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Revising life’s blueprints

In Entertainment by Angela Amman2 Comments

This post is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. All anecdotes and opinions are our own.

Finding the right career — the first time

I worked for a while after getting my Bachelor’s degree, trying on ideas for what to do next. I took a couple GRE exams, sent scores to schools down the street and across the country, tried on the idea of different programs of study. I knew changing careers couldn’t happen every time I got bored. My brain touched lightly again doctoral programs and finally scaled back to a Master’s degree and teaching certification program. When I finally hung bulletin boards in my first classroom, I thought I’d found the right fit. I could see my future as a teacher: in the classroom, maybe later as part of a curriculum team, bringing my (future) children to school events.

making life changes

Making plans, changing plans

Years spun through my fingers, and by the time I was pregnant with my second child, my first still in diapers but quickly dropping her nap, that blueprint didn’t seem to make sense. Long days of teaching and grading, coupled with childcare expenses and an aching desire to spend more time with my young children, began the emotional and practical decision-making process. Eventually, my husband and I decided I would stay home with the kids, with the idea of reevaluating the decision when our youngest started school.

changing careers

Life revisions change relationships

I expected my schedule to change, my priorities to change, my wardrobe to change, but I hadn’t anticipated the changes in my relationships. Through no fault of his — in fact, we’ve had countless conversations to the contrary — I found myself thinking of our household money as my husband’s. I felt like I had less of a say in our finances, less of a voice, without a tangible paycheck. Friendships shifted in dynamic. I was suddenly on the opposite side of a Red Rover game, each side firmly holding onto the hands of the people to whom they related most closely. Suddenly, no one asked questions about me anymore — all conversations centered around the kids or my husband’s career.

changing careers

Finding a new layer to my blueprint

Something that has always been a part of my life became a prominent hobby and slowly shifted into a way to make a little bit of money and to shape a new future career direction. Writing — chronicling our lives and crafting fictional ones — became something I sketched into plans. I held my breath and called myself a writer. Eventually I started to believe it, though with my kids not in school full time, many of my plans have always been in the hazy land of “the future.”

changing careers

Additional changes in the plan

As my kids and I begin the last summer before they’re both in school full time — my little one goes to full-day kindergarten in the fall — I find myself shifting my plans yet again. My hours are opening up a little, yet their lives are getting busier, too. The way I thought their elementary school years would look seems to be an idealized version of the actuality of juggling their lives with a new career.

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky came across my desk at the perfect time. Two women, a mother and daughter home design team, are forced to change their visions for their careers, through no fault of their own — and the changes are compounded by the ones in their personal lives.

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About Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky

Some women are born with an instinct for knowing how things work—and what to do when they break.

Caroline MacAfee is a skilled carpenter, her daughter Jamie, a talented architect. Together they are the faces of Gut It!, a home renovation series on local public television. Caroline takes pride in her work, and in the way she connects with the show’s audience.  But when she is told the network wants her daughter to replace her as host-the day after Caroline’s fifty-sixth birthday-she is devastated. The fallout couldn’t come at a worse time.

For Jamie, life changes overnight when, soon after learning of the host shift, her father and his new wife die in a car accident that orphans their two-year-old son. Accustomed to organization and planning, she is now grappling with a toddler who misses his parents, a fiancé who doesn’t want the child, a staggering new attraction, and a work challenge that, if botched, could undermine the future of both MacAfee Homes and Gut It!

For Caroline, hosting Gut It! is part of her identity. Facing its loss, she feels betrayed by her daughter and old in the eyes of the world. Her ex-husband’s death thrusts her into the role of caregiver to his aging father. And then there’s Dean, a long-time friend, whose efforts to seduce her awaken desires that have been dormant for so long that she feels foreign to herself.

Who am I? Both women ask, as the blueprints they’ve built their lives around suddenly need revising. While loyalties shift, decisions hover, and new relationships tempt, their challenge comes not only in remaking themselves, but in rebuilding their relationship with each other.

Have you ever had to shift the blueprint of your life?

Meet the Author | Angela Amman

Angela Amman is a short story and essay writer. Collecting her family's stories is a gift-in-progress for her daughter and son, and she blogs at Playing with Words, capturing the craziness and beauty that weave together to create something extraordinary. As the co-director of Listen To Your Mother Metro Detroit, Angela is thrilled to bring others' stories to the stage and to celebrate the magic of words, storytelling, and the courage to share that magic with an audience. When she should be sleeping, she works on her latest short story collection. Her writing has been featured on Mamalode, Peacock Journal, and Scary Mommy. Her personal essays and short stories have appeared in her collection, Nothing Goes Away, and various anthologies.

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  1. This sounds like a great book! And yes- I found myself shifting my life after having babies! I was stuck in a major rut being home with two little ones and slowly losing myself. Luckily my creative outlet took shape of a blog and now a full time business. It’s funny how your life takes you on a winding road but will somehow always lead you where you need to go!

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