Almost the first question I get from everyone who hears we're going to England for my husband's job is, "Will you work?" This invariably brings up a flood of conflicting feelings: guilt, annoyance, uncertainty, anticipation. Even though I have a visa to work, I don't have a job lined up. I haven't been seeking out job postings or calling up the few people I know who have already done PA work in England. I've finally become almost comfortable with saying I'm going to take a break from clinical work, but C looks at me askance and wonders out loud how long I'll last being a "stay at home mom." (I really hate that term. I mean, really, I stay at home more after I've worked a day because I'm too tired to go out. When I'm "home" with Z, we're always looking for new adventures.)
It was fantastic going back to work after taking a year off when Z was born, although I honestly wasn't sure if I was safe to give medical advice. They don't tell you before you're pregnant that your brain shrinks in late pregnancy and that it takes over 6 months to recover. Don't believe me? Check out the science. Honestly, I don't think my cognitive function ever did recover from childbirth and nursing. I could almost feel the brain cells draining from my cerebral cortex through my milk ducts 6 times a day. But Group Health took a chance on me and in return I traveled around 4 counties filling in the gaps in their Urgent Care schedules.
Let me just digress and tell you a little more about how much I loved Group Health. First off it was the patients who convinced me the organization was delivering health care in a way that really pleased them and kept them healthy. It seemed most nights I'd take care of someone who had been with the co-op since 1947 and when they heard I was new, they'd tell me everything they loved about their health care team, because it was never just the doctor who took care of them. After a year of filling in I landed my dream job in the Group Health Family Health Clinic, 10 blocks from my house, 20 hours/week, with the best group of providers and staff and the most spectacular view of the Olympics in the building.
I was not ready to leave this job and so, I suppose, I'm not eager to start another. I've already convinced myself that no other job could ever be as good, no other health care organization could be as hard working and smart about delivering care. If you're convinced you're never gonna have another love like the one you lost, why even go to the dance?
So that's where I'm at now. I'll tell you the kind of work I WILL be doing and that's working to make sure our family get's plugged into the St. Albans community, that Z gets to have more mom time before he decides mom isn't too cool and that he's thriving in school. I'll be working to plan our weekend hikes, the cheapest way to get to the continent, finding out which hostels are in castles and how far in advance you need to book a bunk in Svalbard during the time of year when the sun never sets. I'll work on my ukelele chords and cooking skills and connecting with the many fascinating people turning iPhoneography into high art. I'll work at deepening family rituals and inventive ways to enjoy each other without sitting in front of a screen. I'll work on this blog, on staying in touch with family and friends. And I'll definitely work on keeping fit so I can possibly see my son have his own children. I'll try to overcome the uncertainty and guilt of not not having a job and defy the stereotypes of the unemployed housewife.
But I suppose you could say I won't be working.