- Working parent guilt is real. And perhaps more potent when you’ve been an effectively non-working parent for the kid’s whole life.
- My kid, as it turns out, is probably an introvert, which is really hard to accommodate when he needs to affordably be in someone else’s care all day, every day.
- I like my job a lot.
- I like making dollars.
- I miss my friends and my life of leisure.
- Anxiety=overthinking=anxiety. And repeat.
The only thing I feel on top of is my new job — and even there, I have a never-ending to-do list. The takeaway: It’s really hard to take on a full-time job while you’re still doing another one. Between college teaching and Hebrew school teaching and freelance writing and PTG-boarding and classroom volunteering and parenting, I had cobbled together a more-than-full-time job (which unfortunately only paid like a very part-time one). And then I added an actual full-time job on top it all that.
The good news is that I love my new full-time job. The tasks I have to complete are varied and interesting and fun and allow me to be creative, which I love. I also have swell co-workers and the environment is very chill. I definitely feel like I hit the jackpot with this one. Unfortunately, I also feel like I hit a brick wall.
I am overdue on a freelance article, my Hebrew school progress reports were due two weeks ago, I haven’t gone grocery shopping in nearly a month, I burst into tears at Little League games, and I haven’t made nearly as much progress on my Candy Crush as I am accustomed. It’s pretty much a shitshow.
Plus, I’m sick. The Who, busted on lack of sleep and a different playdate at a different house each day for a month, caught a cold a couple of weeks ago and because he thinks it’s funny to lick his lips before he kisses me (gross) I got it, too. Of course, because the stakes are higher for me and the universe is a bitch, I got it much worse than he did. It’s going into the second week now and I’m still regularly peeing my pants with every cough. (Another thing for which I have The Who to thank.)
I am really looking forward to this long weekend and one whole day off by myself on Tuesday (mostly — I did volunteer to babysit for a friend’s kid — a deposit to the village from which I have been making many withdrawals). I’m going to use the time to recuperate more fully and tie up loose ends and maybe make a grocery list and a meal plan so that I can pull this train back on the track before it derails entirely.
Job redux: two weeks in.
I never knew how good for me working could be. I mean, I have had full-time jobs before, but they have never made me feel this way. They always felt like just the thing I was doing until my next thing, which, in effect, they were. With the exception of my first job out of college, teaching kindergarten, every other job was a placeholder. Either one I wasn’t good at (ahem-Explore/homeschool aide-ahem) or just one to pay the bills (ahem-Cahners/CellOne-ahem). Aside from teaching six classes a semester across three different institutions, I have never worked at a job that felt like it might be a career — and even then.
Is this new job a career? I don’t know that I’d say that. Not in this current position anyway. Do I think I will be an admin forever? I hope not. But the field feels right. The work feels right. The parts about working for a non-profit, working for children and families, working with digital design — none of that feels like a placeholder. And that has made a huge difference.
I feel respected and appreciated in a way I haven’t felt since…ever? I don’t know that I’ve ever had a job where I felt like my employers believed I was just the person for the job and were so glad to have me. My jobs have all been of the dime-a-dozen ilk. A million replaceable customer service reps. A million replaceable adjuncts. That’s not to say that I’m irreplaceable in this job; everyone’s replaceable. But just that I’m not disposable. That’s how I have always felt at work — entirely disposable. And having spent the last 15 years feeling disposable, it’s no wonder that now that I don’t, I’m happier, calmer, kinder, and more peaceful. Of course, the tripled paycheck doesn’t hurt either.
Just two weeks in. Still in the honeymoon phase, maybe. But also, maybe it will keep being a honeymoon. Or maybe not. Either way, now I know how it can be and I feel like I won’t settle for anything less again.
Here are ten things I learned today, in no particular order:
- In case I ever thought it was just coincidental before, I now know for certain that standing in bright sunshine and high heat for a while will lead to a panic attack.
- Some people who smoke are very indignant about it, even when there are kids around.
- People will stand in line for a long time to do very little.
- Kids are often more logical than adults.
- I will pay $6 for a lukewarm bottle of Gatorade if it’s hot enough and I am thirsty enough.
- The NFL’s viewership must really be suffering if they’re willing to do all this for the draft.
- It pays to be a Patriots fan in Eagle-town at an event like this. Shorter lines for photo ops.
- Sweatbands are a good giveaway idea.
- The new ice cream store on our street is super.
- Video games in air conditioned basements is the perfect end to this day.
I have only ever been a stay-at-home mom. This is not to say that I haven’t worked, because in fact, I have worked consistently since 6 weeks after The Who was born. But it has never interfered with the stay-at-homeness of my momming.
Until now. I’ve wanted this. I’ve been thinking about getting out of the adjuncting game for years and only finally just pulled the trigger on it when the exact right full-time job came down the pike. And now, with my start date simultaneously approaching and looming, I am starting to get sad about all the things I’ll be missing. Even the things I complain about — like the morning routine of getting him dressed and out the door. My face won’t be the last thing he sees before he runs down the sidewalk into school. My “I love you” will be faint in his head from hours earlier. And when other parents show up midday for classroom volunteering, it’ll never be me.
When he comes out after school, sweaty from an afternoon PE class, shucking off his backpack and asking to play on the playground, it won’t be me who is greeting him. In fact, he won’t even be coming out to the playground most days. He’ll be riding a bus to a friend’s or being greeted by someone else’s parent.
I am grateful for the help of my village. I think that’s important to say. That I recognize that in my absence, he will be sent off to school by his other mom, he will be picked up by good friends of mine who also love him. It’s the best possible scenario, so I recognize how lucky I am (and he is) to have that. But it won’t be me. And I will miss it. I will miss him.
Like butter and grits,
Like kibbles and bits,
Like yin and yang,
Sturm and Drang,
Like Eng and Chang, attached at the hip
But not an old lady hip that might break
I’m gonna be on you like a fat kid on cake!
Like Cupid and Psyche, like pop rocks and Mikey,
we’ll stick together like that Velcro stuff, I’m the fuzzy side; you’ll be the spiky.
Ooh! Like little kids and pajamas with those funny things at the bottom, you know, feeties.
Like donuts and’ oh, what goes with donuts’
Donuts and diabetes!
Is out tonight
You remind me of that moon
Because it’s big and bright
And by big I don’t mean chubby
Obviously you’re not fat
But your personality is biggish
Is what I meant by that
Sorry ’bout that fat thing,
I’m on the hefty side myself
I have to blame the gene pool
Love me as I look
Standing here in all my glory
I am sweetness
I am bratty
I’m a princess
I’m a fatty
I’m a mess of contradictions in a dress
- I can blog, but I can’t write. I tell my students to just write and not get caught up in how it’s supposed to sound. And yet, I am mired in the notion that writing has to have a certain diction from the gate. I do not — nor have I ever — given myself the excellent advice that I have for others.
- I am prepared to take on the pasta machine for a third time. This time, it is a major part of my only dinner plan, so I must feel more confident than the last two times. I am determined to make this purchase worthwhile. I plan to keep at it until it’s perfected. The first time, too gummy. The second, too sticky. Third time’s a charm?
- I have seen more turds fall from that giraffe’s backside than I have ever wished to see. Really, one would be more than I ever wished for. It’s been way more than one. I actually got a text from a similarly obsessed friend last night in the middle of my feminist/racial justice book club: “Her tail is way up and she keeps banging her head into her side.” This is what it’s come to.
- Mid-March snowstorms can kiss my ass. I no longer have any use for winter. I understand why my people move south when they reach a certain age.
- Speaking of age, less than a month until 43. For reals middle age. If I had enough money, I’d go get myself a fancy Jaguar. (Except not really. Maybe just some fancy jewelry.)
- Sunday, we rally. Because — to quote my nephew — This right here? This is crap.