As anonymous as I try to keep my blog, there’s only so much I can really share without crossing territory I’ve deemed to personal. Some readers know who I am, some know my story, and those Googling “Chassidish Divorces” will likely bounce off after a cursory perusal. Nevertheless, I value conversation and I value differing opinions. So I’m opening the door a little bit in an effort to set my head straight and get feedback on what should be such a straightforward and easy decision.
I was laid off from my job at the end of May. This wasn’t a surprise to me, I saw it coming from many different directions and honestly would have jumped had I not been pushed. Call it hashgoche pratis, but I had already started talking to another company. The catch was that it was in New York City, and I wasn’t living there.
This was my dream job. This was my ticket to a very different New York to the one that I lived in as a teenager. A New York that glistened and shone brightly from the dim world of Chassidic Brooklyn. I had finally arrived a place in my career that I was being recognized, and working hard was paying off in the form of a dream job in a dream city.
Logistically, I would not be able to take my youngest child with me at the start. As much as it killed me to leave, I left knowing it was temporary and that I would be back every Thursday night for three uninterrupted days as a tiny family unit. As the process drags, the tears (mostly mine) extend into every takeoff and every landing that isn’t at my home airport. My youngest asks hopefully every time my red suitcase lies on the floor of the dining room “this is your last trip to New York, right Mommy?”. My heart breaks every time I have to say it isn’t.
I love the opportunities that this job provides. From a professional standpoint, I’m working at a place which values experience over education, street smarts over book smarts. It’s fast-paced, it’s innovative, it’s exciting. It also exposes me to some great minds and interesting people. I’m learning minute after minute.
I kept a foot in the door in my home city. Having to uproot my family after years of changes, a part of me wanted stasis. I wanted the world to stop spinning, stop changing, keep my clothes in my dresser drawers for a little while longer. I was offered a job on Tuesday, back in my hometown, a boring, unchanging, stable job with good benefits. It doesn’t require me changing a lot. I’ll be able to do school runs and bake sales and class plays. I have a financial incentive from a family member to stay close by, which would help with debt I’ve accumulated ferrying back and forth and solving for babysitting and carpools. It’s a boring, stable, non-modern woman job. High powered me gone, dependable boring mom back. At 50% of my New York salary.
I love my children dearly. They are the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing on my mind as I go to bed. I have missed out on so much of my older children’s lives that leaving my dream job seems like a no-brainer. I have to invest the time I have with my youngest, because I simply won’t have those memories with my other children.
I’ve heard that if you come to a fork in the road with no goals in mind, who cares which way you go. Are my goals for the future that fuzzy? Am I sacrificing myself for the sake of perceived stability? Maybe I kept my foot in the door subconsciously, because I couldn’t bear to really, truly leave. As exciting as New York City is to a 30-something ex-chassidish woman, my children being constantly on my mind is a reminder that I don’t have it as easy as people who left the velt before marriage and children. I don’t resent having my children, but it changes the reality which is available to me.
I left my children for a better life. Is this what the better life is? Through tears, I have to admit I don’t think it is.