Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The homeless may be onto something

Miss G hurt her wrist and I put an ace wrap around it so she'd be more comfortable at school. Only I wrapped her a bit tight and she went to the school nurse and asked her to rewrap it and the nurse refused, saying she needed a doctor's order. OK, no doubt she is bound by the school district's policies, blah blah blah, but the thing is, Miss G then presented her arm to a random 8th grader who was happy to re-wrap her arm, and did it quite competently, too.

So Jon came home after spending ten days in the mountains above Santa Fe, at an altitude of 7,000 feet. On his first day back, he was up at 06:00 and by 10:30 he had cleaned the gutters, hacked down all the pokeweed in the garden, pruned the large maple tree in the front yard, plus other sundry tasks that I am unaware of since I was still in bed for most of that time.

I have "days off" which are nice, but they are always interrupted by "work" and the specter of "work" consistently ruins all my days off. In other words, my life really sucks right now. After eight months of working full time, I am still not used to it. I realize that it is the normal condition in this country for women and mothers to be in the workplace full-time. Pundits are always telling us how great it is that more and more women are in the workplace. Hurrah! More women than ever are working! This means we are progressive and enlightened! Let's celebrate that fact and talk with enthusiasm about "women in the workforce!"

But let's ignore the thousands of children who dine on pizza rolls, nightly. Let's not talk about mothers inflating their sick kids with Tylenol and sending them to school because there is no one to care for them at home. Let's not talk about workplaces that "allow" six absences from work per year. Let's not talk about parents who are so stressed they look forward to death as a time when they can finally rest. Let's not talk about the fact that Miss G will stay home from her 8th grade graduation since neither Jon nor I can be there or the fact that I had to work (night shift, naturally) on Mad Scientist's 18th birthday, and I'll be working (night shift again!) for Drama Queen's 17th birthday tomorrow. And if my job, which is supposed to be a "profession" wasn't so stressful, maybe I wouldn't mind working so much. I thought a career brings "fulfillment," but every minute of every day at work I am in a state of near-panic from the stress. This is not fulfilling, it's hell.

Oh, but now we have so much money. It's true, I have almost more money than I would know what to do with, if there weren't an Anthropologie in town, but there's no time to enjoy it. We can't even take a family vacation because Jon and I can't get time off at the same time. When I stayed home full-time, I worried about money. I hated scrimping and making-do and stressing about car repairs or traffic tickets, but our lives were so relaxed and carefree in other respects, the money troubles seem trifling now.


  1. Thinking of you today - I left a job (really, a career, but not a lovable one) for being just as you say. It should have been fulfilling, but instead it was work. And it was stress. And it was not my future. I hope there's a way through soon - that's rewarding and let's you go to your kids' special events.

  2. You speak the truth. It is miserable to be working mom trading your time for money, which is never very fulfilling. Life would be better for me if I weren't paying $1600/month for child care and nursery school. Not only do I stess about work, I stress about money and still miss out on my kids. Sorry you are stressing right now. It comes and goes in waves. I hope it gets easier soon.

  3. I am with you on the stress of working. My job is actually written as 16-24 hours a week,but my boss is dragging his feet on hiring another manager, so I'm working 35 hours a week.

    I'm good at work and I'm good at home...but not good at both at the same time. I spend all day on my days off doing housework and errands, or being so tired that I sleep all day.

    I know it's temporary, until my daughter graduates from college.

  4. I love the part about allowing 6 days a year for being sick..I was recently told I need to schedule my sickness better...I go through the same thing daily..Now I am going back to school to try and get it better...I hope it gets better for you..for all of us. This is not what it is supposed to be like..is it?

  5. I'm going to let you validate my stay-at-home-motherness. I hope work gets less stressful. (If that's even possible in your profession.)

  6. Have you considered trying to get a position working just a few shifts a month, perhaps night shifts or weekend shifts to take advantage of the better pay? Nursing is supposed to be flexible like that, but might not be in your city. I certainly sympathize with you, and hope you find a solution soon.

  7. Don't know if this is what you intended, but I now feel much better about our decision for me to continue staying at home when our youngest starts kindergarten this year.

    Though I would like to be able to afford some new windows since we can't even open half of ours. Oh, and fix the broken a/c upstairs. And replace the ancient water heater which is surely waiting for the most inopportune moment to die. Sigh.

  8. We often wax nostalgic on those years when we had little money but made do. (we did a lot more walking and used public transit too). Yet we fear ever going back to that kind of precarious financial state, so we remain on the treadmill. With so much economic uncertainty and technological change it does tend to eat away at one's peace of mind and quality of life. We have this money but when can we spend it. Even more, what if we get downsized and what about retirement savings? I understand that yearning for a simpler life though.