I have always been pretty good at identifying what I want. Probably too good sometimes. You never had to work very hard to figure out what to get me for a present on my birthday or for Christmas. I don't hum and ho over a menu trying to decide to what to have. I usually just know. I know myself, my likes, my dislikes, and although I am pretty flexible when I have a choice you are not going to sit around waiting for me to make up my mind.

Except here lately I feel like I am at a crossroad and I am not sure which way to go. I have been here before. When I was in college trying to decide what I "want to do" with my life I didn't know. Instead of trying out different majors and switching career fields I figured out a major that I was OK with that had GREAT job potential. I liked business...wasn't into marketing, had OK skills in accounting (but found it dull), and wanted to be able to find a good job right out of college. So I ended up in finance. Turns out that finance was a much harder major than I first anticipated. It also turns out that during the end of my sophomore year in college the economy and the financial world was in a much different place than when I graduated. I don't like selling things so a lot of the "intro" to finance jobs were out for me. I didn't want to sell mutual accounts or retirement plans. Lucky for me I worked in financial aid in college as a workstudy student so when a job opened up for a counselor in a town near where we were living I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back (OK, maybe looked back a few times).

So fast forward 6 years in life and I find myself at another crossroad. Life as I know it has changed a lot and I have changed too. I married a doctor (although so far he has just been a very poor med student and now resident) whose work commitments, income potential, and lifestyle has direct repercussions on me and my children. Sick days, doctor appointments, school activities, and a lot of other day to day activities fall on me.

As we prepare to welcome our third child I have been doing a lot of soul searching as to what makes me happy. When we first moved here I stayed home with the kids for 9 months while actively looking for a job. I was surprised how much I enjoyed being home with the kids and being able to participate more easily in their activities. I also enjoyed the extra time and energy to keep up with the household chores and daily errands. It felt good to have dinner on the table when Bret got home from very long days at work. It was also very nice to be home during some of the tougher rotations like nights. We could more easily shift our daily routines to fit his schedule which everyone happier.

On the other hand I figured out that I needed more than just staying home with the kids to put myself into. Part of this came from not knowing anyone in the area and not having any friends when we first moved here. But I also need reasons to do things outside of taking care of my families. Part of recognizing what makes me happy was being OK with the need to be involved with the church, PTA, volunteering, or even the possibility of part time work from home. Of course money is still of concern. While my income potential does not reach that of Bret's even as a resident it is still a nice cushion for us to pay off some debt, ease the burden of "extras", and it keeps me from becoming the budget crazy lady. We have gotten used to not worrying about unexpected expenses (like an upcoming surgery for Palmer's eyes or inspections for our vehicles).

So on the table as far as decisions we are trying to make is the daycare issue (keep the kids where they are, hire one of the teachers that approached us to watch the kids in our home), whether I want to continue working, and when these decisions should take place. I don't want to change Emily's school in the middle of the year. If she stays home we plan to enroll her in a preschool (which starts the 1st of Sept) or keep in her the kindergarten program for the rest of this year. We also have to figure out what would be best for Palmer. He is doing great in his current program. Can we afford for me to stay home soon. If we can afford it is that what I want? What happens after Bret finishes residency and money isn't a deciding factor anymore. I know that I am only a part of this decision making process. I am praying that the right decisions come and make themselves apparent (and soon too).

At the end of the day I think this decision is partly so hard because I don't know what I want. If I went to Bret and said "I want/need to stay home" he would say OK. If on the other hand I said "I want to try and keep working" he would figure out a way to make that happen too. I guess worse case scenario is that I change my mind. I just don't want to be kicking myself months later if I realize that I shouldn't have quit my job.

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