Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Starting a New Chapter

I have taken a job. A full time, important, grown-up job. I am feeling mostly at peace with the decision, but there are concerns too. It all started when I was having some pain in my side and back. I asked my friend, who is studying massage, to come over and take a look because the chiropractor was closed and I felt like the pain was getting worse. She looked me over and tried a few things, but the most profound thing she told me was that I wasn't breathing well. My breath was shallow and my chest and shoulders were behaving like I was being pressed under a rock or something else heavy. The following day, my husband and I were talking about the enormous financial pressure our family has been living under and I realized that I was suffocating under the weight and it clicked! The weight and pressure of our financial situation was causing a physical reaction in my body. I wasn't breathing like I should be breathing because of the pressure. My husband confided that he was worried about me and about the pace I was going and concerned about how much longer I could sustain without breaking.

I spent a lot of time thinking that night before falling asleep and woke to the phone ringing. My sister calling to chat. I told her about my night of revelation and my wondering if I was being a good mom. Being that I was so tired all the time, I was snappy with the kids and unable to focus on completing tasks around the house or make healthy meals. I would find myself lying on the floor in tears because I was too tired to do anything else. I brought up the possibility of seeing what full time jobs were available and my sister suggested we do some math and figure out what base salary I'd need to make going back to work and paying for childcare and everything worthwhile. Once we had a number in mind, I decided that I'd do some more soul searching and take a look at what jobs might be available.

About 15 minutes later, my sister called back and told me that her company was hiring for a position that she thought I'd qualify for, but the catch was, I needed to apply that day as it was the last day the job posting would be up. I decided to apply and see what happened.

I was contacted for a couple of interviews and HR called to ask me my salary requirements and then they offered me the job...at $5,000 more a year than I'd asked for!!!!! I accepted and start my new job on Monday.

The last few weeks have a been a blur of arranging childcare, getting work clothes, getting new glasses, and preparing for a new routine. I think I'm ready!

The kids have been attending a local pre-school program and both seem to like it, although my son is much more clingy since having started so I knew he is feeling some effects. My girlfriend is going to pick them up from school and keep them until I finish work. Everything seems to have fallen into place and that brings me a lot of peace about the decision, like its the right time for this to be happening.

I am still concerned about my son. He has been going 2 days the last two weeks and will go 3 this week and 4 next week before jumping into all 5 days. If he is clingy and feeling insecure at 2 days, what is 5 going to do to him? I also fear that my husband doesn't fully appreciate what this is going to do to his quality of life. I started working part-time when my daughter was born, so my husband has no sense of what life is like with two full-time working parents. I don't think he has a concept of how much I do at home during the day. He only sees what I am not able to get done - the vacuuming of the floor or mopping the kitchen. He doesn't see the constant cleaning of the kitchen or the constant clutter pick up or the never-ending piles of laundry. I think he thinks that I will continue to be able to handle all that I handle around the house now (because he doesn't think its much) and work a full-time job. I feel like since I will be bringing in the same amount of money he is and working the same hours he is and handling the kids the same amount he is, he should handling an equal amount of housework.

He complains about his lack of free time daily. He doesn't have time to work on house projects (which he didn't work on when he had time, but suddenly now, its an issue). He doesn't have time to eat dinner when he gets home from work, but because its the kids bedtime. He never gets to just relax and watch football or the news. I don't know what he thought parenting and being an adult was going to be like. All I know is that I don't have time to watch TV, work on special projects or even eat sitting down, so I'm not sure what the complaint is really.

Today, I have several errands to run while the kids are at school and my friend is going to run through pick up with me and come over this afternoon to go over the code to get into the house, how to work the remotes and the like. Tomorrow my son won't go to school, so I'll take him to the library as it will be our last day together. Thursday, I'm taking the car for an oil change and Friday is Halloween and there are activities at their school as well as things we will do as a family. Saturday I'm taking my daughter to a princess party and Sunday, my sister and I doing each others nails and we are having a cookout at my dad's. That's it. That will mark the end of my SAHM career (if you can call 4 jobs plus parenting "stay at home mom"). I dreamed of being a mom my whole life, of staying home and giving my kids the best start possible. I waited so long and I blinked and its over. I mean, the full-time mommy thing, not the whole parenting thing. But, the truth is, starting Monday, other people will be with my kids more of their waking hours than I and that's hard for me. it should be me...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

They are Sleeping

I'm sitting in the downstairs guest room of my house. A room that has, over the last few months, turned into my sleeping space. I am awake at 5am, because for me, 5am is sleeping in! I have gotten up before 2:30am the last 3 days for work and now my body won't let me sleep until 7 when the kids normally wake. I have been working on getting items ready for the consignment sale until I ran out of hangers and I need to go shave my legs, but I had a sudden impulse to do a blog post! At least once a day I long for the times when I could put my feelings on my blog and detail my daily life and all the ups and downs, funny and sad things happening on any given day. I want to get back to having blogging time, but I don't have any idea if/when that will happen.

I work almost every moment that I am awake and I am awake A LOT! I bake cupcakes in the early mornings for a local cupcake shop, then I race home to do the stay-at-home mom thing - running the kids to school and activities, cleaning, laundry, make beds, scrub toilets, wipe runny noses, pack lunches, empty the dishwasher, make the menus, cook the meals, grocery shop, balance the checkbook and pay the bills, fill the cars with gas and so on and on and on... When my husband gets home from work, we tuck the kids in bed and if all goes according to plan, have about 20-30 minutes to talk and spend time together before I pass out in an attempt to get 4-6 hours of sleep before doing it all over again tomorrow.

The weekends that used to be relaxed have filled up to include a cleaning job, cooking meals and batches of granola for sale and working my network marketing business. I actually love all my jobs! I get paid to bake cupcakes for goodness sake!! The lady I clean for is super nice and funny and I love chatting with her while I clean her little apartment. Baking and cooking is one of my joys, so I love making warm, crispy batches of granola, comforting soups and fun pasta dishes for my cooking clients. I think that several of the supplements that my network marketing company sells are amazing and I love that everything is all natural, non-GMO and organically grown! The problem is, that even combined, all these jobs aren't enough to pay all the bills! Everything keeps costing more and the money doesn't increase at the same rate.

While I know that God provides and we have always been taken care of, never paid a mortgage payment late or been seriously hungry, I spend a lot of time and energy worrying about our finances. I have to keep on top of everything on a daily basis to make sure we don't bounce anything (and often we bounce anyway). I feel like I am suffocating under the weight of our finances and I don't know what to do to release the pressure. My husband has made it clear that his solution is that I find a full time job, using my masters degree, and start making 6 figures straight out of the gate. Problem with this plan is that it isn't realistic! I have been looking for jobs, and there really isn't anything that starts out making bank!! I'd have to get my foot in the door somewhere, making $15.00 an hour and pay some dues before moving up and making more money. The issue is, that we can't afford full time day care for both kids, while I pay these dues. Once our son is old enough for school and our daughter is in school, I will be able to accept a job making a smaller starting salary and the money I make will actually help our financial situation instead of adding to the problems. I'd need to start out making $32,000 a year just to pay for day care and a few work associated bills (more gas for my car, more doctor bills, etc.) and I'd need to start out making more than that if it were to help AT ALL to pull us out of this current strain!

If a great job came up, something that was the same hours my daughter was in school and paid enough that I could afford to send my son to that school for those same hours, I'd jump on it so fast!! But, if that job is out there, its not listed in the paper or in the online searches I've been checking! While I know that my husband would hate it if he knew that I felt like I could not talk to him about all this, he has effectively made me feel like this is my problem to solve - because I'm the one not bringing in half the money needed to support us. I feel like I am giving all I can give. I handle 95% of the kids, 100% of the house, 100% of the bills, errands, and so on, plus I'm bringing in about 30% of our money! I want him to go out and find a 6 figure job! I want him to work a part time job! I want him to feel the deep exhaustion that comes with being sleep deprived for the last 5 years!!!!

He also seems to feel like all the world's problems will be solved as soon as our son weans from nursing. We made this mistake with our daughter and it took over a year to get her sleep issues sorted out and I refuse to make that same mistake again. I am not sure how he can have forgotten all the hours spent trying to get her to sleep without the aid of nursing, all the night waking and staying in her bed issues. She weaned at 2 and now at 4, has just recently, in the last 6 months or so, started going to bed and staying there all night!!! Add to that, our son is my last baby and I really don't want to rush him out of babyhood! If there was a good reason to wean, I'd do it! If all the world's problems would really be solved, I'd do it! But since I know that its all bullshit, I refuse and its causing issues between my husband and I.

I love my husband and I know he loves me, but I feel resentment toward him, because I don't feel like he takes some of my burden or helps me to relax into him. He doesn't make me feel secure, like he will take care of me. Lord knows I don't make taking care of me easy, I am very much into control and I wouldn't be able to handle letting him manage the money for instance. But, I control all the balls in the air all the time and I wish that I was able to let it all go, put the balls in his hands and trust that he has my back. I don't feel like he has my back. I feel like we are in competition somehow and I don't know what to do about it.

In the last few months, I have started relying on him more. My work schedules have required him to be in charge of the kids while I am away and he has stepped up nicely! I started sleeping in the guest room for two reasons, first: I wasn't sleeping well, because our son still wakes some at night and I was waking every time he moved or tossed or turned. Plus, he wants to stay latched on all night and I can't sleep through that. The other reason was that I was waking him with my alarm at 2-3am when I got up for work and he wouldn't go back to sleep/let me leave. So, I've been getting better/more sleep as of late, but it isn't enough and isn't making up for the deep deffest. I need deep, long sleep every night for about a year to get caught up!!

It does feel more like we are working as a team here lately. He's got the kids when I don't and he isn't complaining about it. We have a long way to go if we want to be truly equals in this marriage/raising kids/life thing, but we are working on it. I think that he may be getting an idea of how hard it is to be home with the kids. He hasn't complained about the house in a while, so maybe spending every morning with the kids, trying to get them ready for the day and make breakfast is helping him see that also cleaning the kitchen and making the bed is some days too hard to manage!

The kids are totally amazing. Our daughter has started Pre-School and is handling it like a boss!! She only goes 3 days a week and is upset that she isn't going every day!! She will be starting kindergarten next fall and I am having a hard time getting my head around all that nonsense!! Our son is obsessed with Thomas the Train and can pretty much name all the trains on sight! He is potty trained (trained at 2 years, 1 month) and while he still sleeps in a diaper at night and has the occasional miss, he is doing great! He and I have more time together during the mornings when his sister is at school and I love that!! The two of them are super close and play together really well most of the time. She comforts him when he is sad or mad at me for being a mean mommy. He follows where she leads, even to the top of the slide or climbing up the monkey bars! I love that I am able to watch their every development, kiss every hurt and join in every game.

This life of financial hardship is one I chose and while it is hard to breathe under the weight of it sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for another. I get to spend the majority of their waking hours with my kids and I get to mold them and teach them and be their guide. That really is worth all this money stuff, because they will be in school before I can blink and I'll get that good paying job and all these financial worries will be a thing of the past - along with my babies being babies...