Thursday, June 19, 2008

Behind the 8 Ball

I am about to confess a lot of personal stuff here, so reader beware.

I just started a new full time job a few weeks ago. This is transitioning from being a full time student and full time parent with a few part time jobs that added up to like 2 full time jobs, now into one full time job. You might rejoice with me and say hooray! I am happy. The new position is extraordinarily intellectually stimulating, challenging, and I get great benefits. I was made aware right from the beginning that it was not a 9-5 position, and that flexibility was inherent in the makeup of the job, which is good because, as the mother of a small child, I need that. Cool. Given that the year my son was born, and until he was 1.5, I worked about 50 hours a week, I am pleased about this.

But I am having an internal fit. I need to work often from 9-5, which means I barely see my kid.

I know this sounds spoiled, but I was on the bus on the way to a meeting today and saw all of these moms that were taking their kids to the playground and I literally turned green with envy. Let's not talk about the fact that I often find the playground boring and that there are so many preening, entitled mothers and so many nannies who refuse to speak to the moms there that I feel suffocated and isolated (was that a run-on sentence or what?). I was just jealous. I wanted to be with my little boy. And I know he misses me, he's been really clingy of late (since I started this new job) and we haven't seen each other as much as I would have liked.

So today, in my 40 minutes with my therapist--why on earth does she not ever apologize to me for being 10 minutes late with a previous patient?????? And yes, I am in therapy, more confessions--I talked about this. I realized that I associate time with my son with leisure time, and that when I see these moms with their kids I want that leisure time with my son. It is NOT that I want to be a stay at home mom. I do not want that at all. I just want the leisure time with my son and I am confusing the work of a stay at home mom with the leisure time I perceive it to be. All because they look like they're having fun, they get to wear casual clothes and hang out at the playgrounds like I do on the weekends.

Plus, OK, let me say it here; I want another kid. Then what do I do? Maternity leave isn't going to be good enough. Am I going to want to stay at home then? Unlikely (as I didn't the first time and I am now the primary wage earner). But then it would be double the challenge of being away, harder and harder. Not to mention that it was hard to get pregnant with my son, and I'm going to have to take a lot of time off of work to go to the fertility specialists on a regular basis if I even want to try for #2. Too many confessions. And too little time already spent with my son.

I feel trapped behind the 8 ball. In that dark shadow there waiting to be hit really hard by the pool cue of reality. That cue is chalked up really well and I am ready for the drop into the pocket out of order.... Am I making sense? Unlikely. I suck at pool.

I wonder, bottom line, if we are ever satisfied with our portion. The mishna from Pirke Avot rings in my mind all the time these days: Aizeh hu ashir? Mi shesameach b'chelko. Who is rich? The one who is satisified by his portion. I am totally satisfied. But yet I feel like I always need to be looking at what everyone else has, and judging their portion, comparing it to my own. Coveting what I don't have. Likely, coveting what I don't even want. But the grass is always greener.

I need to get some thoughts of my own and stop with the un-witty apohorisms...


Maia said...

You should talk to your therapist about those ten minutes - that's really unprofessional and you're paying HER. I understand what you're talking about though. Thanks for writing - I don't have any answers.

Shtetl Fabulous said...

I know it wasn't your intention, but thank you for writing this post. You have articulated so many of the emotions I'm going through, even though I'm in a different stage of my life right now.

The sense of worrying about a future that could or could not be is insanely exhausting and frustrating. I'm not married and I don't have kids, but I want to do both and it's scary as hell to wonder and worry if and when either will happen for me.

Thank you for taking the risk and making the confession. While it might not solve your problems, please know you're giving solace to others.

Ima Shalom said...

Some of us shine best as moms when we're able to do other things with our time as well. I'm sure your son doesn't feel any less loved for it, and that a second child would feel that love--and the love of his older brother--and thrive too. The perfect scenario definitely doesn't exist--all we can do, I guess, is fight valiantly for balance.

Maya said...

Congratulations on your terrific job! On your terrific, fulfilling, stimulating job that is mostly flexible. And on your fabulous portion. I'm sure you deserve it.