Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Struggle

It is 9:32pm here and I have been struggling with this crushing doubt, fear, dread, whatever you want to call it. The prospect of going to work tomorrow is so depressing I can't bring myself to go to bed as if not sleeping will make the morning not come.

I got laid off from my previous job at the end of May. I went back to work for 6 weeks to finish out my job so I could keep my insurance and collect my severance. At that time we were counting on me staying home for awhile after the layoff so we didn't put Bear in daycare. My mom and grandma came in from out of town traded off watching him for those six weeks. When it came down to it we couldn't go through with me staying home. The figures didn't work out and the stress was so palpable and I thought we might collapse under the weight of it all. The hospital bills came in, taxes had to be paid, cars needed repair, and life went on. I got short term disability for 8 weeks because of my c-section but the remaining 4 weeks I took without pay.

That was tough and the thought of months of barely making it and fighting over who bought the expensive toilet paper was just not something I could deal with. So I took another job. A great job. A job that I would have loved 5 years ago when I graduated from college. My coworkers are great. The benefits and the salary are good. I have a great office with a view and flexible hours. Great sick leave and vacation.

Yet I am miserable. My heart isn't in it. The guilt kills me all day long. The guilt that I am half-assing it. That I am not doing my best, not even close. I used to be the worker that stayed as late as needed to get the job done. That took the job home with me at night. Now I'm spending my days praying that the fever nazis (aka daycare providers) don't call me because I don't have any more sick leave until the 1st of next month. I know I can't quit right now. It is not feasible. We have property taxes coming up (the bill came in today) and Christmas gifts to buy. I know that doesn't seem like a lot to a lot of people. People who think my priorities are skewed. People who judge.

I feel trapped and guilty all the time. I struggle to get through the day. Follow my routine. Enjoy my 2-3 hours of awake time I get to spend with my son every evening. A struggle I know thousands of other mothers have suffered through but yet I feel alone in my burden. My husband is doing the absolute best he can and I know he wants me home with Bear if thats what I want. I wish life came with a TiVo. Pause, FF, RW, Stop. I wish I could pause the job and leave it for when I am done with making my babies and the youngest is in preschool. No penalty. No, so what have you been doing for the past 6 years questions? I dread going to bed at night because I know when I get up I have to do it all over again and again and again. I don't know what the solution is. I'll let you know...


Annie said...

I have been in your place. Before my first daughter was born I was a great worker and then she came along and it was never the same. I stay at home right now but the stress of money is never ending! And I hate to complain because like you said someone out there has it much worse then I, but I guess it's all relative right?

She Likes Purple said...

Oh darling. I wish I could give you a hug, honestly. I won't pretend to understand your struggle but I know guilt and it's not an easy thing to deal with day-to-day. I hope that life works out soon enough and you're able to live in peace and be content with your choices. Know that you're doing what you have to do (what is best) for your family by working and if you could, you wouldn't. You're doing all you can. I wish I could buy you a margarita or something of the sort. But I'll definitely send you some positive vibes. A virtual hug or two.

Nataly said...

Hi - I found you from your comment on Milk and Cookies (I am the culptrit behind Work It, Mom! and love having Linda as one of our bloggers). I just read your post and wanted to just let you know that you are not in any way alone. The guilt is ever-present for me and I constantly feel like I am not doing well enough as a mom, wife, worker, you name it. I have no words of wisdom, sorry, just that I can completely relate.

Not So Perfect said...

I have been there. I am so sorry. I know the pain you are talking about the guilt and fear it can be consuming. I wish there was an easy answer a quick fix, but there isn't. I can tell through your writings that you are a wonderful mother. I will pray for you and your family. There are a few bible verses I would read when I was really struggling I hope it helps you too.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Philippines 4:13

Amanda said...

What a hard, hard place to be in. I know the struggle is intense -- I worked for several months after taking in our son. When we were making the SAHM decision for our family, a couple of books really helped us determine how we could make it work. Maybe they could help you as you decide?

Miserly Moms and Frugal Families both by Jonni McCoy. Also, the Tightwad's Gazette books by Amy Dacyczyn can be a good resource on frugality, though they can also be quite brutal.

Now, as for the guilt, working or not, I think the guilt can linger. Really, who thinks they totally add up as a mom? We all do our best with what we have, and we all falter.

Law Student Hot Mama said...

Ah, a work/life balance post. There is all this crap about the "mommee wars" because there are these women who are so critical of others who don't stay home with their kid. Well . . . some of us don't have a choice and we HAVE to work. Making those of us who work feel guilty for doing so is a load of crap. Oh, and even moms who stay home with their kids have guilt that they're not doing a good job, too. That's why I think they go after the moms who work.

My solution? Prostitution! It works great - work while the kid is in bed . . . hehe. I'm a sick, sick woman. Oh, and thanks for tagging me for the meme.