Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The One Where I Tell the Truth

Thomas the Train got his revenge on us by infecting my child with strep. It’s the bad kind of strep with a horrid rash--the kind of rash that turns into Scarlet Fever. El Guille got a shot from the doc and will be fine. I just hate seeing his beautiful skin marred by an ugly bacterial invader. So Tiffany was right, Thomas the Train is a rat bastard.

I haven’t really talked much about what’s been going on with me since, well, it’s a dicey area. Last fall, right after Thanksgiving break, my company told us that they were shutting down the offices and moving everything to our HQ in Seattle on my due date. They didn’t plan for it all to happen on my due date, but that’s how it worked out. I toyed with moving up there, I even went up to interview for some positions. It just wasn’t going to work out, to tell the truth. What, was I going to pay a second mortgage payment every month for my kids to be in daycare? That’s not why I work. I don’t work just to work; I certainly don’t want to work to finance my kids' daycare. A ‘career’ is not that important.

So since last November I’ve been living with the specter of my breadwinning job going away. What was I going to do? Go out job hunting at 7.5 months? Please, hire me, by the way, I’m going to need April and May off. Other Half was going to be doing student teaching (a fulltime job for free) leaving precious little time to get another job. I wanted him to finish school, that’s the priority. Work strung me along promising me a maternity leave, then removing that possibility (they don’t pay maternity leave.) My boss tried to negotiate something for me. He succeeded, but then he left before we could get it all in writing so the deal evaporated. The place was as accommodating as a generic company would be. Even though the offices shut down, I went on unpaid leave to have the baby. They promised me that I’d be able to work from home when I came back from leave. I did that, going back to work a couple weeks ago. Well, it didn’t work out. So as of tomorrow, I don’t have a job. You know, a job, the kind of thing that pays for mortgages and groceries. I can’t complain too much, I’m just lucky they took pity on me and let me stay on insurance through the baby and leave.

You don’t even know what it’s like for me to voice even this kind of anonymous criticism. I don’t discuss work because I figure it’s private and certainly should not be logged forever online. I will say that being super pregnant and worried for months about how we were going to put food on the table and pay the hospital was hell. I cried and cried.

I cried for months.

Other Half tried to reassure me and remind how blessed we were, and are. It’s true, we are blessed, but I’m also a horriblizer who can’t help but think the worst (broke, uninsured, out on the street, starving.) When you grow up poor you worry about ending up there again, even if the likelihood of living on powdered milk and Deseret peanut butter is pretty low.

Tonight I’m writing all of this down. I am acknowledging how rough the past months have been. I’m giving myself permission to be upset about how everything went down.
I have some options on the table for work. Good, even great options. However, I think I am mourning my last job—even though that job ended emotionally months ago, I’ve been stringing along wishing that it wasn’t the case.

As you know, I went and had a baby in the middle of all of this. I think that worrying about how we were going to feed our kids just made the natural baby blues even worse. It has been so hard to shake the blues with this baby. He’s such a beautiful, easy baby. I am so lucky. That doesn’t change that I have spent the post partum weeks trying to pull myself together. Other people; family, friends, are usually how I pull myself out of this kind of funk. Holed up in the house hasn’t helped me, but I haven’t been able to leave it much either.

I find myself wondering how other moms do it. How do they handle a preschooler and a new baby, let alone other kids? Other Half has been at home with me since the semester ended and I still can’t keep it together. I feel guilty that I can barely function with a husband at home doing much of the housework for me. I feel guilty thinking of all the other moms out there that do it without help; why can’t I? What’s my damage? Then the other part of me says HOGWASH. I shouldn’t feel guilty that he has kept the house limping along, that he entertains El Guille while I squeeze in a few moments of sleep. This is the second baby where I've worked up until the day I delivered. He can do another load of dishes.

I know I’m not the only mom out there that has days where she lives for her kids’ bedtime, either. I have good days and bad ones. The days often depend on whether I slept for 4 hours or no hours. I think I'm well enough to start doing some yoga and walking again, that should help. I hope this summer is a good one; I could use a few good months.

I should go, there’s a baby who wants me to stare at him and make googly noises. I think I can pull it together enough to do that—especially since he’s finally smiling. Go babies.


b. said...

Go Sugar.
It's enough. And so are you.

compulsive writer said...

Here's to a good summer. And prospects.

SusieQ said...

I can relate to your B.F.B.B. (barely functioning baby blues.) I really struggled with post partum depression. You know in your head that it's the raging hormones and major sleep deprivation, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal. I had a 2 year old and a newborn. Some days I thought I wouldn't make it through. I, too, wondered how other mothers did it and felt like I was failing.
All I can say is hang in there! It does get better.

Emily said...

Other moms have their own issues to deal with, even the ones who seem to have it so together. You can't compare yourself.

I'm sorry about the cruddy job sitzh. If I lived near you I would buy lots of extra groceries and share them with you, just to ensure that you stay a mile away from having to drink powdered milk. Or I'd do your dishes for you, and boy oh boy, that means that I really must like you.

Emily said...

PS -- I would do those things, and more, because it would mean that I could procrastinate folding a little longer the seven or so loads of laundry piling up in my room. Laundry is one of my issues.

Jennifer B. said...

Sleep deprivation can make the most wonderful life look like a chore. There is nothing wrong with you. I'm so sorry about work. Hoping you can get a little more rest and hang in there till things brighten up.

kiki said...

You moms sure do make me feel like a total wuss for the "panic attack" (whatever that scary thing was) I had a few weeks ago.

You are a strong, strong woman, Zuc! You are amazing.

wendysue said...

First of all, you are NOT alone. Second, those "other" mothers are lying and totally fooling everyone. I struggle with the 'comparison' game too, and it's just not worth it. Whatever works for you, works for you. If I had a husband that was good about doing dishes and housework, I would let him!!

The work situation sucks, I'm sure having it all surround major hormone shifts made it a bigger situation. Something will work out, it always does. And it may be something even better.

mander said...

For what it's worth, I think you do a great job. I've only got your blog posts as evidence, but you seem to do an amazing job. I hope to be as well-rounded a person and mother as you someday...

La Yen said...

There are days when you DON'T live for the bedtime?

pflower10 said...

Having a baby is hard enough to deal with let alone all the extra things that are piled on your plate. Good luck to you, it's all an illusion anyway.

Engineer: martha corinna; Conductor: j. bradley; Restless Riders: norah corinna, lucia louise, j. abram; On the Caboose: tequila the foxdog said...

I feel for you. After my 2nd baby I had some serious post partum depression. I wondered why I couldn't pull it together like everyone else and why I felt so bad about myself. On top of feeling so crappy I felt ashamed and isolated. Because of the culture we live in I thought perhaps it was all my fault, I must not have been grateful enough. Just as I was about to get help Tom Cruise appeared on the Today show. Talk about adding insult to injury. To make a long story short it's been 2 years and I had a 3rd baby a few months ago. Things are different this time around. I've found so much love and support in the women around me by being honest about my life and motherhood. I'm not alone in my experiences and I don't have to feel ashamed and isolated. I've loved reading your blog. You are witty and clever and your honesty has helped me. Thank you.

sara said...

I don't think there are many other moms out there who do it all "without help." I had a terrible time feeling guilty for people helping me when I had each of my babies(husband, family, visiting teachers, etc) but what helped me to start accepting their help w/o guilt was the thought that if the tables were turned, I would do the same for someone else and I would hope they would accept my help.

As to how you get through it? One day at a time. Or one feeding at a time. Or one nap at a time. But be sure to take a lot of pictures of the bambino because those "one day at a time" days start to fly by; they really do!! Okay, I know that the main point of your post was not what I have commented on, but it struck home with me. Hang in there! It will get better; it really will.

sara said...

P.S. I also meant to say... one thing that has helped me SO much is the realization that we women are all so different and all have our stregths & weaknesses. I used to think I had a deficiency because I cannot keep my house clean. That is just a fact (although I suppose it's not an excuse to keep trying). However, I have strengths that maybe my home-immaculate neighbor doesn't have. I didn't get this concept until a couple years ago and it has made all the difference! Now when I go to RS, I don't sit there and look at all the "perfect" people; I look for their imperfections to make myself feel better. They all have them! I suppose that's not the best approach either but at least I don't feel as bad about myself. :)

Mo Jo's Weekly Update said...

I kind of know what you're going through. I say kind of because I only have one. Josh just found out he can be hired on at his internship that he goes to three days a week and works a full day. So that makes three part time jobs. Before Asher was born I was freaking out, not Josh. Yet, I wanted him to chase his desires. Needless to say I felt very desperate and scared if we'll be able to have enough money to feed both of us. It just works out, but in the mean time, I agree, I need to just tell everybody how much it can suck.

more caffeine, please said...

Okay, so you need to cut yourself some slack. You experienced two of the most stressfull things at the same time: having a baby and experiencing a career change.

Right after Toad was born, 18's company restructured and we were drug along for 3 weeks not knowing if he had his job or not. Things worked out, but I, too, cried a lot and I can't imagine your stress level given what you're going through. With change comes opportunity, but also a lot of stress and sress and stress.

And 18 told me just last week, "Honey, cut yourself some slack. We'll have a clean house when we're 50 and the kids have moved out. Until then, quit stressing yourself out." Can I get an amen?

miggy said...

Hooray for being open and honest and telling it like it is. Again, I only have one (as you know) and even though we're students I wasn't SO worried about money (we're supposed to be broke and living on loans) but you know I've struggled and I think the main thing that has helped has been telling other moms how hard it is for me and getting that validation back. I was so desperate for help I HAD to tell people I was struggling. And it helped. Yes, there are some moms I know who seem so unphased by it all and just seem to drink it up, but they also didn't have MY baby (she was pretty fussy) and in general our situations were just different. I have totally beat myself up about "why can't I keep it together when so and so seems to make it look so easy" or "I need my husbands help more than most new moms" or just the general stress of being a new mom and not knowing what the freak I'm doing. . . You wrote to me! You remember!

It's just tough. . . and I'm sure with each child I add it will still be tough. Now that she's 3 months things have gotten better, but just last week I had another bad day where I found myself wondering "have things gotten better?" It messes with you, that's all. The guilt, the hormones, the lack of sleep . . . it all messes with you. (Plus the all the work crapola). Good luck and hang in there!

Rynell said...

Bless you, sugar.

My second baby was the hardest for various reasons, including joblessness and an emotional something or other like extreme blues.

We survived, things improved. We even had a 3rd kid and that adjustment was better than #2 baby.

What I'm saying (albeit in a wordy manner) is I feel for ya. Really.

Your honesty is refreshing.
Bless you, sugar.

c jane said...

Ahh faith is a bitch.

Emmie said...

Amen, C Jane. Amen.

Azucar, you are amazing and I love you.

sarah k. said...

Gosh, this all sounds so familiar. Except I didn't even try to go back to work, and I still can't do it all. But my mom always tells me that it will all get better in 15 years. (Just like that bastard OBGYN that kept telling me "You'll feel better in about 8 1/2 months, don't worry about it.")

But yeah, babies.

Rachel C. said...

Azucar -I've been thinking about you all day since I first read this post.

I have no idea what all of this feels like, so I fall short with words.

Sending prayers and thoughts and online hugs your way.

sue-donym said...

Say this out loud three times every morning.
"I’m giving myself permission to be upset about how everything went down".

I feel for you, I hurt for you, and I totally understand the part about mourning your job. And about trying to keep it all together when in reality "I don't care if there are people starving in the Congo, my life sucks right now!"

You are one of the strongest people I know, and your children will be forever blessed by that. Leave out what doesn't fit right now, let yourself feel all the emotions, and pray, pray, pray.

It does get better.

April said...

Awww... I'm sorry you felt unable to post about this sooner. Hopefully now that it's out in the open it won't feel as difficult to get through, especially knowing how many of us (strangers!) are thinking of you, praying, caring about you. Best of luck! {{hugs}}

Melody said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing. As the sole provider of my little (now almost all grown up) brood, I have to say that the baby-raising wasn't nearly as hard as the bread-winning. The pressure is crushing.

I decided long ago that one of the blessings of testosterone is the distinctly manly drive to get out there and fight the dragons - so the women don't have to pump breast milk, straighten the bathroom, hug the toddler then get out there and fight the dragons. .. by the way, I've had times of Deseret peanut butter ... some of the most painful and blessed times of my life.

God is great. And so are you.