I think the next few posts might start talking about the hard stuff. There is a part of me that wants to come off as the parenting guru, to just know everything, and to have it all together and to be doing it all right.
But… I’m inspired by the new information that is out about how stay at home moms and working moms are equally as overwhelmed. I am inspired by websites like the Canadian Bad Moms Club. I’m really, really intersted in other mom’s confessions and It would probably be healthy to make some of my own.
Well, in therapy..(Okay, yes, I’m in therapy because I love therapy but also because life coaches like me should always be in therapy because it is exhausting and perfectionistic that we feel the need to be the pillar of everything wonderful and balanced!)..anyway, in therapy I realized that I find myself playing stay at home mom and work at home mom all at once roles and flailing hard.
I’m like superwoman running in place and about to fly but my frikkin’ cape is stuck in my front door. Its not that I work from home, its really only that I rather try to work from home. I put in about 12 hours a week while what my businesses really need from me would be more like at least 35. I am always so far behind my goals, even though I don’t sleep.
My friend Laura Shoemaker, a poet, recently taught me to keep a notebook of my great ideas that I don’t have time for, just in case one day I ever have time for them. That is my whole life, my whole mind. I am a notebook full of ideas that somebody doesn’t have time for.
Where did I even get the 12 hours? Well, I have had an average of seven hours of childcare a week (for which I am grateful) from our friend Nora and our substitute grandma friend, Louise. But Nora is moving up north come September and Louise is taking a month off to work as summer camps. Nora has done part trade for living with us and Louise does half of her hours as charity! The other hours I manage to take while Iris is napping when really I should be sleeping or doing laundry and at night when my wife takes over.
Sometimes I want a “real job”, one which had real hours and did not involve constant creativity or, re-working my schedule, re-inventing myself or entrepreneurial mayhem-but would that be easier. No. The meyhem would be replaced with guilt.
But, I am also grateful. Grateful for the jobs I have, how fulfilling it is to be Life Coach, working musician, writer; the flexibility to breastfeed on demand and long term for the benefit of my child, to have her been potty-learned so early, to be around so often that she is secure never upset when I do leave. But most of all I am grateful to be married to a full time working parent.
This is the confession: when I realized my daytime help was dissapearing, I freaked out. I freaked out and lobbied for a french au pair but there was no way in heck we could afford the 8K legal and registration fees. It really stressed her out, but my wife humored me anyway. And when I couldn’t get that, I let her know I could not go on this way not sleeping at night, parenting 24/7 and running two businesses and writing a book, that I needed consistent help during the day and more of it.
There was some discussion within our more extended family that I should stop working and stop writing to get more sanity and sleep when the baby slept. There it came up again, the idea that my work isn’t worth much because of how it financially pales in comparison to my partner’s income. But I let everyone know I would go crazy without my non-mommy outlets. Maybe I would go crazy either way. If I didn’t love my jobs it would be a different story. Here is an interesting article on stay at home vs. working moms and depression.
As of today, she has supported me by hiring an au pair, not french, but American. A queer nanny who wants to visit Seattle for a while, someone who will live here, home we can (barely) afford. I will get 15 hours a week of actual childcare, it will be consistent. And maybe I will nap when the baby naps.
So this post is dedicated to my wife who allows me to drive myself crazy trying to have everything when, really, we could survive if I gave up my work.
More posts about failing and flailing to come……