Just Because I Have It All Doesn’t Mean I Want It All

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Want it AllI am woman.  I am invincible.  I am tired.  It is more than just a cute catch phrase on my Facebook page.  It is the truth.  Day in and day out I do it all.  Cook, clean, grocery shop, and laundry?  Done, done, done, and done.  Take care of two boys and keep them mentally and creatively stimulated?  Done!  Piano lessons for the oldest, T-ball for the youngest, volunteering at the local food pantry and with the coming school year religious education gets tossed into the mix.

Work a full time job under incredibly stressful circumstances in an impoverished inner city environment that is often violent and do my very best to be a force of good in my students lives.  You bet your ass!

Write a blog offering my words of wisdom, experiences, and tips, hoping someone out there finds all this useful and perhaps a little funny.  Yes, that too, while also maintaining a Facebook page and a Pinterest page trying to find the most useful of information to share with my followers.

full time job

We live in a modest home in a lovely little sub surrounded by woods.  We have two cars, two kids, and a fat cat.  I am living the American dream…right?  Right?!?  So why is it most days I don’t feel quite so dreamy?

My life consists of two parts.  The September to June career woman part, and the Mid-June to end of August stay at home part.  I can honestly say that I know what it is to be on both sides of the fence, and believe me when I say I know exactly which side of the fence is greener, and not because it is covered in bullshit.

yes dear2

I know there are women out there who will want to tell me off, cuss me out, and bitch that I am undermining womanhood as we now know it today, but I will take being a stay at home mom over the working mom gig any day.  What ever I do, I will always do it to the best of my ability, no matter how many jobs are on my plate.

So when summer comes and I am home with my boys it is wonderful to just be a mom, a wife, and a homemaker.  It is nice to slow down and plan out our meals.  It is nice to have the time needed to wash, and dry, and fold, and put away all the laundry.  It is nice to have the time to take the boys to the park, even if it isn’t my favorite thing to do.  It is nice not to make sure every minute of the day is scheduled to the exact minute for fear of not getting it all done.

ask meIt is especially nice to have time to focus on my blog and my “internet job” which at least fills my soul if not my wallet.  Writing has always been a passion of mine, one I had to give up for several years because I had too much to do, but now that my youngest is a little older, and writing a blog is faster than writing Fan Fiction, I am able to do it once more.  Maybe some day I will be able to make a living off my writing but I’m not counting on it.

Sometimes I dream of quitting my job, no longer commuting sixty miles a day round trip, and waking up at 4:45 in the morning.  I think about how wonderful it would be to join my children’s school PTA’s, be a room mom, and all that good stuff, but I can’t.  First, it wouldn’t be fair to my dear husband who works longer days than I do.  Plus, both boys are now in all day school.  Let’s face it, once the kids are in all day school and you are still a stay at home mom, most people would just label you as being too lazy to work.  People stupid enough to think that need to be slapped in the face with a frying pan.

two jobsEven with my boys in school my home would run a heck of a lot more smoothly if I were here to manage everything.  As it is, we pay for a.m. child care, rely on grandparents to pick the boys up from school when one suddenly gets sick, and have to scramble to make arrangements whenever the boys have no school but I do.  My weekends are spent doing all the housework I was unable to do Monday-Friday, when I would rather be free to relax or play with the kids.

So yes, I have it all…but I would seriously like to give some of it back.

Are there any other working moms out there who would love to chuck their full time job?

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Children…My Life…My Passion…and the Reason I Take Zoloft

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was 23 when I became a teacher. Fresh from college and eager to change the world by helping one child at a time. I was 29 when I became a mom and took a year off to raise my little boy. After that year was over I returned to teaching. I was 35 when I had baby number 2. This time I took two years off to be a stay at home mom, and would have taken a third if it had been possible. What shocked me was how much harder it was being a mom to two instead of one.

Perhaps it was because I was older, perhaps it was because suddenly the mommy stuff was never ending, or perhaps it was because I was newly married, newly relocated, and just had one to many changes in a short amount of time.Kisses

As hard as I worked the two years I was a stay at home mom though were nothing compared to when I finally returned to teaching. Just because I returned to the classroom didn’t mean that all that mommy stuff went away. Laundry still needed to be done, cleaning taken care of, dinner cooked, quality time given to my boys, quality time given to my husband, making time to visit a sick parent. I was at my wits end. I remember standing in front of the stove cooking dinner as tears rolled down my face because I was so tired.

Part of it is me. I want things to be perfect always, whether it is at home or at work. Part of it really is my situation. I basically do the kid thing 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. My job and my home life are just too much alike sometimes.

But I had to acknowledge one more factor that I really didn’t want to face. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am now forty and like it or not, my hormones were starting to get a little wonky. Can we say “premenopausal?” Yep, it was definitely a factor.

When you teach first grade patience is literally the #1 job requirement and I used to have it in spades. The past two years, however, I noticed that I was becoming more and more stressed out. At first I thought that I had just taken on too many responsibilities. I was on the fund-raising committee, the reading committee, and the carnival committee, as well as that full time teaching gig and motherhood thing. So of course I had a full blown hyperventilation panic attack one March morning just as the children were entering the building. I was burned out, over worked, and NOT medicated. Although a trip to the doctor’s office that March day fixed that problem. One bottle of Xanax with two refills coming right up.

The following September I decided I needed to take better care of myself. So I quit all the committees and just focused on the job and home. Things would get better, right? Wrong. I was still stressed, and now, I was easily angered by little things. My heart would race all day and I constantly felt like I was in “Fight or Flight” mode. I left work completely exhausted, and then when I got home I had no energy left for my own kids. All I wanted my boys to do was go away and leave me alone. I started to realize that the problem I had wasn’t a job problem. The problem was me. I was broken and didn’t even recognize the person I had become anymore. I finally realized that I needed help.

I scheduled a visit to see my OB/GYN. After a very long office visit where I talked about everything that was going on with me she confirmed what I was already suspecting. I was indeed in the early stages of menopause and my hormones were steadily driving me crazy.

She started me on a low dose of Zoloft which ended up getting increased just once. After a while I started to notice a difference. I still felt angry at times, but the anger didn’t control me. I was able to take a deep breathe and respond in an appropriate way. The same was true at home. I could now give my boys the quality time they needed and not feel resentful.

I don’t feel ashamed to admit that I needed a prescription. I know a lot of people would just say to suck it up and deal, but that strategy had stopped working for me and I was seriously going to have a heart attack if I didn’t find a way to calm down and get control of my emotions. If taking a little blue pill helps me to cope and be a better mom then I will do it.

I would love to hear from other moms, especially older moms who are also dealing with this situation. How are you battling your menopause?

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