Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Whine tasting

So, I spent all summer thinking that I could not wait for the fall when I'd have a schedule and these buckets of unmarked time would be used up. I thought I'd want to kick the time buckets because all the the kids and I did all summer was bitch at each other and swim and destroy the house (them) and clean it up again (me).

But now I have a schedule and lots and lots and lots of things to do besides clean the house, and I am already dreaming of winter break.

While I cannot WAIT until tomorrow night because it is the season finale of Big Brother, I am not one to wish my life away. Instead of pining for break, I need to live in this busy fall moment, but what am I doing? Am I working on my book? No. I am seriously contemplating SAH full time.

Because Jack cried at pick up last night at school when his friends went home and he went to another classroom for after-school care.

Because he cried again this morning at drop off, and I almost said screw it and scooped him up and went home. Instead, I hid behind a glass brick wall (note: kind of a shitty hiding place) and watching him walk to the playground holding his teacher's hand and crying, "Mooooooommy." He even looked at my car in the parking lot when he wen out the door.

The thing is? Even if today were an at home day for me, I would have made him stay at school because, ultimately, I know that he'll stop crying right away and have a fun day (I drove by the playground on my way to work, and he was happily chucking sand on a little girl). So why do I feel bad for going to work?

Where is this guilt coming from? I stay home 2 full work days a week. What's my problem? I love my job. I am proud of my degree. I often lose my patience when I home with the boys all day. Why am I incapable of living in this busy moment?

Sorry to be such a whining whiner. I'm just in a funk. Unsure of life choices I thought I was sure about. Happy to have the luxury of choice but kind of wishing my mind could be made up by external circumstance.

Hey-- I am writing a book-- something I have been doing for awhile now, but only recently have I been able to actually say that without feeling like an asshole. So. Progress?


  1. Do you think you would have felt differently if he'd left you happy and enthusiastic about school? I always have trouble when they cry and feel really good about everything when they have good days.

    It was really, really hard to be home full time during August. I know having them in preschool part time makes them AND me happier and the whole house is much more peaceful.

    I'm suddenly having angst about leaving my tiny one with a sitter a few hours a week in the spring and I thought that would be no problem! After all, Charlie started day care at 11 weeks and he did great.

  2. I think it is a struggle either way. It was nice yesterday to go to an appointment without the kids, but I wondered how they were and what they were doing. I like being able to work at home, but I miss the social interaction with peers (now that I have two kids, it is harder to take them with me to work).

    And I think it is human nature to yearn for tomorrow when there is already enough to worry about today.
    "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34. So, it isn't a new issue, and I think it is one we all struggle through. I keep thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas when my husband will be home more, but I have to remember to cherish the moments now too.

  3. It's a "grass is always greener" dilemma. We all have it. I truly believe the best situation has to be two or three days at work and two or three at home with kids. Best of both worlds.

    Of course he'll be fine five seconds after you leave. My Jack was hysterical the first day of school this year and I stay home. It will get better.

    And writing a book makes you an asshole? Then we're going to be assholes together! Hooray! Seriously, congrats on the book thing. You will rock the house.

  4. A scholarly book about Planned Parenthood rhetoric, Amy. Not totally a bestseller. I have an inferiority complex about my scholarship and have been so reluctant to call it my book.

  5. I need to get on the asshole-train and write a freaking book, too. Sigh.

    Sarah, I think it's so tough no matter what choices you make; the grass is going to be greener either way. I am eyeball deep in "I am qualified to do nothing now and my child has no idea that at one time I totally used my brain to do important and intellectual things" angst. My entire career in education takes about 5 minutes to talk about at cocktail parties and it gets farther away in the rearview all. the. time. But at the same time, I don't want to give up this time with Ethan and I'm grateful I have the opportunity to stay at home w/ him. But at 6pm some afternoons? Not so much.

    I think when schedules change so dramatically like yours just did--and kids are starting school and reacting to that, and you're becoming comfortable with the idea of "I'm writing a book" and reacting to that--its bound to be overwhelming and you're going to question everything. I'm guessing in a few weeks, you'll feel more comfortable with everything.

    Sorry you're having a tough time right now, though.

  6. There are days that I wish I could stay at home, as well. But that lasts for about 15 minutes-before I'm pulling my hair out. I like going to work; but there are some days that I wish I could stay home more. It's the curse of every mom-working or stay at home. I agree with Amy-it's "grass is greener" philosophy.
    But Jack is fine-and he won't remember crying. He'll only remember having fun at school. That's the important thing.

  7. I think about this all the time as I'm trying to plan for what happens after the baby's born. I'm not teaching in the spring, but... then what? Do I teach part time in the fall and find a day care that makes it affordable (difficult since adjuncting doesn't pay well). Do I take the full time, non-TT gig I've been offered because it's a salary (!) and benefits? But also a full work week at a school I'm not loving? Do I stay at home for a while--a year? Two? And if I do that, will I ever be able to jump back into academia? Is there something terrible (or sort of embarrassing?) about getting a PhD and then taking time off to stay home? I know just what you mean about having the luxury of choices but still be uncertain about making the right ones. Still, Jack didn't cry for long and you got to wear grown-up clothes, so it seems like a pretty good deal.

    Oh--and I want to hear more about this book.

  8. Why do we--the mother academics--let all of this guilt pull us down? It's continually amazing to me, even as I struggle with it every day. My little dude is 6 months old, and I got to stay home with him for ALMOST FIVE MONTHS because of my awesome academic schedule. I realize that's a luxury. But man, I was so excited to get back to campus, back to my "real life" and my friends, back to my work, back to reality.

    Except my reality has a new, wonderful kink in it--the little man. When I leave him each morning, I keep thinking that I could actually be doing this work at home, or that he could come with me. Both of which are completely asinine arguments. But I feel it anyway.

    You're not alone. I'm glad I'm not either! Thanks for the words.