I knew this, of course. The same way you know that babies will change your life forever. That babies mean sleepless nights. That kids are expensive, they test relationships, they test your own limits, they bring great joy and introduce you to entirely new parts of yourself.
We all know this stuff. And then we live it. And then we really know.
Right now I am living through this kids-kill-careers thing.
I’m not pronouncing my career dead by any means. But the children have become my new priority. I want to be with them. So much that I am pretty sure I am not going to push hard for the next step with a company I have been with for a long time, a company that gave me my dream job for a while, and international travel and a decent salary and benefits and all of that good stuff. I thought I would be with them for a long time yet, and that I would travel across more of the world with them, moving further up the chain.
Instead I’m thinking about walking away. Because if we should stay put I can work close to home, or AT home (ie, the coffee shop around the corner). We can have a nanny so the babies get lots of personal attention. And let’s be honest, having that help at home is a HUGE help and support for our relationship, too. Even with that help I feel resentful quite often that the burden seems to fall disproportionately on me. Rufus is a lovely dad, but he’s rarely home these days for bathtime, and he gets up now and then to help in the night and every now and then in the morning, but then he seems to think he’s owed a medal of some kind.
I think moving across the world now to a big city where we’d have to put the babies in a childcare centre fulltime while I worked long hours and he settled himself would make us all a bit miserable, at least for a while.
So lately my mind has been filled with possibilities and worries. Maybe I should start my own small business? Or consult? Or take a fulltime job that’s come up here that’s totally within my skillset but paid far less than I’d usually earn?
I went to an interview for that job today. I felt tired and frumpy and not myself at all. I am vastly overqualified for this position; they know it and I know it. “What am I doing?” I thought, as I sat there, in a wrap dress that accommodates my new lumpiness. It just felt all wrong.
I took a risk in coming to Peru years ago – I knew it then, and I am paying the price now, in a way. But I have gained so much more than I have lost in taking that risk – my partner, my children, new friends, an understanding of a new place and culture, a new language. I don’t regret it. I’m just a little scared about what’s next. That’s good, I tell myself. Some of my “scariest”, most insecure career moments propelled me on to my boldest and best and biggest changes. It’s going to be ok.