Friday, March 6, 2009

grasping at straws

I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Ok, this is the part where you say "ummm, how old are you again?" and I reply, "37 1/2, thank you". But my grown up life has been separated into 2 parts, maybe even more parts depending on how you analyze it.

Part 1: Band Director Queen
BDQ was all about teaching Band, 24/7. Everything I did, before and after marriage really, revolved around that. Our schedule, our activities, our everything was about Band. It came first.

Part 2: Mom
I knew I couldn't maintain that same kind of intensity with my work, that same kind of schedule, once we started our family. So, I purposefully resigned from my teaching job at the end of a year when I was only about 4 mos. pregnant. Little did I know that only 10 weeks later, Mr. Literal would make his very-early entrance into the world. I did the SAHM thing for 2 years, but Mr. L was a high-maintenance child and it was just not a good fit for me emotionally to do that.

Part 2-A: Mom and part time teacher
When Mr. L was 2, he started preschool and I went "back to work", although it was nothing like I'd done before. I'd drive nearly an hour round trip to teach a "Band" class that lasted for 45 minutes. I enjoyed it at first, it was nice to get a little extra $ and get to keep my hand in the Band world, so to speak. Energizer came along the following year, but I kept doing the part time teacher thing too. It's gotten rougher and less enjoyable ever since.

Now, it's time for Part 3. I'm sure of that, sure that I'm not happy where I am but not sure where Part 3 is going to take me. I really feel like I'm a band director these days in name only, and I hate that. I'm realizing that, for me, I'm either BDQ or I need to be out of the Band stuff. There can't be a suitable in-between option. So it means I move on to something different......but what? I've thought about teaching music in another way, like maybe elementary school, but I just don't know.

The last couple of weeks, I've begun to think about options that move me more into the realm of special needs kids, since that's where my heart is nowadays anyway. I never knew anything about that world before having my own kids, and I freely admit it. But now that I do, it's what I think about, what I'm passionate about and where (I think) I want to be from this point on. What seems like a perfect fit, combining both my experience/love for music with the world of special needs, would be to do Music Therapy. I don't know tons about it yet, but I'm learning and hearing good things.

But guess what that means? Yep, going back to school, at least to some extent. And tuition, college loans, debt. (at this point, refer back to original paragraph in which I revealed my age) Do I really want to do that now? Is that fair to my family, etc? Can we afford it? I'm scared of the whole idea, and yet exhilarated at the same time. Could I manage to work a bit on the side while in school, teach lessons or do master classes etc to keep using my Band knowledge? Will the schoolwork be too time consuming, keeping me away from my own kids during these formative years?

Too many decisions, too many variables!!!!!!! Will someone (hint, hint) please just TELL me what to do? Help me to know what choice to make, and that it is the right one. Oh, and soon would be nice too. I've got to turn in a "letter of intent" to tell my current school what my plans are for next year. Plus, I'm worrying myself sick, literally. I've had more colds this winter than any other time in my life. :(


Amy said...

I'm in a similar boat right now, I don't have much for advice, but I'm sending some big (((hugs))) your way!

The Queen said...

I always knew that becoming a mom would change me, but man, it really does change SOOO much about every part of our lives doesn't it.

As you know, I am already back in school. It is a struggle sometimes like mainly on Friday mornings when I have to get Elianna up early then she cries because I have to take her to my aunts house. I have been on the verge of crying SOOO many times! But over all it has went very well. At first it was VERY overwhelming! But I think that is because of having a SCHEDULE for ME that required me getting up, showered, dressed and somewhere by a certain time as well as get the girls up and dressed and to school. Before i started back to school I would babysit and take them to school in my sweats, old t-shirts, and my major case of bedhead just about every day. This was all new to me in my life as a mom.

My suggestion to you would be to check into what all you have to do for the Therapy. How many classes, how long would it take, etc. Then weigh out your options from there. If you are going to be attending a different college from the one you first attended, maybe even take in a transcript and tell them this is what you have already taken and see what all they have to say.

Oh, and GOOD LUCK!!! with your dessision and with what ever you decide.

Lyndsey said...

(((Jen))) I am also planning a major change in regards to school/jobs. I know how stressful it can be trying to figure out what is best for your family while trying to fill that space in yourself that wants something you enjoy and actually care about. I think the music therapy idea sounds great. As it's already been suggested, I would look into it, see if there's anything you can do by correspondence, and then see if what can't be done at home can be done in a decent amount of time and money that won't make you miserable.

More than anything else in my particular journey, I've learned that I couldn't shut my brain off to the possibilities and think about what would be best for me and the family without getting terribly confused and stressed. It turned out that the people who knew me best (husband and friends) already knew the answer to all that I was struggling with, and they helped me find the way to the right decision.

NOT saying that you should let someone else decide something so huge as this, but definitely ask the people you trust the most and see what they say. ((((hugs)))) Best of luck to you dear friend and keep us updated.

Anonymous said...

Hi BDQ! I feel your pain. Deeply. I was a band director in a former life, and while I left willingly (really, when I got tunnel vision from being so angry at a drummer, it was time to leave), I'm stuck now trying to figure out what *I* want to do when I grow up.
I also thought about doing something with the twice-exceptional area, and I finally decided that it's hard enough to LIVE it, that if I made it my career or life's work I would lose myself very quickly. I'll still help other parents as much as I can, but I can't do it as a job.
Music therapy is a wonderful area of music, and one I wish I had considered in college. My alma mater has one of the best MT programs in the country. Should have at least considered it. Look into programs, look into internships, see what is out there and what all it entails.
You didn't say what level you taught. If high school, yeah, run. Marching band alone is a time and energy suck.
But, you know, sometimes (and this is coming from a fellow musician who is also struggling with this) it's good to have something that is very very different from the struggles you have at home. Something to remind yourself of who you were "before."
I dunno. I think I'm past bedtime and rambling now. ;)