A couple of years ago, shortly after I got pregnant with Alex and was subsequently puking my balls off (making my commute dangerous), Dave and I made an executive decision: I would stay home with our kid (s). It was helped along by the fact that although I was working in the least nursing related field in nursing–insurance/hospice management–and was still miserable. It seemed that no matter how I tried to parcel it into nice and cutely wrapped packages, I was bound to hate being a nurse.
Which made me a beast to live with.
Dave, on the other hand had and still has a job that he loves. Mostly. It’s in finance, which means that the hours are insane and the stress is high, but for those who love it, they LOVE it. Like they might marry their jobs would that not be creepy. Or maybe he already has and I wasn’t invited to the wedding.
Either way, it’s the arrangement that makes the most sense to us all.
But it doesn’t always mean that we have to like it this way.
Here’s where I’m going to start pissing people off. Forewarned is forearmed after all.
(Complete side note: why is it that when a blogger dares to express a personal sentiment, they get shit on? It seems like every time I post something wherein I whine like a bitch, people jump down my throat. It happens to all of us, but I still don’t get it. Anyone care to explain why it needs to be rubbed in my face that I appear to not always be grateful for everything?)
I’m a reluctant parent. No, no, I don’t mean that I didn’t want to be a parent, that’s not true in the slightest. Parenthood is just something that sort of fell into my lap, a choice made when I impossibly got pregnant at age 20, and it’s not one I regret. But it is one that came with many personal sacrifices.
I gave up my dreams to pursue a career in medicine, whether it would have happened or not is irrelevant, the point is that I had to make a conscious choice to choose something more practical. Unfortunately, the more practical option: nursing, made me miserable. It’s not a field one can just grin and bear it in, not at potential litigious expense, and not at the expense of my health (I have permanent knee damage from lifting a morbidly obese bed-ridden patient), physical or mental.
I stuck it out because that’s what responsible people do, and I did it so that I could sufficiently support my son on my own. I wasn’t going to (much to my disappointment) become a trophy wife, and I always wanted to know that no matter what, I’d be able to support myself and my family. Alone.
The plan, as Daver and I hatched it, was that I would go back to school after my kids were in school, to pursue my true passion: basket weaving virology. I’d done the Parenting While In School gig and it was really more than I could handle, so I opted not to do that again. Instead, I’d have a couple more crotch parasites, spend some time with them as a mother, not just as a figure rushing in and out of their lives on her way to class.
Which is precisely what I’ve done. And I’ve done it by choice. Complete choice and absolutely by my own design. And I’m perfectly aware that I’m all kinds of fortunate for being able to make this decision as a choice, not out of necessity.
But just because it is a) the most logical choice, b) my OWN choice and c) working out the best for all of us doesn’t mean that I have to always like it.
Or does it?
I’ve been knocked down now and again for daring to be anything less than 100% thrilled by the fact that my sole job, my only real responsibility, is to keep my children healthy, happy, and safe. Well, that and care for all the animals we’ve amassed, make sure the house runs smoothly, cook (stop laughing, you in the peanut gallery), clean, and otherwise sit around on my ass blogging.
Unfortunately, and what the people who have been angry with me for complaining about do not know, is that it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for personal satisfaction anywhere in there. Sure, I can (and often do) manage to blog during the day most days, and that is something I take some pride in, but I don’t have much else in the way of Other Interests.
Daver and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago, and he asked me if I really had any other hobbies I’d wanted to pursue. Once I stopped laughing (because, hello, stamp collecting? SO not my thing), I looked at him seriously and reminded him that no, of course I do not, because what would be the point? I’d get interrupted so frequently that I’d be more annoyed than anything else if I even tried doing something I couldn’t just put down when someone else demanded to be picked up.
It sounds more pathetic than it is, I swear.
But the question remains and it bothers me to no end: am I really supposed to love my “job” every single day of my life?
I know that my working friends–be they parents or not–don’t love their jobs every day. They have crappy bosses, crappy benefits, shitty hours, annoying coworkers, and work that they don’t always want to do. And I’d never feel the need to criticize when they complain about that.
But if I have a bad day, even without it being a truly BAD day (read: emergency room visit), I feel as though I had best keep it to myself. So what I’m sick with whatever the kid has? At least you’re home and not in the office. So what if you just want to take a poo by yourself? At least you’re at home and not in the office. So what if you’re biggest accomplishment is getting through the whole day without wanting to murder someone? At least you’re home.
I’m not picking on my working friends, especially those with kids. I’ve been in the situation where I was a working mother, too, and I know that you’re merely trading one set of problems for another. I know just how much it hurts to leave your child day in and day out in the care of someone else. I know how much you cry when you miss out on some important milestone.
I guess that I just don’t know how to rectify the feelings within myself (and truth be told, others too) that I can’t possibly have anything to complain about now that I stay at home with my kids. It’s not like I want a bronzed statue of myself put into the downtown area as World’s Greatest Martyr, but I could stand to feel as though I have a right to not have not-so-rosy feelings.
Or maybe it IS just me.