*Last week I wrote Manic Monday (https://thisisparenthood.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/manic-monday), but I didn’t have my own screen name yet…I have it all figured out now and all future Monday posts will be by me, mch9206 :)*
Sometimes I’m confused about what year it is. No, not the usual, early February “I keep writing 2012 instead of 2013” syndrome that so many of us suffer from. I’m confused about whether I’m living in 1953 or 2013, because I’m a “housewife.”
I could say that I’m not sure how it happened, but that’s not true. I know exactly how it happened. We were approaching the birth of our first child and I had stopped working because I was on “limited bed rest.” My husband – I’ll call him “T” – was finishing up his PhD and we were about to move 3,000 miles so that he could embark on a post-doc position.
It just so happened that we were moving to a city that has one of the highest daycare rates in the nation. In my former life, I was a Special Education teacher, and when I started to do the math for what I would be paying for my infant to go into full-time daycare, I realized that I would never see nearly 80% of my paycheck. You’ve got to be kidding, right? Nope. Totally serious.
So, T and I talked it over and we decided that I would stay home. He couldn’t exactly un-accept his post-doc, and he was really passionate about what he was doing; He liked it so much that he had just spent 5 years completing a PhD. Meanwhile, I found teaching – especially Special Ed – to be quite draining and stressful. It made sense. I didn’t love what I was doing and my take home pay would be nil, so why not stay home?
Fast forward to today. We now have two kids, my husband’s post-doc lead to a job that pays for a comfortable life, and I am still a SAHM. And yet, everyday, it is less and less fulfilling for me. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE my girls, and I know that I am so fortunate to be such an integral part of their young lives. Whenever I even start to complain to anyone, they say, “they’re only this age once,” or “you can never get this time back,” or “you get to experience it all with them,” or “these are memories you will never forget.” Yup, I know. I am so fortunate. I realize that in ten years I will be kicking myself for even having the slightest doubt about whether this was a good decision. Yet, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get over the fact that I live like it’s 1953, and it annoys the crap out of me.
Maybe it’s because I’m an extremely liberal person and so I worry about my two girls growing up with a working father and a SAHM. What kind of message is that sending to them? Or maybe it’s because I don’t get to just experience how awesome my kids are all day long. If I had a maid and a cook and a gardener and a chauffeur then I could spend my days truly relishing in my children. However, I spend huge portions of my day cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, keeping up the maintenance on the house and cars, doing laundry and shuttling the girls back and forth between activities. There really isn’t that much time left over for me to enjoy them. And, on top of that, I feel like my brain is turning into mush. Sure, I have about 100 children’s books memorized but, other than that, I feel exhausted and overwhelmed and under-appreciated and simply strung out most of the time.
And, in order for us to not be living with my parents, T had to take a job that puts us on the opposite coast from every single family member we have. So, if I ever want help or a break, I have to pay someone for it. He works 10-12 hour weekdays, many weekends, and gets to be on call every 6 weeks. Fun.
All of this lead me to the conclusion that I needed to find a part-time job in order to maintain my sanity. I might even have to do a job where I’m LOSING money after I pay for childcare. Yet, I think it will be worth it anyway, in the end. However, I have been job-hunting/applying for about three weeks now and, it turns out, there’s not much out there for someone with a master’s degree who has been out of the work force since 2009. Shocking, I know! So, in the meantime, I keep on living the 1953 lifestyle, one day at a time.
I don’t have a twitter account, but I’m familiar with how it works, and I realize that this entire post could be classified as #firstworldproblems. I try to keep that at the front of my mind.