Thursday, April 12, 2007

On working

I just read my wife Petunia's post about her experience being back at work since Hester came home. I was so touched; I'm really glad she's having such a positive experience. (I'm also really glad she does the middle-of-the-night feedings with Hester during the work week, but that's another story.) Before Hester arrived, Petunia was worried about her dual roles of worker and mother, and I'm relieved that, at least for now, she feels comfortable with both roles. Happy, even. That's rad.

I, on the other hand, am not nearly so chipper about the old work life. It was fine before Hester came home--I had a routine, I liked it, and I enjoyed my days with the kids. Now, not so much. I resent almost everything about my work life now, from waking at 5am in order to clean the house to filling out daily sheets for the kids' parents.

Mostly though, I resent the kids themselves. There, I said it--I'm officially a bad person. I want to spend my days with Hester uninterrupted by screaming toddlers squabbling over toys and poopy diapers that aren't hers. My resentment grew this week when I realized that Hester really does barf more during the work week--I've been recording it, so it's not my imagination. Stress makes reflux worse, so does this mean that child care stresses my baby to the point of vomiting? Or is it that I'm so stressed when I'm working that I make her sick? The whole point of starting this business was that I could spend my days home with our future child and still make money doing something I enjoy. But now that I'm not enjoying it, what does that mean for Hester, the kids, their families, and me? I'm home with Hester and I'm still making money, but that's about it.

I'm trying to give myself time. It's only been 2 weeks since Petunia went back to work, right? I'm a bit of a Type A gal, so I'm purposely trying to let myself feel what I'm feeling while simultaneously thinking that things will change with time. It's gotta get easier, right? But on the other hand, they don't call it "work" for nothing.

The bright spot in my day, the thing I focus on to make it to 6pm each night, is that Hester's with me. I just love seeing her sweet little face all day long, kissing her soft hair, and watching her grow and discover new things. Truth be told, I love watching the other kids interact with her, too--she brings out their tenderness and kindness. Sometimes it's hard to believe that the same child who just whapped another kid with a book is the kid who's caressing Hester's tiny feet and speaking gently to her, but I love seeing it. It gives me hope.

My new mantra: "Things will be okay."

They will, won't they?

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Blogger Abigail said...

Oh Clementine, I can so relate. I don't have the amazingness of a sweet little Hester to want all to myself, but I do find that I resent my work and my kids at times. And yes...I feel like I'm officially a bad person too.

It's hard to separate "bad person" from "wanting good things for myself", isn't it?

For me it has to do with not getting what I need for myself out of my work. When I worked in Long Island, I had lots of colleagues to interact with and that made my work with the kids more fulfilling. However, working by myself doesn't give me those interactions. I feel stale.

It sounds like you are not getting what you need in one way or another. It is quite early, as you say, so hopefully, given time, things will smooth out. But, I think it's good that you are going through the process of looking at what it is you aren't getting and what things worry you/stress you in the situation. Whether it's a matter of time or not, that process is an important one. I really appreciate that you are thinking about what you want in the situation....

"The whole point of starting this business was that I could spend my days home with our future child and still make money doing something I enjoy."

Reading that felt empowering to me. I sometimes have a hard time admitting to myself what's important. I think enjoyment is underrated.

Look at me going on about this. This is a main area of life that I struggle with, so I guess I have a lot to say ;)

2:38 PM  
Blogger Hashbrown said...

I believe your mantra. How can I help you?

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

Hashbrown, you're the sweetest. Clementine, it will be OK.

I would imagine you'd resent just about anything, potentially, that takes you away from just spending family time with Hester, but hopefully it will grow easier for you and you'll be able to deal with all the conflicting demands without stressing yourself out or feeling like you're a bad person.

By the way, it's not bad to want what's best for your own child.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Canada said...

It will be okay.

But I can understand this feeling. I used to limit my clients to children only, and I was very happy with that. Now, I am more willing to branch out because sometimes, other people's kids annoy the crap out of me. Nice, huh? It must be harder for you, because I got a whole year off to bond with Corwin and Clara, but you have had to let the other children invade the whole process, and your family sanctuary at the same time. How about being a school bus driver? Limited hours, HW can drive with you, and most of your day is free? (well,considering HW's intense . . . dislike of
being in a vehicle, maybe not!!!!)

9:09 AM  

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