boy’s for spring break. While I loved that job a great deal, it stopped being fun or enjoyable for me. I’ve got a job somewhere else now and other then a few scheduling conflicts, I’m far more at ease there. A weight has been removed, one that I didn’t even realize was there.

And it feels really, really good.

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