I went for an interview today.
Yep. An interview. I'm a stay-at-home mom who is three months pregnant and had no job searching aspirations and I had an interview today.
So here's how it happened. The plan was this. Move to the reno project in rural New Brunswick that would save us loads and give us a nice town to raise our children in, take a year and fix it up, Daddy becomes an electrical apprentice in the fall, with the teeny tiny mortgage Momma can afford to stay home with the children because children need to not feel dropped off or second to career, do art for art's sake, to be inspired, and teach my children a love of art.
I don't know why I plan, in our experience plans really seem kind of silly. Maybe there are those of you out there who make plans and follow them, but for us other unplanned things generally happen, or new ideas, opportunities if you will, just seem better than the original plan.
Plan change number one, baby number four. We were happy with three, we've (I say we loosely) been on the vasectomy waiting list, happy with the size of our brood, looking forward to sleep again in the near future, looking forward to getting to work polishing the potential in this house. But okay, baby number four. We can deal, babies are no disaster. A new little life to love. Alright, a few more tired years, a lot more highchair cleanups, and the loss of our spare bedroom, but we can deal with that. Maybe I'll not be so much help with the renos in the near future.
Then, my highschool art teacher sends me a note about a position that just opened up at the local gallery. THE position at the local gallery, exhibition co-ordinator. This would be a dream job. A dream job in a very small town with very few art positions. So lovely to combine my love of art, my organizational and planning skills, my design and publicity training. I hum and haw on it. I really wasn't looking for a job. But this job, oh this job would be a great job. Then a member of the board thinks of me as a perfect fit for the position, tells me I just have to apply. So I do. We could use the money while Troy's working on the house this winter anyway, that way we wouldn't be eating away at our nest egg, and it would be a lovely job. It's just down the road, light on hours, heavy on enjoyable, stimulating work. I would have maternity leave, and a position to return to that could be a long-term career that would serve me well after these short years of having preschoolers. But oh, the years of having preschoolers home are SO short, I should really stay home and enjoy my babies, be here for them.
Why are career and motherhood so conflicting?!
I hate this argument. I have it with myself over and over and over. I've spent the last seven years having this same discussion in my head, to my husband, to my friends, my sisters, my mother, my mother in-law. Every one has a different point of view on it. And I can see every point of view.
A mother with a career demonstrates ambitiousness, equality and purpose to her children. She is not 'just' a mom, she clearly has a brain, interests, talents. A stay-at-home mom is there for her children, she's not pulled between work and her children, she has time to be organized at home, time for well-thought healthy meals, time to encourage creative play and the mess that goes with it, energy to take advantage of a sunny moment and go for a walk in the snow, time to get through all the mundane moments in which the special moments happen.
I know, we should be able to find that miraculous 'balance'. I sure can't seem to. Even if it's just one freelance project I have on the go, I'm thinking about work, putting off home things (you know, those necessities like cleaning off the kitchen counters and providing clean socks and undies), sleeping less, generally crankier with my children as a result, and considerably more frazzled and disorganized, trying to steal work time while my children squabble in front of the television. Actually, in my experience working from home part-time on a project by project basis is actually worse than working full-time. At least working full time I hire someone to be a caregiver to my children, and often someone else to clean my bathroom. When I work part-time it's just squishing more into the same amount of time, and doing everything half as well.
So, back to the interview.
It went well I think. I had knowledgeable answers at the ready, relative experiences to discuss, insight into the purpose and logisitics of the role. I'm qualified, perhaps more so than the other applicants will be? I was eloquent, intelligent, and personable. In this small town I know the majority of the board members and have had good experiences with them, I've worked for them, been taught by them, babysat or coached their children.
But then I drove home.
And I got the post-interview jitters.
Supposing I blow the competition out of the water, why would they hire me when I'll be going on a maternity leave in six short months? Even if I wasn't pregnant, why would they hire me over some single applicant who has nothing but ambition, nothing but time for her job? Why would they hire me over this girl, this fictional single girl applicant I've created in my head, who has no kids so won't wish to stay home with them when they're sick or take time to go to their concerts or field days?
Oh, feminists who fought for me to be here, what is a mom supposed to do?