Monday, September 18, 2006

Safety Net

It's been almost a month since my last update. I would use the excuse that I'm working 60-70 hour weeks, but we all know I don't update in the easiest of times, either. It's just who I am, love me regardless.

Although my motivation for returning to the workforce was purely financial , I am forced to admit that I am loving it a little. Loving having my own personal space (fortunately, I am the only one working in my office), loving knowing the Lean Cuisines I keep stashed in the freezer at work will be there when I have a hankerin' for some swedish meatballs (I swear, LC Swedish Meatballs are soo good.)

Here's the cold hard truth: I feel relieved. Not just in the financial sense, but more personally.I know that staying home with your kids is really an important job. It's also way harder than making money. I suck at staying home with my kids. While I have no shortage of love and adoration for them, I know I run up short in the parenting and patience department. After spending 3 years at home with a grandma-type nanny, and another three years with me, my son is woefully unprepared for Kindergarten. He's been having behavior problems. And I know it's my fault. Not saying that every kid with behavior problems can be blamed on the Mama, I just know that in my personal case, it's true.

I am so relieved that, because he is in school now, trained professionals (and I know I'm lucky to have a public school, no less) are standing at the ready to help him gain some impulse control, which I never had the skills or patience to do. I am relieved that by being in day care all day, my youngest will never know these struggles my son is facing right now (and I will post more on this topic later...poor kid). I am relieved that when I leave the house every morning, my kids will be handed off to people who know how pull the best from them, who feel their calling is to train young minds, and who have far more patience than I.

I am not bashing on stay at home or homeschooling moms. I envy them. Not the enormity of their job, but their willingness and skill and patience. It is hard, it is thankless. I'm not a big enough person to take it for years, and I envy them their fortitude. And their lack of clinical depression, or at least their ability to handle it.

After feeling like such a failure in the parenting department for so long, I would be dishonest if I were to say 12 and 14 hour work days are killing me. I am loving it. May lightening strike me (and it probably will,) I feel such a relief knowing that while I'm making money, somebody else is picking up the ball. My husband gets them ready in the morning, feeds them, drops them off. Starts dinner, picks up the kitchen, sometimes runs some laundry. Deals mostly with the school and discipline issues. Really stepped up, IMO, much better than I ever have. It hurts to say I've spent the last three years of my life failing at something, but I did. It's over now, I need to move on. And when I do get to spend a couple of hours with my kids, I cannot conceal my delight in everything they do. I am reading to them and playing with them more than I ever did when their entertainment was my job 24/7 . I am also much better and handling household things than I ever did, even though I am dog tired. Where I would procrastinate before, I am motivated to keep things running smooth. I know if I fail at being a working mom, my failure will be complete. It will mean I have no niche, no place where I am competent. That's really motivational, although I know that I am still in the honeymoon period (remember when I first started school? HA!)

Having a safety net ( in parenting, housekeeping, finances, self-esteem) is what works for me. I am human, fallable. I'm OK with that (finally!) And even though I leave for work almost every day, I am still a mom. Now I'm also a person, too, which is something I, personally, was never able to achieve staying home.


Blogger QuillDancer said...

Doing what full-fills you and meets your needs is the best thing you can do for your kids. Staying at home with them and being mioserable and unhappy will not meet anyone's needs.

Just because you aren't June Cleaver doesn't mean you're a bad mother. Remember, June Cleaver wasn't June Cleaver, either -- she was a working mother pretending to be the perfect stay at home mom. Personally, I think growing up in Roseanne's house would have been a lot more fun ....

6:51 PM  

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