Just My Coffee and I

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7am, Saturday morning, and I’ve migrated out to the couch with my laptop and coffee.  My daughter accidentally woke me up at 5:45, and of course, because that’s almost a whole hour after when I normally wake up for work, I can’t fall back asleep.  I gave up trying honestly, and decided some “me time” was in order.  I banished the short one back to her room with a book, and the boyfriend is still asleep since he’s working nights for 2 weeks, so what better time than now?

I am simply exhausted lately, and it doesn’t seem like sleep is helping.  Work has been the root cause lately to be quite honest, and it’s been coming for a long time.  Our shop had some issues when we changed how we run the office last year, and they finally just snowballed into one big giant headache.  Then you know, Murphy’s Law, and everything went wrong at once.  I went in last weekend to meet with some co-workers, a plan was made, enacted, and fingers have been crossed.  However, like any good plan, it takes a little time to implement, so this week was crazy as well.

Lets just say, working for hours (<- not an exaggeration) at home for a few weeks, and then combined with working late, through lunch, yada yada yada, I hit burn out status this week.  Finally.  I thought I had hit it a few times before, but nope, I was wrong.  I hit it this week.  Full on depression, tears, anger, lack of appetite, and all of that fun stuff.  There were a couple moments this week where I started to question if I really wanted to stay there.  If I really wanted to stay in this field for my career.  Hell, there were a couple of moments this week, where I thought about how nice it would feel to just walk off, to go home and hang out with my kid when she got out of school.  To be real here, I really did think about it.

Thankfully, I already knew I was burnt out.  I knew it, I had known it was coming for a long time, so when I freaked out and had to go smoke a cigarette outside I was able to chill myself out.  I did want to leave, to go home and quit, but I also knew that things were getting better, that I do love my job and would really regret leaving.  Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, so even though this week was quite frankly, HELL, I know it’s going to get better.  One benefit I have over the other girls, which my GM has over me, is that I’ve been around for a couple of years.  I’ve been through good and “meh” times, I know that we can run smoothly, and that this nonsense with the shop isn’t forever.  It’s been a hard time lately, (weeks? months?), but I *do* love my job, and I know how good it can be.  So I pulled my 12 hour days and dealt with it.

Which brings me full circle here, back to “me time”.

With work being so hectic, despite the light at the end of the tunnel, I have been working a lot.  Then add in, parenting, which since I’ve been working so much, I devote all the remaining waking hours, minutes and seconds to my daughter, and then once she’s asleep, I try to have one and one time with the boyfriend (which still is lacking) before I go and pass out.  Now read all of that, and let me know if you see “me time” in there at all?  Nope?  Me neither.  Lacking that, turns me into a very cranky person to be around.

It’s hard learning to balance work, home and yourself, and it’s nearly impossible lately for me.  I bust ass at work, and since things aren’t going right, that leaves me feeling inadequate.  Then I come home and try and spend as much time as I can with the short kid, but as you all know, as a used to be stay at home mom, I already have feelings of inadequacy pertaining to my parenting.  I spend so much time working, where as my original plan (pre-divorce and scumbag ex husband) was to be a stay at home mom, I already feel like crap for being a working-mother. (Although I know there is a ton of pride to be carried for working AND being a mother.) Then, I have a boyfriend to attend to, we don’t go out a whole lot anymore (by choice) but with the work I have to do from home… welp, at least we like the same sci-fi tv shows.  Oy.  So I already feel sucky on all three fronts, and deem it almost “not-deserved” to spend time for and on myself.

So driving home from work on Thursday I had a melt down.  I had had such a horrible day, after many other horrible days in the office, and I had just said fuck it.  I didn’t want to stay late, I didn’t want to do anything, I wanted to go pick up my short kid, and go home.  I lost my shit.  I drove the back way home, with some gnarly metal blaring, and let myself loose.  I yelled, I cried, I yelled some more.  By the time, I got in walking distance of daycare I calmed down.  It had popped in my head that all of this stress is temporary, but I had forgotten that, and more importantly I had forgotten myself.

I came up with a plan.  I decided to pick up my kid and bring her back to the office, I had some paperwork to do, and could most definitely do it with her there.  She loves it there, so it’s not a huge thing.  I wanted to go back and finish up, I would bust my ass to get through the last two days of the week, and then the weekend would be mine.  So I muddled through, and Friday was much better.  I still had to do the bring the kid to work after hours thing, but with the GM buying pizza, she was occupied and I was able to get the shiznit done.  So once she passed out during the car ride home last night, I finalized my plan, or idea, or whatever you may.

  • I spend a lot of my time out of work with my kiddo, however, a good chunk of that is rushing to get homework/dinner/bath/chores/etc done.  So I’m going to start making it a point to go OUT and spend more one on one time together.  We are going to go out and bum around doing things that not only she likes, but I like too, so it’s not only the daily rush with our time, it’s *more* fun stuff too.  That way, if we have more fun things to look forward to, our week-day monotony won’t feel so negative.
  • When the boyfriend and I are able to spend time together, I’m usually working on work stuff during, or we’re doing every day stuff like grocery shopping, or whatever.  We do have our nerdy sci-fi nights, which (hahah, he totally digs!) is great, but I’m also going to make sure that we go out more, for dinner or whatever, to spend some kid free time with each other.  If we can’t go out, then we’ll do our dorky sci-fi nights or something along those lines.
  • Work is for the work week.  I have enough work on my plate that I can easily work several hours each night from home, as well as on the weekend.  I need to banish work from my home-life.  Now, working from home comes with the salary, so I can’t get rid of it completely, but I’ve already made sure I don’t do work stuff unless Nood is working on homework (we have a portable desk that she sets up next to mine) or she’s in bed.  And then, only for an hour or so.  During the weekend, I’m limiting the time if not banishing it completely.  I have to spend time on the family, and in all reality, after this week, there shouldn’t be much to do on the weekend, so it can wait until Monday. I can’t slack on work, but I can’t let it be more important than everything else.
  • Lastly, I have to have “me time”.  If I have to schedule it into my day, then I will.  I am a full-time employee, a mommy and a girlfriend, and I cannot succeed at all of those if I don’t take care of myself.  My writing suffers, my work suffers, my home and family suffer, and my job suffer if I don’t spend some time with me.  So I’m making sure that I have some alone time with myself (since I’m so AWESOME), whether it be writing and coffee on a Saturday Morning, a night out with the girls on the weekend, or just wandering the mall or something during the week while Noodle is at school.  I’ve put in my vacation time, and two days are scheduled for non-holidays.  One is for Remicade, the other I have another doctor’s appt, but I took the full day off so I can hang out alone while Noodles at school.  Start fresh.  I think it’ll help.  I plan on going to my favorite spot and writing, all by my lonesome.  It’s needed.  Regardless, I need to start taking care of me.

Just having a general idea makes me feel better.  Knowing that I finished all of my work from the week, that I have a whole weekend to start fresh helps.  I have to turn this around, because this burnt out feeling?  Totally not cool, but it’ll change, and next time?  I’ll be a little bit more prepared.

 

Happy weekend!

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Damn Growing Up

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I’m feeling old.

Well kind of.  We all know that I’m pretty much 11 years old mentally.

I still laugh when people say boobs.  Or penis.  Or pretty much any kind of word relating to genetalia.

However, getting my daughter ready for school is kicking my ass back to reality.  She starts 1st grade in 2 weeks… and it’s public school this time so it’s a brand new ball game.  I’ve started school supply shopping and finished taking her to her school physical and dental appointment.  Her bus route is all set to pick up and drop off and “daycare”.  It’s just odd.  Kindergarten didn’t have the same effect on me, she was lucky enough to go to the same school that she went to preschool in, so a lot of this stuff was different.  I guess, just grade school is freaking me out.

She’s excited, and I’m excited for her.  I think she’ll do fine, although I am a bit sad that I won’t be able to wait with her at a bus stop or anything of the sort.  Such is the plight of a working mother.  However, I know all of her teachers at her daycare will see her off.  I’m hoping that she likes her teacher, and thrives.

It’s just like FUCK man!  I know my kid is getting older… I’m well aware, she shot up another 4 inches over the past 6 months.  I think it was looking over the school supply list that did it.  I still remember shopping for school supplies with my mom (in grade school) and my Dad after that.  It occurred to me that, HOLY SHIT, I’m…. I’m…. basically my parents!

It’s surprising the little things that remind me that I’m not 16 anymore.  It’s not paying the (goddamned) mortgage, or my insurance.  Fuck, it’s not even looking over my retirement fund.  It’s not managing my Infusions and doctor’s appointments, nor is it working on the yard.   It’s the school supplies.  It’s the “No you can’t wear my undies on your head… and you most certainly can’t do it to school” moments with my daughter.

Eh.  I feel like…. my mother.  Haha.  Whatever.  Maybe I’ll just give myself a mohawk or something.

Choices

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Everyone is always so surprised at what is inside my head.  Not necessarily my thought process or the majority of opinions, a good chunk of my coworkers and friends have gotten used to my outbursts and off the wall comments.  I guess for a stereotype, liberal, single mother of one, once divorced and with a Chronic Illness, I’m dead on.  Yet one thought, one opinion or rather personal choice (or in this case, want) always throws the ideas that people base me off of right out the fucking window.

You tell me what you see?  I’m 26 years old with a 5 year old.  I’ve already been divorced, and literally the only thing that keeps me out of work besides the kiddo being sick is a straight up hospitalization.  I’ve worked for every scrap I have and bought my own house by the time I was 23 and have done my best to earn enough money to give my child a nice life.  I love work and strive for more mental stimulation.  I started college just because my brain felt… dumb.  I’ve worked in almost every field and eventually I’d like to open my own business or get a higher up management position…..

[Now here’s what throws people off, this has gotten me raised eyebrows since my daughter was born, and was reiterated when I was talking with my co-worker last month.]

… if I have to continue working.

When I was pregnant with Noodle, I sat down with my ex-husband over dinner one night.  He wasn’t paying attention so I threw a packet of crackers at him.

“A mother is supposed to be at home for her children.  I want to stay at home with her.”

Much to my surprise he was more than okay with that.  So I was a Stay at Home Mom until I bought my house and got a job (my marriage was deteriorating and the end was ever so apparently near).  While my brain was dying (hence, starting college), I enjoyed staying at home, teaching my daughter and taking care of my (then) apartment.  I liked having dinner ready for my husband when he got home and having family dinners together avoiding the globs of pureed peas my daughter loved to fling.

It was the way it was supposed to be.

When I started working again, at first it wasn’t too bad.  Noodle spent time at three different friend’s houses, all three of which I trust with my own life.  They all were more like extended family, so it didn’t bother me much, beyond my selfish reasoning.  It hurt to hear about what she had learned to do each day, it bothered me that I wasn’t the one taking her to the park or to a birthday party.  Granted my friends were wonderful enough to take photos so I could still see her antics, but it bothered me.

Then.  Then, I got a full time job during normal hours (I always worked 2nd/3rd shift).  Then I got a second job (the spring before last).  So I entered Noodle in daycare.  This daycare is the same one she’s at now, she went to preschool there and now Kindergarten.  She’s thriving and each day it’s more apparent that I have a very intelligent, vibrant little girl.  However, now that I’m back to working full time during the day, I don’t get to spend that much time with her.  A mere 45 minutes in the morning, and 2.5 hours at night (I’m a strict bedtime mom, we get up too early to do otherwise).  Monday through Friday.  I spend more time with my co-workers than my kiddo, and she spends more time with her teachers (whom I love) than me.  Such is the life of a working mother.

Do I believe that working mothers are horrible?  Oh far from it, especially single mothers.  It takes a strong woman to be able to balance work and home life and survive both equally.  I don’t look down on career women or moms that choose to work for whatever reason.  My point is, I just wish I didn’t have too.

I was raised with a stay at home mom, when we became school age, she got a job during the time we were at school. (OH MY GOD, my mother worked AT MY SCHOOL.  Talk about getting double the punishment, her desk was right outside the principals office… had to walk right past her if I got in trouble.) Then she’d come home afterwards and spend time with us.  So naturally that’s what I grew up basing life on.  So when I started my own family, that’s how I wanted to run my family.  Things just didn’t work out that way.

Ryan and I have talked about it, especially after he saw the “change” in me when I took the 5 day vacation and stayed at home.  If I had my way, I’d stay at home and work part time (because frankly, my brain is not wired to stay at home permanently).  I’d work my old hours and be home when my kid was, so not only could I take care of her but so I could take care of my house and cook (better).  That’s what I enjoy doing, frankly I could give a crap less about a career that I’ll spend time at for the rest of my life.  We’ve decided if Ryan can get a job making a substantial amount more than me, and we are sure that it’s secure that I would drop down to part time, or find a part time job. (The chances of that happening in THIS economy is slim to none, so I’m doing what I do best and trying to excel and hopefully someday move up in my current job.)

That’s what throws people off.  Especially people that don’t know that I was already “At Home”.  I think my whole “stance on feminist ideals” doesn’t help either.  What people fail to realize though, feminism isn’t about forcing women into a career or whatever.  It’s about giving women a CHOICE.  A choice to stay at home, a choice to have a career (and be paid fair for her work).  My choice (or want, like I stated earlier) is to stay at home and take care of my house and family.  That’s what’s right for my family, and if I can, I will.  (But again, Economy, so hello career haha).  I guess I’ll just deal with the raised eyebrows, I like catching people off guard anyway.  It makes life that much more fun.

 

Traditional to boot… or with boots. Combat Boots?

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So I have a designated hour to myself this morning.  I am curled up in bed with my coffee before I start my to-do list.  Noodle is home from school today even (annoyingly so) she is acting normal.  So I got up, dropped the boyfriend off at work and got home a little while ago after running a quick errand.  I do have to say, in this bit of time I have to think, I am a bit nostalgic.

Last night I reverted directly into my old stay-at-home-mom role.  As I was fixing dinner, (at a normal time for a change) I started planning my to-do list for today.  Breakfast, laundry, bedding, shampoo the carpet, clean out the car, coffee and if Noodle’s throat keeps on not-hurting a trip to the pond at the forest preserve so she can run off the med induced hyper-mania.  Planned dinner for tonight, even though the boyfriend will be back late after his class.

With out even thinking.

When it comes to the ideal life, I am extremely traditional (hey feminists, I can kick your ass even if I am barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen…. remember… we fought for the right to CHOOSE our lifestyle).  I believe the best place for me is at home.  When I was a stay at home mom/wife, I found a huge amount of pride in keeping my home beautiful, having food on the table just in time for my husband to come home, and spending time with my child.  I loved the domestic aspect.  In my home, if I had it my way in the future, I’d be able to be home to cook dinner at a reasonable time, yet still have time to play with my kid, help with homework and maintain the house.  I feel like housework and (most of) cooking is the woman’s job.  The man?  Yardwork (except for gardening, that’s mine too.) trash, maintenance jobs, drains (yuck), and car repair.  Traditional.  That’s how I am most comfortable.  I like to take care of my child and my man full time.

That being said, my mind is not made for staying at home 24/7 (hence why I went to college).  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stay at home like that again. Again, if I had it my way in the future, I’d work part time and then come back to the home front.

Ahhhh, how I wish things could be.  Unfortunately I’m a single parent.  I’m doomed to a life of full time work, seeing my co-workers more than my child, losing out on homework time, and shoving a weeks worth of housework into the evening hours or weekends. So I guess in the mean time, I’ll just thrive for the weekends, and the long summer days where I can be outside with my kid more.  Hah.

*** Alright, just because someone will get irritated by this post I am reiterating.  This is how I want MY life to be.  How I feel MY family should run.  How I want to run MY house.  My views.  Not yours.  Pertaining to ME, MY family and MY house.  Not yours.  So un-bunch your panties.