Unnecessary Lessons

I’m changing the name of this blog today. The name Unnecessary Lessons comes from a scene in The Jerk in which Bernadette Peters, newly rich, fills her time by taking knife-throwing lessons.  After a failed attempt, she cries, “I can’t do anything right.”  Her husband is enthusiastic and supportive, yet she struggles to find her place in this new life.  Having recently left my career in Chicago to be a stay at home mom in Austin, I can relate.

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Scene from The Jerk

It is a privilege to stay home with the kids, and it’s wonderful to have this time to watch them grow up.  Still, transitions are hard.

I have more time during the day, but it’s structured around Gussy’s napping and eating schedule.  This leaves about 4 hours each day in which I am in the house, alone.  I  can’t tell if I miss teaching or not.  I miss the students and my coworkers, but mid-career boredom was definitely seeping in.  I am less stressed out, but I don’t feel as useful. I’m working on making new friends, but that’s not easy without a job. I can’t figure out if I should teach, go back to grad school, or just start making folk art in our barn.  If I do return to teaching, it won’t be until next school year.  Until then, I’m finding ways to fill the nap time hours. No knife-throwing yet, but I’m getting better at banjo.  Meanwhile, Steve Martin is a continuing influence on my life.


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