Friday, December 5, 2008

She Works Hard for the Money

I love the fact that I work 2 or 3 days a week and get to stay home with Kaylee the other days, but on days when I go to work, I often feel discombobulated.

Take tonight, for instance. I go to work, work all day, get off at 4:30, pick Kaylee up at 4:45, go to the store, pick up dinner, and get home at about 6. Play with baby, eat dinner, put baby to bed. Hubby is in bed. Laundry from yesterday is still in the washer and dryer. Dishes are piling up in the sink (HATE that...), and I'm just trying to unwind and not having much luck with it. And I feel too lazy to do the laundry or the dishes. I am out of motivation and out of energy.

Tonight is also the first night I'm "on call" for work. I'm actually training with another social worker to be on call in the Emergency Department. They say you don't sleep well at all the week you're on call, and now I know what they mean. I'm just sitting here wondering if I'll get paged, and I'm contemplating how pissed I'll be if I get paged approximately 4 minutes after I fall asleep. Seriously - I'll be a bit upset. Ok, a lot upset. But then I'll remind myself that I get paid time and a half if I get called in. A little cash money around the holidays never hurt a girl.

I love my job because it's never the same. One day I help an 82-year-old get into the nursing home, and the next day I'm calling CPS because a mother admitted to doing crack on her way to the hospital to have her baby. Today proved to be another interesting day. It's never dull.

First, there was the 50-something alcoholic who said he's trying to drink himself to death (and who, unfortunately, doesn't realize that when you reposition yourself and don't have your hospital gown pulled down correctly and the blanket over you enough, you flash the whole room! Sh*t, people! This is why I became a social worker and not a nurse. I want to be in people's business - not SEE their business. in the hospital...). That was sad, but it was also a vicious cycle that he's been dealing with his whole life. You feel bad for them, but then you realize that in all reality, they'll probably never change (I know, I'm pretty young to be so cynical, but it's true - and yes, I know there's always exceptions to the rule).

Then there was the college kid who was very sick. Mentally. It was heart breaking. It just makes me sad that mental illnesses like schizophrenia and paranoia even exist. I just pray that medication can give this kid a somewhat of a normal life.

My work gives me a chance to step out of "mommy mode." I get to use a different part of my brain and interact with other adults. And I think it's good for Kaylee to interact with another adult every now and then, too. We all need a break. But still, I wonder if I'll ever get a better handle on balancing work and home. It's not easy mixing the two.

How about you? Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you work outside the home? How long was it before you felt like you had a handle on balancing stuff, or are you like me, and you're still not there quite yet?

I honestly wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want to be home full time, and I wouldn't want to work full-time, but I'm just still not quite sure how to balance both. Oh well.


Mama Kat said...

I'm a stay at home mom and run a home daycare and I sometimes wish I had somewhere to send my kids every once in awhile. Maile is in preschool now twice a week and I love that she's getting instruction from another adult...I also love the break from her. :)

April said...

I am a SAHM full time and love it but sometimes need a break. I almost went back to work and desided I just couldn't do it yet. I love being the one that is with them all day long. Only problem is i don't trust anyone but family to babysit (i do have good reasons) and so as of right now, I literally can not remember the last time I didn't have at least one child with me. When my Mom watches them, it's usually one at a time.

Sera said...

It's good to hear you two say these things. I think some moms are afraid to say they need a break from their kids because they think others will judge them or think they're bad moms, but it's just SO true. We really do need a break. April, I totally understand that you'd only want family to babysit the kids. I had a really hard time thinking about taking Kaylee to a daycare, so I was very thankful when a close family friend agreed to watch her. I totally trust her, and it makes it much easier to go to work.

Cammie said...

Hi Sera....linked through have my favoite song on your blog! I see you are a bow lover too? Been to that is my favorite place for bows!

thrilled by the thought said...

Wow, what a challenging job you have.

It took me a long time to find the balance. I teach piano in my home while still keeping an eye on my little one. I struggled in the beginning with knowing how much attention to give to my baby while technically working. I felt guilty for taking time away from my baby, but I am gradually seeing the benefits. She is happy and independent, plays good by herself, doesn't need me to entertain her 24/7.

And I get to make a some money without spending too much time "away"- all while doing something I love! I think it's important to always do something we love.

Jenners said...

I feel bad I didn't comment sooner... I was just completely tired yesterday and (gasp) didn't feel like blogging. Can you believe it?

First of all, hats off to you for doing a job that sounds extremely difficult and heart-wrenching. I don't think I have it in me to do what you are doing. I imagine it might be hard to shake off some of that stuff when you head home...but all the better to go home to your adorable baby.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and have been since my son was born. My husband and I made that decision before we even got pregnant -- one of the few benefits of waiting until we were more established to have a child. I had worked for 15 years or so and didn't really love it anymore. The person I was in my 20s was all about having this great career and then it wasn't as important anymore in my mid-30s. So we worked it so that I could stay at home.

I'm so glad we did because I don't think I could have functioned working and taking care of a kid in the first year or two. Besides the postpartum depression problems, I just don't function well on little sleep and I think I would have been really bad at both mothering and working. Plus it took me quite a while to "find" myself as a mom. I had never spend a lot of time around small children before I had my son so it was so new to me. It was really hard in a way I wasn't prepared for. The tedium and boredom yet constantly having to do so much stuff. And the transition from having a set schedule and feeling in control to feeling so out of sorts was difficult. Plus we didn't have any family nearby to help out so it was just my husband and me every day, day in and day out. That was super hard.

When my son was about 2, we put him into day care for a few mornings a week because I just needed a break and we thought it would be good for him to learn to be apart from me and be "socialized" with other children. It was really really hard at first but ended up being the best thing we did (albeit really expensive). We found a good school near our house that has worked out well for us, and he goes 4 mornings a week now to prepare him for kindergarten next year.

I also had to work hard to find people in my same situation -- you definitely need other moms in the same boat at you when you are a stay at home mom or you'll just die of isolation. Play dates are key!!! The days go by so much faster.

I think it is so hard to find a balance no matter what you do -- stay at home, work, work and stay at home. No matter what you do it is going to be difficult. The key is to keep something JUST FOR YOU and to nurture that so you don't lose yourself in everything else. That plus support from your hubby in the ways that really really matter -- like understanding when you need to get out of dodge for awhile.

I admire you ... I think you probably have the best of both worlds and all the little wrinkles will work themselves out as time goes on. And I'm going to have to face the fact that I'm going to have to go back to work in some way in a year or two so I'll be needing your input then!!!!

Jennifer said...

I'm a SAHM so I don't have any advice on balancing--but your job sounds extremely interesting ad I'm sure you're doing a lot of good--those poor people! So sad.

Just make sure you also have your "me" time--I know that's super important for SAHM and working moms!