Posted in Motherhood

Status Quo?

I read my horoscope every morning. Sometimes, I ignore it but most times, I realize how right on point it is.

Your horoscope for June 16, 2010: You have probably noticed that you have a tendency to use up a lot of your energy just maintaining the status quo and staying concentrated on your work or in your relationships with your family. However, for you the only way to personal fulfillment is to be perceptive about things and more mentally active. Lana, you need to get this situation back under control, and see exactly what is preventing you from being as active as you would like to be.

Yesterday, I interviewed for another part-time position. I had put the job hunting issue aside because I had so much going on and even though I knew that enough I needed to cut my hours down, I really did not have time to interview. A part of me knows that I have to stop trying to please everybody in my life and start thinking about me, but it is easier said then done. My husband commented last night that there were some meals that I had not cooked in awhile, even one that I had not cooked in over a year. I looked it at him and said that I did not remember the last time prepared something that did not come out of a box or the freezer. Mind you, I love to cook and I have ideas left and right about the subject. I have a collection of cookbooks that has not been opened in nearly a year. It is not just the cooking healthy meals for my family issue that has plagued me. My home is not as organized as it used to be and I don’t spend as much time taking care of myself as I used to. Heck, I don’t remember what a good night’s sleep feels like. I am not as active as I used to be because I am constantly running in a 101 different directions and well, I simply don’t have the time.

I have written several times on my blog that I know what the problem is, but I am too tired to take action. A part of me understands all too well that I have to either work part-time or quit school, and another part of me does want to give anything up. I only have four courses left to get my Master’s Degree (the one I am currently taking is the fifth). In fact, I should have my degree by the time the New Year rolls around. Process of elimination tells you what the best decision would be. However, no matter how many times I crunch the numbers and I know that we can afford for me to cut my hours, I still fear that I may be making a mistake. The other issue is that I do not have anything solid. My current employer will not be willing to offer me part-time hours and if I went part-time, the commute downtown and the $100 I pay for parking per month would not be worth the trip downtown. In fact, the position I interviewed for yesterday was less than ten minutes from my home. My current commute is 40 minutes in rush hour traffic (and don’t add the many accidents that happen during rush hour to that time).

If I am lucky, my interviewer will pick me from among fifteen other applicants that interviewed. Just so everyone knows, I am an impressive candidate and I have been told that over and over. Moreover, my background, education, intelligence, patience, time management and communication skills (verbal and written) exceed the kind of skills that are a requirement in the legal field. However, the economy we currently live in doesn’t allow employers to pick the best candidate. It allows them to pick the most cost effective candidate. And that leaves me frustrated.

Additionally, my husband is not supportive of my decision to work part-time. He is concerned about his own job and feels that if he were to get laid off, I would still have a fulltime position that would give us medical benefits if needed because currently, our benefits come from his employer. I love my family and I fear such an outcome but I am not any good to my family if I am mentally and physically worn out. I get where my husband is coming from but my husband goes to work and comes home; he does not deal with anything in between. He has no second or third shift. Most women in this country bear of the burden of the family and the home while holding full and part-time jobs. Unfortunately, not much as changed on the domestic front more than fifty years after women entered the work force.

My sister (that lives in NYC) is coming for her yearly visit in about ten days. She will be here for about a month and she gets to do that while I can hardly take off a few days. My vacation and personal time is spent taking care of my family. I do not recall the last time I took an “actual” vacation on an actual “vacation day.” I envy my sisters in some ways because they are stay-at-home moms, but the same time, I enjoy my career and the opportunities that I have. I envy the fact that my sisters are not confined by their jobs, but I don’t envy the fact that they are not as well off as we are (not that we are rich or anything but still better off), that their kids are not as socially advanced as mine because mine attend childcare, or even the fact that I have life outside of motherhood and they don’t.

And my horoscope is right is that I spend a lot of time maintaining the “status quo” of being everything to everyone and never giving in. This is my life: I work fulltime in the legal field. I am a mother and a wife. I manage my home and our finances. I manage our entire lives and my husband tells me he is okay with any and every decision I make (the lucky man makes no decisions). I manage a rental property that my husband purchased and it is like to teeth pulling to get him to pick up a rent check and every other responsibility for that property falls on me. I do advocacy work (which I love and wouldn’t trade for anything) and I am working on my master’s degree. Moreover, I am my younger brother’s primary support person (mostly emotional, but sometimes financial and I love him and I would do anything for him). Where is my husband in all this? His excuse is that he works in management and granted, he does work 50 to 60 hours a week but when you do the math, he can never work as many hours as I do (but don’t tell him that because he will disagree). One of the things I have sacrificed being all of these things is my own “personal fulfillment” and I need to get “this situation back under control, and see exactly what is preventing [me] from being as active as [I] would like to be.”  (You are tired just by reading this paragraph, aren’t you?)

It was not just this morning’s horoscope that got to me and gave me this realization. I lectured my husband last night on all reasons that things have to change as I outlined above. After that lecture, I went to bed and per the usual, I was out the minute my head hit the pillow. I had this dream that I feel asleep for five years and I awoke to a completely different world than the one I feel asleep in. My kids were older and seemed to be more mature and so was my husband who had a full head of grey hair (my husband is almost 50 and does not have a single grey hair). When I awoke from being asleep for five years, my life resumed even though a lot had changed in five years but what I remember most and what stood out was that my husband and my kids seemed to have an “emptiness” about them. It was like they had lost something while I was asleep and it was something that would be forever lost. It occurred to me that I am concerned about with all that my life is. They are missing a key component and that key component is me and if I don’t do something about that, they will be forever changed and my concern is that change may be negative as it was in my dream.

I know that I have gone on for an eternity in this post but what I know is that something has to change. If I don’t do something about it now, I am not the only one that will feel the ill effects. A friend of mine always tells me that there will be a time and a place for everything and she is right because there is a lot that can wait. (And to think, I don’t even discuss the bearing that my health has on my family, myself and all of these other parts of my life.)

6 thoughts on “Status Quo?

  1. From reading your blog, it does seem that you take on more than is healthy for you. Sometimes, if you "check out" or back off a bit…. others will take up the slack. ;)IMO, men never see being a stay at home wife, or the duties of motherhood as work. Which is nuts to me, because that's the hardest job in the world.I hope that you get the position and your husband comes around to support you.'HUGS

  2. Dee, I am not sure if there is a way to “check out” of my life. It is a like a Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel. Like “Black River” by Koontz where he the writer is not allowed to leave the town (Black River) because circumstances keep him there. In fact, none of the residents are able to leave (I have to check that one out again). You are right that men do not see the value of domestic work especially since they are not the ones doing it. My husband said to me last night “we” need to clear out the closet in the spare bedroom for my sister comes. “We” means “me,” not him. I am crossing my fingers on the position Dee. I will take if I am offered it because it all depends on what fate has in store for me.

  3. Good luck, I hope you get the job. I don't know how you keep up with everything you do. You have to take care of yourself. Your husband will come around if you get the position. My wife went back to school at a really bad time, leaving me as the sole income provider for 3 years, as our daughter moved out to go to college. We made it, I'm still not sure how.

  4. Yes, Terry. I know that but sometimes, it helps to hear it from others based on their experience. We had made it through tougher times. A part of me is worried about the financial mess that I had to clean up from two summers ago through last summer and now, that we are in better shape, I am afraid to go back. I am praying that I get the position but it is a matter of chance these days with the job market as it is.

  5. I hope you get the part-time position, too, Lana. You really need to have a few hours each day during which you can decompress a bit, and part-time work would give you that. It would also allow you to work on your degree without being under quite so much pressure.Change is always scarier "before" than "after." One thing to keep in mind, too, is that a change in jobs and hours doesn't have to be permanent. When you're ready you can always start looking for full time work again — and with the Master's degree, you may just find and land a really terrific job — one that pays well and that you love. It's that first step that's always the hardest.On your side, whatever happens …Wren

  6. Thank you Wren. You are right. I am sure that once I am situated, things will be less scary. And I know the sitution will not be permenant, but it has to be the case now. I want to focus on my family right now and finishing up my degree. A year from now, I can weigh my options again.

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