A new chapter . . . and back to the car

I finished my final semester of dietetics coursework (and bike commuting to campus) in early May, and I am now one week away from working full-time outside the home for the first time in SIX years.  Six. Years.  August 1, 2012.  That feels like eons ago.

Also, while my job from December 2009 — July 2012 was full-time, it was a four-day-a-week full-time gig.  Which means it’s been over eight-and-a-half years since I’ve had a 5-day outside-the-home work week.

Needless to say, I go into these next 10 months (the length of my internship) with more than a little trepidation about what this change will mean for me and my family.  As the partner who worked part-time, from home, with fairly flexible hours, it made sense for me to take on the bulk of the household tasks for the last six years — that will have to change, but exactly how remains TBD.  It’s not like Matthew will magically have more hours in his day, as he will continue to work his full-time job.

We have talked about cutting back on the garden, at least temporarily.  We’re hoping to continue to have homemade, mostly garden-grown meals most nights, but we will also need to be flexible on this.  I thought about exploring some meal kit options over the summer, but that hasn’t happened . . . .

On the transportation front, I will once again be primarily car-bound.*  My time will be split between two sites, one that is 13-16 miles (25-30 minutes) by car and one that is 7-8 miles (20-25 minutes) by car.  The longer commute will actually be pretty similar to my previous car commute.  I hope to bike to the closer site somewhat regularly, though I need to explore shower options.

The further site is a bit less far by bike than by car — 10 miles by bike vs. 13-16 miles by car — but still, TEN miles one way.  I test rode this route over a year ago and wrote about it here.  Those 10 miles took me a bit over an hour, which means 2+ hours out of my day, round-trip.  If I didn’t have a kid to get home to, maybe, but as it is, that’s time that I can’t regularly afford.  I don’t see that time decreasing much short of getting an e-bike, and getting an e-bike for 10 months doesn’t make sense.

While the realities of this change are sobering, I am excited and grateful that I not only matched for a dietetic internship (nationwide the match rate is under 60%), but I matched with my first choice program!  I will be engaging in amazing, hands-on learning in a field I love while working with great preceptors.

These next ten months will be challenging, and I’m not expecting a great work-life balance.  What will come after May 2019 remains to be seen.  Our ideal work-life balance is probably working ~1.3 paid jobs between the two of us, leaving room for our gardening and from-scratch cooking habits.  Realistically, while it would be great to divide the paid work evenly between us, with health insurance and other benefits being tied to full-time employment, that means one of us working full-time and the other working part-time.  Once I finish my internship, secure employment, and pay off my school loans, we will see about that 1.3 jobs goal. And more consistent bike commuting!

*Any of the internships to which I applied would have required a car commute, given the distance and time to the sites, so this internship is neutral in that sense.
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