“When are you moving back home?” Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that question…well, hubby and I wouldn’t need to be saving for retirement.
Today’s inquirer – my 92-year-old grandmother, who we almost lost back at Thanksgiving. I was always closer to her than my other grandparents, and she’s now my last living grandparent. So, naturally, I had a pretty difficult time answering this question honestly. As it usually does, my response included a list of places that I am applying to, a statement that Home Town U currently is not hiring, and a reminder that I’ll end up where God leads me (big seller from where I come). Even still, the question lingers. And, of course, I inevitably feel a bit guilty for “putting my career first”.
So how do you handle letting family down this way, especially a closely-knit family unit like mine? After all, most of my family and high school friends live only a few-hours drive from home, many within 30 minutes. Truth be told, my husband and I would prefer to live fairly close to home (our favorite city in the world is just a few hours away). So it’s not like we’re avoiding moving back, we’ve just made the decision (together) that we’re following my career.
So I know the rules of a life in academia, I’ve even included them in comments across the blogosphere in the past couple of months. I chose this career with the knowledge that moving back home might not be part of the deal. Besides, I get a bit excited these days about living somewhere new, and it’s not like we can’t hop on a plane and see each other whenever we want. We’re not planning to move overseas or even out of the country. So what’s the big deal? On the other hand, my family did not choose this career. They’ve always been supportive of my aspirations, no matter how far away they have taken me. On top of which, I worry about starting a family far away from my or hubby’s family.
So the big question – how do I claim to be balancing work and family when I don’t take my family’s needs into consideration? The answer – I have no idea…
All this worry because of a conversation with my grandmother…can’t wait for the next family get-together.