Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the tag “working”

Happiness, Snark and the “F” Word

I have spent about a decade and a half as a real, honest-to-goodness, working adult.  In that time, I have stayed in the same general field of education, but have worked in four very different positions in two very different school systems.

And I have complained about every job I have had.

And, of course, at a certain point, I do have to ask whether it is the job that sucks or whether it just might be me.

It is an awfully shitty moment when, as a grown-up, you realize that it isn’t everyone and everything else out there that needs to be fixed.  All the jobs in all the world can’t be awful.  Maybe it ain’t the JOBS that are the problem.


So, what does one do when one is punched in the throat with the hot, sloppy mitts of Reality?

If “one” is “me,” then “one” makes inappropriate jokes, becomes sarcastic to a fault and hides behind the thin veil of snark and other condescention.

I don’t know about you, but I use humor as a defense mechanism.  The problem with this is that everyone just thinks, then, that I am a snotty bitch.  I, however, think that I am hilarious.  I think I know how Joan Rivers must feel.  If she can feel anything with all that plastic shit in her face.

See?  There I go again.

And, so I am left with trying to figure out a better coping skill here.  Throwing around ill-crafted jokery and f-bombs isn’t, in the end, really making me feel that much better.

I take that back.  It does make me feel better.  Plenty better, really.

But, it doesn’t make me HAPPY.  And, I wonder what happiness IS, even.  Not that I’ve never felt it, but I don’t know that I understand it in the way someone like John Stuart Mill or Martin Heidegger would have.

By the way, I am sure that my 200-level philosophy professor will come across this blog post one day and totally take back that “D” he gave me in 1996 because I referenced two dead guys above that I am sure he talked about in class.  Or something.  I don’t know.  I was probably hung over.

Anywho, I am now on the hunt.  I am in search of an explanation as to why I can’t settle my ass into a job, stay put for more than a handful of years, stop complaining about it, eventually retire and move to Tahiti already.  I constantly feel unsettled.  I feel as though I need to “find myself.”  Whatever the crap that means.  I question everyday what I am supposed to do with my life.  Then I make a lame joke about it all.

So, if you are working in a field or at a place that is just amazeballs, I would love to hear about it.  And, hear about when they’ll be interested in hiring a quirky misanthropic wannabe writer.  If you identify with feeling a little lost (despite being all grown up and being of an age when you are totally supposed to have your shit all figured out), let me know I am not alone.

In the mean time, I think there are some bad drivers I haven’t flicked off yet today, so I better hop to it.

Now what?

This is hard.

That’s what she said.

No, seriously, this parenting stuff is tough.  I had no idea.

In my late 20’s, my husband and I decided that we’d casually try not to not try to make babies.  As our high school health teachers insisted, getting pregnant was really easy and can happen even after only one night of adolescent ridiculousness, so we assumed that our lackadaisical attitude about birth control would naturally result in a sweet bundle of joy.


Infertility is enormously common.  When I was 16, I thought that infertility happened to old, gross people only or was a result of too much ‘shrooming in one’s youth.  I was apparently ignorant about sex and drugs.  At least I knew everything I needed to know about Rock and Roll.

My gynecologist told me to give it a year.  A YEAR.  At that point, insurance would label me infertile and would allow me to seek out a specialist.

That year passed.  I saw a specialist.  Another year passed.  Then another.

Finally, I became pregnant.  Then, I miscarried.  That was the single worst experience of my life.  But, within a few months, I became pregnant again and gave birth to my healthy, beautiful first son.  A second son followed a few years after that.

But, the story doesn’t end there.

I spent three years in doctors’ offices, having vaginal probes, ultrasounds, blood draws every few days, getting my uterine cells scraped, taking ovulation drugs, even getting surgery.  Then, I had a baby.

When my maternity leave ran out, the only thing I could think was, “Now what am I supposed to do?”

I was (and still am) so torn about what to do with  my life now that my identity has changed.  I spent years of my life focusing so hard on having a child; on eating right and taking my vitamins and seeing my doctor and journaling my routines.  Now, lady, you got your damn baby.  Now what will you DO with him?

Well, I don’t know, fucker.  I never THOUGHT about that.

Am I stay-at-home-mom material? (Nope.)  Can I handle seeing my kids for only an hour or so nightly then only on weekends when I also have to do laundry, go grocery shopping, run errands and catch up on other work? (Nope.)  Will my job let me work part-time so that I can find that magical “balance” that everyone seems to tell me I must find in order to keep my sanity?  (Nope.)  Am I prepared to give away one third of my annual salary for a nanny to care for my children in their own home?  (Nope.)  Do I want my child raised institutionally in a center with 30 other kids whose diapers may or may not get changed all day?  (Nope.)  Have I thought about how my child will get to and from preschool at the hours of 8 AM and 11 AM while I am at work?  (Nope.)  Do I want my kids at a babysitter’s house every day where they just stare at the TV all day?  (Nope.)  Does my family want to provide full-time childcare so that I can have my own life?  (Nope.)  Does my husband want to quit his job to be a stay-at-home-dad?  (Nope.)

So, now what?

I don’t know.

I went back to work and we decided to go ahead and give away that third of my salary for that nanny.  She’s spectacular.  She’s exactly who I’d pick if I could hand-pick anyone on the planet to be with my kids if it wasn’t going to be my husband or me.

But, I still feel empty.  Or I feel as though something isn’t quite right.  Or I feel as though there must be a better “balance.”  I don’t know what I feel but it isn’t the pure joy I imagined I would have once chiildren came into my life.

The problem is NOT my kids.  Sure, I complain about them and their tantrums, poopsplosions, hard-headedness, terrible sleep patterns and tendencies to get into and destroy everything of value in my home.

But, ultimately, the problem is ME.

I have an obligation to provide for my children and family emotionally, financially, spiritually, nutritionally.  I have a duty to myself to become a strong person, good role model, and productive member of society for my own mental well-being and so that I show my boys the type of woman I hope they’ll admire and one day marry.  I have a responsibility to my husband not to allow him to shoulder the entire burden of providing for this family’s needs and wants,; and to provide him with a good partner in life — someone who is whole, who is happy, who is capable of standing by his side.

So, now what?

Lady, you wanted these kids so badly.  Now what are you going to do — how are your going to shape your lives together – how are you going to live out this dream now that it is all so real?

I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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