May 7, 2013

Having All the Things

The alarm goes off at 5:15am.  I blearily wander to the bathroom and hop into the shower.  As I gradually wake up, I mentally run through a list of all the things that must be accomplished for the day.  I finish my shower, get dressed and stumble downstairs. I put the tea kettle on, feed the cats, mist tarantula cages, let the dog out, let various cats in and out (and inevitably, in again).  By 6:30am, I am headed out the door to work where I bury myself in an exciting extravaganza of process documentation and identifying the associated risks and controls. My client, a giant packaging provider in the consumer products and foodservice industries, is a dream to work with and one of the best clients I have ever had.  Everyone is very agreeable! and organized! and forthcoming! and has made this project go so, so smoothly.  At 3pm, I will hurriedly pack up my laptop and dash to the school to retrieve Team Chaos. Sometimes, there is work to be finished.  Sometimes, there is not.

Yes, I am working.  While it has never seemed to me there was a time where I was not working, society demands the distinction.  Last year while on another contract, I wrote a post titled “On Working” that detailed my hazy, mixed feelings on this so-called “working thing” and that ambivalence has still not cleared.   I love making money (along with the rest of humanity?) I like relieving Manoj of some of our fiscal responsibilities.  I enjoy getting dressed up every day.  I appreciate that I am working with intelligent professionals.  I relish pulling out Big School Words mixed with Business Clichés.  I love digging deep into a Visio diagram and even deeper into my brain as I recall past knowledge and experiences.  I like hanging out with men for a change and talking sports and politics and pop culture all in my favorite sarcastic, cynical sense of humor (I always had a difficult time finding my Sarcastic, Cynical Tribe of SAHMs. Where were they??!!)

I feel the tide turning with a slow, creeping ascent.  When my kids were little, I was not conflicted about “just staying home” with them.  Not ever once. My self-esteem remained intact, I was never bored and I certainly never thought that I had tossed some feminist agenda to the wind!  However, this current school year has introduced a subtle shift to our lives.  Anjali is in afternoon Kindergarten and I cherished our mornings together while appreciating my afternoons all to myself.  I was able to do quick errands, visit my grandma, volunteer at the school and sneak in some reading or gym time.   I suddenly found myself with a luxurious abundance of free time and unapologetically, I was enjoying it. 

Obviously, accepting this current project ended all of that and frankly, the transition was painful.  Anjali has missed me terribly and has expressed herself in extremes – either with sadness or anger.  One day, she might sob uncontrollably at how she misses me.  The next day, she might completely reject me and drift toward Manoj.  I rarely cook these days.  The house is a complete disaster.  And the worst part is oh, how I miss my kids.  They are asleep when I leave the house and not seeing them until 3:40pm each day is difficult.

I don’t know what our new life will hold for us this fall when both kids are in school full-time.  I hope to find a solution that will allow me the flexibility to be home with them after they get out of school since rushed, frantic evenings are not a lifestyle I ever want. However, I also know that I simply cannot drop my children off at school, and then sit around all day just waiting for them to come home. The days of gin-soaked afternoons playing canasta with bland snacks served on melamine plates belong to the likes of Betty Draper.

Yes, I love Staying Home but only when my children are actually home with me. 


Melanie said...

I hear you, I feel like we could have been great friends if we lived in the same neighborhood! My youngest goes to all day kindergarten in the fall and I am putting my toes in the school district pool (even though my degree is in accounting) just to try and find a job that matches my kids school schedule. While they are young and still want me to be around, I'd like to be able to make that happen.... yet I'd also like to earn money for a few extras, may a REAL vacation (camping my husband tells me every single year is NOT a vacation), perhaps a long neglected home improvement (CARPET CARPET, please let me be able to afford new carpet one of these days!!) or maybe even a newer car! Of course based on the type of school district job I am qualified for, it will likely be save all your income and pick ONE of the above mentioned things, but every LITTLE bit helps no? PS I've actually been told I am waiting my college education and worse. That always bugged me, I thought the root of feminism was choice. I am just exercising that choice in the way that was best for my family!

Unknown said...

I am fortunate in that I work from home, and while I do miss the fun and banter of co-workers, I also have great flexibility. Especially now, when Elise is taking long naps, I can work and not be home watching TV!

However, when they are older, I will probably find something that allows me to pick them up or take them to after school activities, etc. I have little desire to stay at home alone!

Moderndayhermit said...

I was off of work for 3 months and while I was SUPER BUSY planning a move, working on my portfolio, updating my skillset etc. it was SO WONDERFUL to be home with Alex. At first I hated it, I was used to being so busy ALL. THE. TIME. But it was nice to have time to make a decent meal, sit down and help him with his homework ... not be the militant pain in the ass about being in a hurry all the time.

I never felt guilty about going to work every day. NEVER. But now I do. I miss him and now that he gets up and gets on the bus everyday for school and I don't see him until 5 ... it makes me sad.

But on the flip side, I missed going to the office, having deadlines that weren't just self-imposed and the office setting.


I liked it better when I didn't feel guilty.

Olivia said...

I cannot believe how much I have enjoyed not working the last year. The time with my kids has been so wonderful. That said, I'll only be "not working" for another year until my daughter goes to kindergarten. Finances dictate so, and I don't think I would want to be home all the time once both of them are in school anyway. I have no idea what I want to do though. I only know I want to work part time so I can still have time for chores so doing them doesn't have to be rushed in the evenings and weekends.