I will say this, my intention is to not hurt anyone with this or to be argumentative. However, this is my life and I want specific things for my family.
And so, this post will stand.
The other day, my friend Rita wrote an eloquent post about women being sadder now, than they were 40 years ago. I cannot even begin to recap it or add any value to it, but it struck home with me.
Actually, it punched me in the gut, then smacked me around for good measure.
When it comes to women being sadder now, the presuposition is this: because we are cramming more into our lives than ever before, our lives are in chaos and this is leading to women being sadder than 40 years ago.
And I agree.
For women and men, multi-tasking creates chaos, inattentiveness to detail and that general feeling of brain-fried malaise that descends on me personally every day as I drive home after being battered for eight hours by buzzing phones, 105 business e-mails, 105 personal e-mails, four meetings, six deadlines and 18 visits to my desk from co-workers needing an answer to a question.
And it sucks. Not being able to give something or someone your full attention sucks. I remember early in my career a mentor told me the best thing I could do for my mental state was give myself time to work. Give myself time to get something done correctly. Do less in each day, and do it better.Rita's entire post resonated with me because it encapsulated why I do not want to have an office job. Ever. When our kids are in school, I am hoping to do something part-time, low-key. I never want to go back to the life I led before I had kids. Leaving my house by 7:30am, sometimes getting home by 6:00pm, if I was lucky there were no emergencies and when the Traffic Gods ruled in my favor. Sometimes working weekends. Expected to answer phone calls in the evenings. Last minute trips. At my last job, I missed an OB appointment because something came up. And yes, I take full responsibility for missing that appointment. That is part of the problem with my working. When I work, I want to give 100%. And I would not be able to do that now, in this current life. Furthermore, not even my family would be getting 100%.
And most importantly, I would not be getting 100%.
I have a job, folks. It is a full-time job and it is not just about taking care of our kids, it is about taking care of our home. Our life. It is sad the term "homemaker" went out of style, because that is the truest definition of my job these days. I am so much more than just a stay-at-home-mom, dammit - I am making a home for us while my husband is working his tail off to create a business from scratch. Where is the shame in being called a homemaker?
If I were working in an office, I would not be getting what I need for me and my sanity. As my life is now, I am able to carve out time for myself, here and there. Time that I need to recharge and inspire me to be a better mother, wife and person. I simply do not see how that would happen if I had an outside job because I would want all of my non-work time to be for my family. I cannot imagine coming home at 6 or 6:30 and us trying to get some sort of decent, healthy, non-boxed meal on the table. Then, trying to get the kids to sleep by 8:30 so that they can be up in time. The thought of only having a few hours each evening with my kids makes my chest ache. And the thought of trying to cram their childhood into the weekends makes me ill. Truthfully? I don't enjoy going to the zoo, the children's farm, museum, parks, etc on the weekends because it makes me sad to see all the families trying to cram in quality time. Furthermore, how we would even have time to do all those fun things?? On weekends, we would be too busy getting everything else that needs to be done to keep our household going.
Every single Monday, I read a lot of Ugh, It's Monday posts from over-tired folks who spent their weekends running around. In my life now, I like Mondays. I love getting our week started and planning our activities. We run around during the week, then lay back on the weekends.
Where is this leading? X and I have discussed my getting an outside job.
We are not struggling for money, although we are worried about money, like most folks are these days. So please, do not misunderstand - This is not That Post. Actually, our situation is not bad. It is actually good since we are standing at the precipice of a Great Thing. And for that? X needs to ramp back on the consulting and focus on the Great Thing. And for that? More money is needed. So, without going into too much detail into our finances, it would behoove our little family if I went to work so that X could concentrate on that Great Thing and we could stem the hemorrhage of our accounts. And let me be clear: This a Great Thing in which I wholeheartedly believe and support. An awesome Thing that a Famous Big Coffeehouse is implementing on an industry-specific scale. A cool Thing that X knows will work on a larger scale.
And we are trying to figure this out without my having to go to work in an office.
Because that? Would be chaos. It would drive me insane. And while of course, Manoj would have to pick up a load of household duties around here, that would just further tighten the squeeze on him because he is already quite busy as it is.
The thought of putting my kids in daycare physically makes me ill. The thought of someone else hanging out with my children for 8+ hours a day makes me jealous. Angry. Resentful.
No, this is not a screed against the evils of daycare. I am sure preschools and daycares are nice places to hang out. I even suspect my kids would like hanging out in one for a little bit - after all, they do enjoy their little school two mornings a week. But for a long-term situation for 45+ hours a week? No way. I am their mother and nothing will convince me that someone else could nurture them better than I could Nothing will convince me there is a better option than me for taking care of them.
So, we will figure it out. We will make do, we have several variable expenses that can be cut and our fixed expenses are reasonable.
Truthfully, it has been difficult for Manoj to understand why I am adament about no full-time daycare/preschool for our kids. And why would he? His mother was always there for him. He does not know what it is like to not be home and to be in a place where the folks may or may not want him around. He does not know what it feels like to be sick and still have to be carted off someplace because his parents had to work and could not stay home. He does not know what it is like to be bleary-eyed because he had to get up at the crack of dawn to be driven to the babysitter when really, he just wanted to be home and watch cartoons on his own TV, on his own couch. He has never seen a babysitter smile at his mom, then pretty much dismiss him before his mom had left the driveway.
I know how all of that feels. And don't even get me started on how it feels to be a latch-key kid. The loneliness of walking into an empty house.
My children will be starting kindergarten before I know it. My children will think I am an out-of-date goofball before I know it. My children will want to hang out with their friends instead of me before I know it. This part of their childhood is so very fleeting. Every day something new happens, and oh sure, it is not always exciting. But truly, I relish the quietest, simplest of moments - be it doing shopping cart donuts in the Costco parking lot. Or creating operatic librettos out of our grocery list. Or taking our time while running an errand because they happened across a creepy crawly on the sidewalk. Or doing nothing in particular at all, just sitting in our own yard and watching the clouds. I do not want to rush this period of their life running around, in a hurry all of the damned time.
And I do not want to miss it sitting in traffic or a cubicle.