Friday, August 22, 2008

Struggling- Ramblings of "Working" Mom

First, the good.
Casey love, love, loves kindergarten. He asks to do homework each night (even though no actual homework has been sent home, I've managed to make up a couple assignments). He learned how to spell the color red (thanks to a song he learned at school-- and now Marcie can spell it, too). He is also studying numbers and shapes, and he has made one new friend-- whose name he can't seem to remember, but it's a girl. And he told me last night that he knows two Spencers now- spencer that's a train (from Thomas) and Spencer in his class. I managed to get him to ESS, Marcie to preschool and still arrive at work by 8:00 a.m. twice this week. So we're making progress.

Marcie, too, has had a good week. Because we've shifted drop off time to about an hour earlier (and pick up time is now an hour and a half to two hours earlier) to accommodate the kindergarten schedule (Jason's going into work about an hour to an hour and a half earlier than he had been), Marcie's been getting all sorts of special attention. She pretends to be mad at me so that the teacher there in the morning will hold her and carry her. She doesn't cry. She even gives me a sort of eye-nod/head roll as I leave. And she's a super smarty pants. She is a sponge. And she is a chatterbox. I sometimes forget she's only 2 1/2.

Even Jason had some good fortune this week. His iphone jammed up. And you can't buy insurance for the iphone. But it turned out it was still under warranty. He brought it in to the Apple store yesterday and presto change-o-- replacement iphone. To his credit, he's been waking up insanely early and handling the kids at the end of a long day. He's been making dinner, bathing the kids-- really, it's like I'm still in law school, but I'm not.

And that takes us to me. This week has been . . . for lack of a better word, hard. I am swamped at work. (In fact, I'll work through this weekend and keep my fingers crossed that I'll stay on top of things, then probably run out of work halfway through next week-- it's so crazy how legal work ebbs and flows and blows up all at once.) And my absence from home has been exacerbated by our change in routine. Not because I can't handle a change in routine (I mean, I like routine as much as the next guy, but I can be flexible, too). But I think because of the reason for the routine.

I wrote earlier that I didn't cry when Casey went off to kindergarten. And that's true. I was able to swallow down the tears. But then I started thinking about where I thought my life would be when my oldest child entered kindergarten-- and this was not the future I imagined. I imagined, instead, a world where I would be able to volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis. Where I would be there to greet Casey as he exited his campus-- and I would be there to chauffeur him to music or faith formation or soccer or whatever. I envisioned participating in PTA and getting regular exercise. I envisioned lounging in front of the TV, or with a book, for an hour or so each night after the kids went to bed.

Of course those were ridiculous. Not because they're bad or wrong images, but they just don't fit me. Even if were still teaching, I could never have taken off time to volunteer in the classroom. And even if I worked part time, teaching was definitely not the kind of job that you left at the work place. And I wouldn't have wanted to not work. I mean, that's just absolutely not my personality.

But I thought it would get better. This feeling of constantly wishing I were wherever I am not. Because when I'm not with my kids, even though I know how well cared for they are, I wish I was. I wonder what I'm missing out on. I feel disconnected. And when I'm with my kids, I feel antsy and underchallenged. I can't stand the incessant whining and constant bickering. I don't like to cook and to clean. It's just not interesting to me. So what does this all mean? I don't know. But I thought that it would go away with time, and it just gets harder.

And so this week has been hard. I've felt proud of Casey and of how prepared he was to start kindergarten. I've felt anxious for him to make new friends and for Marcie to forge her own place on the preschool playground. I've felt overwhelmed by the body of work I have to complete on the job. I've felt sad that I may miss out on some of the very parenting things I didn't even realize I was looking forward to. I'm all over the place. And I know it's because our lives have changed, however slightly.

Apparently I like routine more than I willingly admit.


Kay Bratt said...


I just happened upon your blog and let me say, I can sympathize with your feelings. I crave to be home for my daughter when she gets out of school-- but yet I always feel the need to meet a challenge head on. I work full time in Human Resources, am busy with the publishing adventure of my book, support non-profits for China, am active in church and try to take care of my family! Wow-- women are able to juggle so much-- but I wish for a time when it could all slow down.

Your family is beautiful, and you seem like a wonderful, successful lady.


ATRM said...

i know your feelings of longing. all the things i know i miss that i can't get back.

and how you handle it all so gracefully!!! i envy you!

alison from dallas.