Monday, July 26, 2010

Rumblings...

I sit and stare at it. It greets me every morning at 6:00 am. Line upon line upon line of emails. Red exclamation points next to half of them to let me know “look at ME first. I’m important. Reply to ME.” I clean it out daily, hourly at times, but it keeps on going. Adding up to make me feel like I’m drowning in questions that needs answering. How long can I take paternity leave? What if I don’t want to turn in paperwork? What if I’m sick? When do I get paid? I don’t want to answer their questions. There is a little girl at home who is getting too big and growing up too fast and I cannot stand the hours I’m away from her during the day. Reply. Forward. Attach. Repeat. Snooze the Outlook Calendar reminders that pop up endlessly, do this, do that, do it now… you’ve been snoozing this reminder for 3 days now. Work hard, work long and someday it will pay off. I swear that should be the theme song, and, quite frankly, I don't know if I believe it anymore. Maybe this is just momentary stress during a transitional time at work, but its really taking me through the wringer this time...

I ask myself, why do I do this? The answer is simple really. It pays the mortgage, it pays the bills, it pays for food. People have told me-- if you really want things to work you make them work. We gave up our house, they say, moved to an apartment, take the bus everywhere, collect foodstamps…but I’m home with them, the children. You can make it work if you really want to, you’re just selfish. Perhaps. Or Perhaps that is not me. I am the nurturer, the mommy, but also the main provider. I can’t just throw it all away. We have worked hard for our little house, my extremely safe car (you wouldn’t believe the amount of hours…er days… that went into researching car safety), our quiet neighborhood, our providing for ourselves and others in our family who need help. Of course, I could quit my job and stay at home. It would only be a matter of time before we wouldn’t be able to make the house payments anymore, just one month with us having to pay practically a mortgage payment for our sick dog like last month and we’d be done for. We could sell the car, eat cheaper, processed foods. Sure, it could work. Instead of stressing about work I could stress about money. It’s trading one evil for another. Would the payoff be greater than the sacrifice? Possibly. Although, to play devil’s advocate, my girl is happy, well-adjusted and wonderful. I don’t worry about her. In all honesty it’s me I’m starting to worry about.

What wonder is, is there a happy medium somewhere? Somewhere else perhaps? The thought is scary, but at what point it is too much? At what point do I decide that my own quality if life is, in fact, important? That is what I’ve been wondering lately. The what else-s and what if-s are getting to me.

I’ll be back to regular writing soon. I’m in a funk and can’t seem to extract myself. Do you forgive a girl who is just trying to stay above water here? There is so much going on and I have so much to tell you...I promise if you stick around that you'll be glad you did.

How do you deal with whatever stresses you? Let me know.

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” 
–Ralph Waldo Emerson





22 comments:

laurasrecipecollection.com said...

Being a working mom is ridiculously hard. You fight to give work proper attention, your husband proper attention, your kids proper attention. And oh yeah. once in a while you're supposed to do things for yourself too?
You'll get through this. It'll work out in the end.
I have to believe that. I'm trying to convince myself of that too.

Lynn said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're having a rough time. I know the feeling all too well of having a baby grow into a toddler and into a child in the blink of an eye. I've been wondering how you're doing. I hope things settle down for you soon...and I can't wait to hear what else is going on!

Stephanie said...

You are writing every word that is in my mind. I am having this exact same struggle. EXACT. I don't have any words of wisdom, or even hope, but if it helps? You're not in it alone. I'm here, too. Working and hating it. Being away from my girl (who's also wonderful, well-adjusted and fine) and helping to pay the mortgage on a house we bought with this little girl in mind, with a yard chosen specifically for her little feet to run in, in a town with good schools...

it's totally trading one evil for another. Sigh. I'm right there with you.

Queenie. . . said...

Oh boy do I know this one.

Here's my take: there is a cost to every choice we make in life. Sometimes it's an obvious cost, and sometimes it's harder to see. You just have to decide if you can live with the costs.

And here's what I did: I left a career that I loved (about two months ago), moved to a city 500 miles away for training, and I'll soon be leaving for my new position in a foreign conutry. The cost: I am taking my daughter away from our family and friends. The benfit: a better salary and better hours for me. The better salary means my husband can be a stay at home dad. It's an exciting job, and one that I am thrilled to have, and it has been a joy to be home more. I was working such crazy hours, and commuting. I feel like I've been given my life back. I worry that it won't be worth those costs, though...

Good luck with your decision-making.

Solar Powered said...

Girl, I just cried because I am there too. We are in it together and if it helps at all, my heart lit up a little when I saw that you had posted because I look to your blog for shared miserables :)

My mind goes all day with what ifs and some days I almost walk in there and tell my boss goodbye but like you the unknown of the alternative is just too damn scary. And like you, I have worked hard for a sense of stability...what would giving that up do to me as a mother and a wife?

We will get it figured out. I know it.

Candice said...

Well, I don't know how many hours you're working, but I do know financial issues are the most stressful of all. I certainly wouldn't trade financial issues to stay at home. I'm a sahm now because my son has special needs. We have made cutbacks, but nothing drastic. Otherwise I'd be finding work.

As for your situation, keep your eyes peeled for a job with comparable pay, but less hours.

Michelle said...

Delurking to say I have this conversation in reverse with husband more often than he would like. I'm a SAHM of two (3 year old boy and 6 week old girl) and I fret that I should be "contributing to the household income" in a more tangible way.

We women have been sold a bill of goods. There is no possible way to do everything and have it all. It is physically impossible to 100% to your children, your job, your husband, and yourself. The feminist movement told us we could have it all. They lied. Something always suffers. Work in the home and you feel like you should be bringing in some bacon. Work outside the home and you stress about your children. Whatever decision you make you'll question the other side.

All that you can do is what is right for you first and your family second. I know that sounds like the wrong order, but if you're unhappy ain't no one going to be happy and you're providing a poor example for your children. You have to do the best you can with what you've got. If that means you work outside the home a little while longer then that's what you have to do. Money stress is far worse than job stress on most people and their relationships.

Just whatever you decide, know that you're not alone. There is always another side of the fence and questions lay there as well.

Good luck!

Banana Hammock said...

so when are you going to announce you are pregnant? was it planned? did you get to see the heartbeat???

ABLynch said...

I'm right there with you! I think its the siren song of the working mom! I actually considered quitting my job to stay home, and started doing the math. Due to massive student loans, the life we would have been left with wouldn't have been that much of a life! That is when I realized that if my child is happy and well adjusted, then it would be selfish to rock the boat so I could feel better by staying home.

I'm sorry that you are in a rough patch. This too shall pass!

Laura said...

Wow--you wrote exactly the words and thoughts that go through my mind every day. I constantly feel guilty and that I'm doing the wrong thing and when I consider the alternatives, I feel just as bad. I tell myself that if I was doing something that I like for a job then maybe I would feel different. I even cut my hours and work only Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. My mom watches my little ones and they are so loved and cared for, but yet I feel this constant battle. Will it always feel this way? Will I always resent myself? When I dreamed of being a mother, this was never part of it! I'm sorry--I wish I could give you advice, but I'm in the same boat. If it's any comfort, you're not alone!

Laura said...

glad to have you back....its weird to worry about someone you've never met and probably never will...but I have been checking the blog regularly wondering if everything was okay with "you and your's". I am sorry you have been stressed but thankful to know that work stress is whats keeping you away and not something else like an illness. I am not a movie quoter, but this just popped in my head, "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming" from Finding Nemo. Its hard, but its worth it.

Casey said...

I would never attach the word "selfish" to your choice. Every family is different. We are one of those people who let their home fall into foreclosure when our child was born (tried for a year to sell it to no avail as we were underwater). I left a decade long professional career and we cut our salary by more than half. We now live in a decent enough rental in a nice area close to my family. We live comfortably but very fiscally responsibly. our back yard is not at all the back yard I had envisioned my child running in, but we laugh and love everyday in that yard. We use coupons and forgo vacations and wash out ziplock bags dozens of times before tossing. But we are happy. If you are not happy, then make a change, it is the only real advice I can give.

Sarah said...

To answer your question, I handle my stress best when I exercise. And I handle my guilt about taking "me" time to go do said exercise by getting up early and running with a partner and being home before anyone else in the house is even awake.

Just wanted to put something else out there for consideration...
My girls are well taken care of when I am at work. It is harder for me, I think, because they are young and if I had a nickel for every time someone told me to "enjoy the baby years because you'll never have them back" then I'd be able to cash those nickels in and stay at home quite comfortably! BUT...we are planning on me shifting gears a bit when the girls are older, and in school. I know there isn't one time in life where it is more important than another to have parental involvement, but I want to be plugged in to my kids and their friends and their lives when the choices become bigger and the consequences scarier. You wrote a long time ago about hoping Lucy would be involved with horses, because girls who are involved with horses stay out of trouble (I'm paraphrasing, and quite poorly - sorry!). This is my equivalent. Just a thought.

Andrea said...

I have days like this all the time, especially now that my daughter is coming up on 2 1/2 and is just growing and changing so fast. My mom was a SAHM so I'm no stranger to having my need and choice to work questioned but then I tell myself...my daughter is learning from my example. She's learning that she can be self-sufficient and not have to rely on someone else for an income. She's learning that women can be moms, employees, wives, and themselves...all at the same time. And she has a mom who comes home, having missed her desperately and SO GLAD to be reunited.

I am so sorry that you're going through a rough patch.

Colleen Kuerth : Truly Noted said...

I feel for you Bev! I am due with my first baby in September and have been struggling with going back to work or trying to stay at home.

Thankfully I am a graphic designer so I can possibly get work as a freelancer and I also own my own business making wedding invitations. But I am still not sure if it will be enough to replace my 'regular job' income. And what if it doesn't? What happens if we can't pay the mortgage or the car payment? It keeps me up at night.

But I hate my job and I can't stand that thought of paying for someone else to take care of my baby so I can come to work every day and be miserable. I very often wish it was like the 50's still, at least in the regard that one income could sustain a family and the mother could stay home. It is sad that we have gotten ourselves into a situation where stay at home mothers are the minority and latch-key kids are the majority. And there is a daycare on every corner.

I hope you find some answers and a happy middle ground that works for you!

Beverley said...

"She's learning that women can be moms, employees, wives, and themselves...all at the same time"

That's just the thing though. I simply cannot be all of those things. Not even close... So what, exactly, am I teaching her?

Laura said...

I totally understand what you're saying. I always tell my husband that I feel like I failing at everything. I'm such a type-A personality (and it seems like you are too!) and I'm so used to overcoming/thriving at everything. I just feel like a sucky mom, a sucky employee, and a cranky, tired wife! I snap easily and that is so not me. I keep telling myself I will change things if I can decide what is the best thing, but I'm still so, so lost.
I went on vacation for the first time in years last week and it helped tremendously (husband, 2 kids, and 2 dogs)--do you have the option to get way? I really feel for you because you are saying everything I struggle with daily.
I'm used to being good at something and this treading water situation isn't familiar ground.

Andrea said...

I definitely understand where you're coming from there and believe me, on a rough day (which is more often than not) I do question that! The only answer I can think of that calms me down is that she's also learning that it's okay to not be perfect at everything all the time and that as long as she's trying her best, that's what counts.

I really hope you find an answer that works for you...even if you don't find yourself continuing to work in the long run!

Lauren Bryson said...

The only thing that helps me through trials in my life-- whether it be guilt for not bringing home $ and seeing how we are just making it, or fear in putting myself out there to grow my business(i'm a sahm and a photographer) is God. No matter what I'm going through I know that I can open my bible and find hope and comfort and perspective. I haven't always been close to God, so I don't have all of the answers but I learn every time I read His word. Everyone has their own way of dealing with things, this is just mine.

Jessica@The Southern Belle Baby said...

I could have written this post verbatim. I, too, am a working mom and the main provider in our house. There is so much pressure to keep things up, yet, at the same time, i have no desire to keep working and stretching myself so thin. I despise it, I resent it, but I HAVE to do it, and don't get me wrong- I'm grateful that I have this job, but it's not where my heart is. I've been going through the same emotions over the past months, but especially the past weeks. I'm exhausted. I try to do everything "right" for my son (cloth diapering, making his organic baby food myself, etc) but I am so tired! I can't do everything all by myself, even if I want to. If you figure it out, please let me know, too! Hang in there- you're not alone!

Kim said...

I could have written this exact same post. Even the HR aspect. I work in HR too. I want to be home with my daughter. At this point I'm considering a career change. I know you wrote this a while ago and you are in a better place now but I just had to say I totally understand. It's nice to see someone feel how I feel.

Kim said...

I could have written this exact same post. Even the HR aspect. I work in HR too. I want to be home with my daughter. At this point I'm considering a career change. I know you wrote this a while ago and you are in a better place now but I just had to say I totally understand. It's nice to see someone feel how I feel.

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