It’s been a rough winter for me. I’ve spent a great deal of time battling fatigue and trying to balance my life for the better. I’ve also lamented over my plight as a Stay at Home Mom, and terrorized anyone who would listen. It came to a head around Christmas time; I was exhausted, depressed, and feeling way overburdened and WAY under-appreciated, and there seemed to be no end in sight.
The only solution I could come up with (other than voluntary lobotomy)- I had to go back to work. Sick of being broke, weary of ferrying children around, and overdone on the micromanaging, I thought the simple sanity of a regular nine-to-fiver would cure all my ills. My husband, Mr Man himself, was no help at all; “You need meds”, and “You have to get rid of these kids” and, “You’re miserable! Do something!” were just a few of the inspiring gems he would throw out there- I should mention the fact that from the end of November to the beginning of January, he went to work for a whopping 3 days. He was recovering from a surgery, and taking advantage of a slow spell at work he made up for all the lost time at home by rekindling his relationship with the sofa. So in addition to the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and sometimes even 7 kids in the house, I had one rather large, often smelly, 38 year old INFANT to take care of. Oi, I get chest pain just thinking about it. Oh he tried to be supportive- he often remembered to keep his mouth shut when I got frustrated and shouted at the kids, and sometimes he would offer a special reminder elbow to push me out of bed when my 6am alarm went off and he didn’t have to get up. He stayed out of my way in the mornings, often not getting out of bed to bother me until at least 1pm! Yes, I think I will have to leave him if he ever retires.
So I broke the news to all the parents, who were all very understanding and sympathetic, and started mentally preparing myself for a return to the workforce. So “Yippee” I said to myself; “I can arrange after school care for Anthony, and find a daytime only job close to home… and get up early and farm my son out… and pick him up in the evening…. and go home and clean up and cook dinner…. and put my son to bed……” Oh, right, I remember this, and this is what some of the parents go through to bring their kids here. A whopping 3 hours a day with their kids so they can go to work every day and deal with stupid people for not enough money. Right.
And how many parents would just kill to be able to be with their kids more? How many cupcake days at school do they miss out on? What am I doing?
My own mother worked graveyard shift when I was a kid. There was no money to afford a sitter or after school programs. So she worked at night when my dad was (supposed to be) home, and took us to school, slept, picked us up, fed us, put us to bed, and headed back to work. She was not there for cupcake days either. Ask her now, and she’ll tell you she would have given anything to be able to spend that time with us as kids.
** I came back to this post today, I had stuck it in drafts sometime before we went on Vacation. After 2 weeks sitting on my arse in the sunshine and thinking….
I have returned to life feeling slightly less awful about it. Slightly.
I’m still frustrated with my “role” in this family, I’m still avoiding some responsibilities, but I don’t feel quite as crappy as I did. I needed a break.
I’ve since re-committed to taking all the kids, at least until the end of the summer, at which point we will revisit the issue. All the kids will be in school full days by then, and I should be able to find a job during school hours only. Then it’s possible that I might keep going with the kids, but the schedules won’t be as nuts. I had to ask for a bit more money from everyone, which they all gladly agreed to. And they all went out of their way to tell me what a big deal it was to have their kids come here. That helped a lot.
So, I’m important, I’m needed, I’m appreciated… If only by the people who pay me to take care of their kids, I am a pretty big freaking deal!