Guilt guilt guilt

I am lucky. So so super duper lucky. Four-leaf clovers spring up everywhere I walk, horses throw their shoes at me, and rabbits volunteer to cut off their own feet in my honor. I have a beautiful house, everything I could want to live a nice, comfortable life. E’s on shore duty right now so he’s home for dinner almost every night (and sometimes for lunch too). His job in the Navy means he doesn’t ever have to worry about being laid off or losing his health care or having his hours cut. Because of the stability he provides, I’m able to stay home with Baby Evan and be the kind of full-time, cooking-baking, playdate,¬† go-to-Target-at-10-am mom I imagined I would be. I won’t miss his first words or first steps or first solid foods. I don’t face the challenged other breastfeeding moms deal with when it comes to pumping and storing milk or weaning earlier than they would have liked. I’m so lucky, there’s a chance I’ll win that Powerball tonight without even buying a ticket.

I wish I had a job. An out of the house, paid with real money job. Nothing fancy or prestigious or that requires lots of skills. I want to work at Target again, like I did when I was 17, hanging up clothes and organizing the sock aisle and folding hundreds of jeans. Or I could answer phones somewhere and sit in a chair and read US Weekly when I wasn’t busy. Maybe I could work at greenhouse and wear shorts and water plants and carry around bags of dirt all day. I am qualified for all of those things. I don’t mind making $10 an hour.

But the logistics of finding employment, convincing them to hire me, showing up at the same time every day, planning my schedule around both E’s and Baby Evan’s schedule, having back-up childcare just in case and finding back-up back-up childcare just in case is daunting. Maybe when the baby is a little older. Maybe after the next baby. Maybe when all the babies go off to school. Maybe when the babies go off to college. Maybe by then the gap in my resume will be 18 years long and no one will hire me.

Why do I care so much? Why do I feel so useless just because I don’t get a paycheck? How incredibly ungrateful do I sound for all that I already have? Having a second income would let us do a lot more, but we don’t need it to pay the bills (as long as the bills don’t get much higher). And the amount I could make as a cashier or receptionist or plant-waterer would barely cover childcare on the days I needed it. How many moms are at work right now wishing they were home with their babies with nothing more pressing to take care of than a load of laundry and planning next week’s meals (Monday: PB&J. Tuesday: Ham & Cheese. Wednesday: PB&J)? How many moms are hiding in a bathroom stall with their breastpump? How many moms feel guilty for not doing exactly what I am lucky enough to do? I feel guilty too, guilty for wishing I could get a break. Guilty for wanting to do something not involving my baby. Guilty for the things that I have. Guilty for not really, truly, totally, completely appreciating¬† every single second. So many people have more to worry about than I do, so why can’t I be happier? Not that I am unhappy. Just restless and hot and tired and losing some of the patience I work so hard to maintain. I just need a change. And my husband back.

Maybe I will buy one of those Powerball tickets.

11 Responses to “Guilt guilt guilt”

  1. Other Erin says:

    The jackpot here is at a crazy $207 million. If I win, I will totally pay for your childcare so you can work at Target.

    And I think it’s totally normal to want a life outside of your baby. I think in the end that’s what makes good parents. Otherwise your kids become your whole life and then you become a serious heliocopter mom.

    Are there any type of “adults only” groups you could join…like a book club or a team that walks to raise money for cancer research? Or volunteer somewhere one/two nights a week and make E take the baby.

    I want to come visit…not sure when but likely sometime after you stop posting how miserably hot your house is. :)

  2. lalaland13 says:

    Sweetie, I want to hug you for this. Do not feel guilty. Repeat after me: You are fine. There is nothing wrong with wanting a job. I would have gone stir-crazy by now. Sometimes you need to get away from the baby. It does not mean you wouldn’t die for the baby. It does not mean you don’t love him. It just means you’re human.

    So start looking for something when you’re ready. You can take your time in deciding. Maybe it will be just 20 hours a week at Barnes and Noble or Target or something, but that would get you out of the house a little.

  3. Natalie says:

    I could have written this exact post. My situation is almost the same as yours. I’ve toyed with the idea of part-time, night-time work, but I come to the same conclusion you have. Not now, maybe later.

    I have the fear of becoming useless once the kids are out of the house, and then I won’t be able to use the degree I worked so hard to get, or that I won’t be able to find a job NOT using the degree (ie: retail or the like).

    But I see those faces every day and get to have every moment (good and bad) with them and I realize that everything else will fall into place.

    Don’t beat yourself up about feeling what you’re feeling. I get those same feelings. Which is why I tend to zone out in front of the TV after the behbehs are in bed, instead of reading the stack of books I want to read. ;o) Those too, will come in time.

  4. bebehblog says:

    My problem is that right now, I literally CAN’T be away from the baby since he needs to eat at random, 2-4 hour periods and I am his only source of food. I can’t even leave him with E as E’s nipples are for decorative purposes only. It’s not so much a need to get AWAY as a need to contribute in a meaningful, dollars and cents way so I don’t feel useless.

    Is wet-nurse still a job? I’m totally qualified for that.

  5. lalaland13 says:

    Well, and again, this is totally your call, but would you feel comfy switching to a formula/breastmilk mix around say, six months? That way you could look for a job or whatever you want without feeling so bad. And I forgot the exact bottle situation, but does Baby E refuse to take to a bottle at all? I thought he could do it occasionally.

    If not, are there any jobs where you can work from home? Ideally not the stuffing envelopes kind.

    I’m not trying to make you feel like a bad mom if you don’t want to do any of this. Just thought I’d throw it out there. Besides, Interwebz commenters should not make you feel guilt. That’s what ignorant people at the grocery store/soccer games are for.

    You’re doing awesome, hon. And if this helps at all, my mom worked nine months out of the year and a lot in the summer as a teacher, and she was flippin’ awesome to the point where I don’t even know if I can have kids because of how great she was.

  6. bebehblog says:

    Lala – You know what? I’d even stuff envelopes. Seriously, just have like $100 a month and a couple hours a week of “work” would make me feel better. But all the “work at home” stuff I’ve come across is sketchy and scammy and the stuff that actually pays requires full-time job dedication – which I just can’t make right now.

    And no, no bottles. I wouldn’t need to switch to formula, as I have almost 100 oz of breast milk in the freezer just waiting for the day the baby accepts it from something other than my boob.

    p.s. You’ll be just as awesome of a mom as your own was, if and when you ever make the decision.

  7. FourInchHeels says:

    Is it possible to force the baby into using a bottle? I’m not sure if that’s an “if he gets hungry enough he’ll accept a bottle” situation, or if some babies just simply won’t ever take it, no matter what you do. I tend to take a hard line on these things so would leave the house (or, you know, his sight) for a day and have someone else (because if you’re there, he expects boob) keep offering the bottle until the baby decides bottle is better than nothing, but I know you can’t always beat a baby with logic.

    Also, a friend made a good point recently – she said she’s a better mother because she has a job (better than her other self, not other mothers). When she was at home full time she got so sick of her only identity being Mom, that she stopped wanting to do things with the kids. She works at the neighborhood produce market a few afternoons a week, and now that she’s got an escape where she can be a grown up, and a full person, she’s happy to go back and play with and enjoy her children.
    You’ve got no reason to feel bad that you’d like to become a part of society, even for a little while; you didn’t quit being Suzanne, or Mrs. Davis, or any of your many identities when you became a mom .. but at the moment you don’t get to spend much time being those people, and that can be tough. You will be a better mother if you are happy, so don’t let go of the things that keep you sane – even if that means folding clothes at Target one day a week.

  8. MStrader says:

    Motherhood is about phases & stages. Right now, you are in a phase where you can enjoy being home. Think how much money you are contributing to the household by not buying formula every 4 days. That’s $180 right there. Money saved is money in the bank right? And I know everyone says this, but this time really does fly by. Each stage has it’s own benefits and challenges. Right now you have the benefit of a baby who still sleeps alot so it seems like you have all this extra time, and the challenge of wanting to fill that extra time doing something monetarily productive, but in another month that’s going to change. As baby e gets more mobile, he’ll start sleeping less and need more stimulation, which again brings it’s own set of benefits and challenges. So while it is difficult, enjoy this time. There are thousands of moms who have taken a break to have children who have no problem getting a job. It’s not a gap in employment that’s the problem, it’s what you were doing with that gap. You’ll be back in the working world soon enough longing for the phase where you got to be home nuturing your baby.

  9. AGreenEyeDevil says:

    Are there any indications the blog will start to generate some income/recognition in the year ahead?

    You have a great blog and a real gift for writing. You’re also a reliable daily blog poster. Hang in there!

  10. J.D.Regent says:

    You are as allowed to have grass is always greener days (or months, years…) as anyone else. Working moms are jealous of stay at home moms, stay at home moms are jealous of part time workers, part time workers can’t afford good childcare and think about quitting or going full time; i’m childless and jealous of all of them; working people want each other’s jobs. My mother said the other day she wished she could have parented part time for twice as long. Doesn’t that sound good?

    Whatever choices you make you’re going to have bored, stressed, jealous days. Just drop the guilt! Throw it over your shoulder symbolically at a crossroads and never look back. It’s enough to feel your feelings without a whole crusty sticky heavy layer of guilt over everything. I can tell you this with authority because I am the world’s leading expert on self-sabotage by guilt.

    Also, if you are willing to do that variety of jobs, you WILL find a job when you decide to get one again. Having a “career” that you care about might be harder, but you CAN go back to school and get training when and if you want to. You can. I bet you get discounts for military even. Or you can just get a nice job at a flower shop part time, or answering phones at a doctor’s office, or anything. Call me up and I will hire you. I’m a Capricorn and expert at finding people jobs. So don’t worry about that part either.

    Furthermore, have you considered turning some of your posts into articles and submitting them for publication in a parenting rag or something? You are a delightful writer.

  11. bebehblog says:

    Mstrader – That’s some of the most reassuring advice I’ve ever gotten. Thanks for your help.

    @Everyone – This is why I post this stuff, because sometimes I just need a little pity party before I can get on with it.

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