Sunday, September 29, 2013

Opportunities and quandaries

So, I am one of four finalists for a very good job. I already have a very good job (one that fits my education, experience, and talents and that is fulfilling and fun), but recently I've started looking around to see if there might be other opportunities that are also appropriate, fulfilling, and fun but that, er, pay better. So last Spring I applied for a job and it is finally in the interviewing stage, a day-long (plus) on-campus interview.

There's no point in really hashing out the pros and cons until an offer is made, but here's the big question: is a significant (I mean a little less than double my current salary) pay increase really worth moving 1/2 way across the country, uprooting myself and my little boy, and starting over?  My number one complaint of the last 8 years in this job, especially the last 3-1/2 since having a child, has been my pay. I dream of having more fiscal freedom (by which I mean not going into debt just to pay for the bare necessities on a monthly basis). Forget about college savings and retirement: this just is NOT happening. And it's starting to really weigh on me.

But since they called me and seemed interested I've been having a true existential crisis. I worry that I am too quick to give up a good thing (see the good qualities of my job above). Not to mention that we are finally, *finally* finding a larger community in this city after 8 years. Owen's new school is awesome, the parents are awesome, and we've already seen a nice increase in our social interactions and friendships. Aside from the cost of living and the winters, the area is great. The job is VERY family friendly. I can leave when I need to. The fact is, the unknowns in a new position (and one that pays more, thus more pressure I suppose) are almost overwhelming to me. I'm not sure I can bring myself to move Owen, either. He is only three, so maybe it's best to do this now if it's going to happen, though.

The other job is within 2 hours driving of family. Currently, I am a good 14 hour drive, or plane ride, to family.

I know, it's impossible. I think I need to focus on the good things about our life and be patient. The money will come. I am hoping for a promotion in the next couple of years and the money will get easier once Owen goes to Kindergarten. I will probably stay here, but the temptation is looming. We shall see. The interview will be very revealing I am sure.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The magic of time out

Things have improved *markedly* since my last post!  I felt like I was floundering and completely ineffective in controlling Owen's tantruming, and that was bringing up some bad behavior (can we say tantruming?) of my own. Feeling a lack of control on my part has never been good for my temper.

I bought a couple of books on behavior and discipline and they have been so helpful. Note to self: BUY A BOOK next time I have a parenting challenge. There really is wisdom out there--and with the lack of a partner and family in close proximity I need a sounding board, even if it's made of bound paper. :)

Both books are basically advocating the time-out method, with slightly different emphases. I think we all know inherently what the time-out method is, and what it's supposed to do, but nonetheless reading about the best method---including what NOT to do---is really important if it's going to be useful and also uphold your child's self esteem not to mention strengthen--not damage--your relationship.

Having a plan, knowing that I am not alone (you mean child isn't the only one who demands ice cream first thing in the morning and then whines and cries and sometimes hits when he doesn't get it? What a revelation!! Sometimes we really do think we are the only ones...)...this has really helped me to deter my anger in dealing with Owen's behavior....not to mention the numerous accounts of how damaging not to mention ineffective parental anger is on so many levels. Modeling bad behavior is just the beginning. I don't want to damage my relationship with my son, who I love more than anything in the world and hope to have a close and special relationship with for our entire lives!! 

So far, the method has been quite effective. I am using a 1-2-3 warning system, with certain offenses (ie physical behaviors like hitting, scratching, pinching) leading to an immediate time out...which he HATES SO MUCH, omygod. But since we started this two weeks ago he has responded well to warnings (delivered in a short but not angry tone) and we have only gotten to time-out a very few times. I am also reminding him that certain situations sometimes make him tantrum, and also telling him calmly when he's starting to get mad so that he knows to try to control himself. I'm also curbing my desire to talk about everything incessantly. So ineffective. Discipline and move on. It's a work in progress, but I think we are really improving. And I feel SO much better about any "incident", knowing that I was in control and that I treated Owen in a firm but fair and consistent way.  This has done wonders all round. Changed my life. Highly recommend.  (I need to go write my Amazon book reviews now. :)