Sat through my last accounting class today-well, except for the final. I do not have the patience for three hour long classes anymore. I got through my master's degree pre-kid, and was more interested in most of the topics, but this business stuff is killing me. But it's been made clear that if we're ever going to get out from under our debt (which, come to think of it, is mainly student loans) then I'm going to have to start bringing in some money. Ben's profession is, salary-wise, pretty stagnant.
I had the chance to marry into money, but man, that wasn't going to work out. After that breakup, I told my mom that when I met someone who could fix my car and cook me dinner, then I'd marry him. Well, careful what you say, because a few months later Ben showed up, made me chicken in a white wine reduction, and talked about restoring his car. I didn't even know you could COOK chicken in other things-my mom had always just thrown it in the oven and cooked it until it was the consistency of one of those pink erasers. No spices, no nothing. And those were the days when she cooked meat. I clearly remember many meals that were just Rice-a-Roni and canned green beans. (Seriously, nobody tell my mom about this blog or she will read this and be totally pissed at me, but ask any of my siblings-it's true, she was the worst cook in the world. She once made pancakes even the dog wouldn't eat.)
So here we are, a teacher and an aspiring health care administrator, and we're struggling. Well, financially, anyway. In all other departments we're pretty blessed, so we try not to bitch about the one area that's lacking. Really, if someone offered me 100 million dollars, but I'd have to give up one aspect of my life-my husband, my son, my siblings and parents, awesome extended family, my friends, our cute little house, our dogs-I'd tell them to fuck off. Well, maybe they could have one of the dogs-the one who likes to piss on things.
Ben's a teacher, and a great one. I know that people who can deal with the kids he deals with are rare, and even though he could do anything he wanted, I can't see him anywhere but right where he is. He talked about going to law school for a while, and I encouraged it a bit (mainly thinking he'd get all of his arguing out of his system before he got home, and I'd get a worn-out guy who would just do what I told him to for once) but I've seen the state of our school systems and I just can't see him leaving when he can actually reach kids and change their lives.
And as an added bonus, he teaches eighth grade. When I found out I was pregnant, I didn't worry about the baby years, I knew I could handle that. What freaks me out is the pre-teen and teenage years, when my little cuddle ball will turn into a surly tornado of hormones who hates me, keeps my car out too late, and has girls calling the house all the time. I told Ben, I'll handle the baby years, once he's twelve, he's your problem.
This is another reason why I'm scared to have another kid-I'm terrified of having a girl. Not because I don't want one, but I remember what I was up against and it's just gotten worse. I was in Target the other day, and as I walked past the little girls' section, I couldn't help but notice that half of the stuff looked like it was from a collection titled something like "L'il Prostitutes". There is so much pressure on girls to look a certain way and to act a certain way, and with their role models breaking out into pole dances at the Teen Choice Awards....yeah, the thought of having a girl scares me.
And yes, I know that it's my job to instill better values in her than that (and to teach my son to respect women) but I also know how much pressure there is from your peers to fit in. I had great parents but all I wanted in middle and high school was to fit in and get asked out (neither of which happened, thank you very much). When I went to college, I finally started meeting people who wanted to date me, but my self-esteem was so low that I'd date anyone who showed an interest, because I was flattered.
Incidentally, this is why my dating history is filled with lines like:
"And then he tried to sleep with my best friend"
"So it turns out he really likes guys" and
"No, this was AFTER he got out of jail."
Sadly, I'm not making any of those up. I'd probably have to tell any daughter of mine the truth about what I went through to try to help her avoid it...but she probably wouldn't listen.
At least Ben knows how to be around kids that age. I really worry that Henry's going to have an awkward time growing up, and I don't want to be that mom who just says "Be yourself! And if they don't like it, they're not really your friend!"
Because while that is true and all, it doesn't help a 12 year old who doesn't have anywhere to sit at lunch.
On a different subject, thank you to everyone who's reading this and passing it on. I started it thinking it would be a way for the family and friends to keep up with us, but it seems people are digging it, which is pretty awesome. Even have some international readers! Some things translate to all countries-like screaming babies at four a.m. and getting barfed on in the grocery store.