10 August 2010

Throwing in the towel - another SAHM gives up...




And, yes - I am thinking of heading back into the workforce fulltime (after some years in freelance work here at home). I have thought about it for a long time - even interviewed for jobs when I was 4, 5 and 8 months pregnant with Lilliana - then again when she wasn't even two weeks old - just days after my c-section and on driving restrictions, I ignored all post-surgical warnings and ventured out, bent on getting that job (and I almost did). At the time, I was scared I could not handle a new baby with such small boys and a grade schooler - no family to help - hubby working long hours and traveling. But... I did make it work. I tried so hard to be a good stay at home mother - attentive, loving, productive - whatever.

Truthfully, my kids deserve more than what I can give. They are spirited, eager, sweet and loving. By contrast, I am cranky, angry, weepy and frazzled lately. I am not worthy of being home. They will be better off in school, responsible and nurturing daycare situations and / or after school programs with their little friends. Others can do it, but I am totally unable to manage the demands of a high schooler, a kindergartner, preschooler and toddler - too diverse - I'm spread too thin, and.... while I want to make it work, I'm thinking I just can't. I am a bad "CEO of the Home" - ineffective (though - kudos to you who are successful).

Over the past few weeks, I've ruined more dinners than I've cooked (poured a whole container of peppercorns into some corn I had just cut, buttered and salted on the stove and got my poor Enzo and Lil excited about - burned roasted veggies - over-reduced sauce - dried out some chicken - under salted my kids' beloved mashed potatoes) - I've yelled more than I've cuddled (and today was awful - no one would listen - while shopping for field hockey supplies for Olivia, it was tantrum after tantrum - and I intensely dislike being the mean Mommy - can't even enjoy lunch out with the kids because I've lost control and no one wants to be around me anyway) - and it appears they are more excited to see Daddy or big sis, Olivia, at the end of the day anyway (who wouldn't be - I am no fun - all work and no play these days). I am kidding myself with this SAHM thing. I am not good at it. A couple of "signs" (conversations, chance meetings, serendipitous memories or connections...) over the past few days have convinced me that it is the right thing to do, so .... will probably need to decide what to do with my silly old "mom blog" too ;-).

I'm sad because I will so desperately miss them during the day, and I'm disappointed in myself for failing so miserably, but... I'm trying to stay positive and... do what's best for my kids, of course. They don't need to be around cranky, tired, overworked, mean Mommy - I need to direct some of that to some co-workers who might deserve it ;-) - and, yes, I do realize that I am using the winking emoticon like punctuation again - hard post for me - have to keep it light ;-).

Anyway - off to Kennywood tomorrow where Enzo will ride roller coasters - Milo will play games - and Lilliana will be amazed, all of it new to her. Olivia is bringing a friend and is excited - hubby took the day off. We are meeting my cousin and her family (and possibly another cousin :-), so.... I'm excited too. I am not from the area, but my Dad and his family were - so... back when I was a kid, I do have memories of Kennywood - riding coasters with my Dad and uncle (the cousin I'm meeting is younger than I am so was a baby back then) - I remember the picnic lunch my Grandma would pack..... Should be fun.

Photo: Me and all my kiddies plus a couple of silly summer scenes.... Images seem kinda more important now that I know this may be the last summer home. Hmmm...... a new emotion.... sniff?

One last thing (a little lift): Women 40 somethings and 30 somethings outselling 20 somethings on magazine covers (and becoming top earners in Hollywood) - even though demographics should say otherwise - here. Hurray! Maybe I will actually get a job with this kind of trend :-). Hopefully .....

Gonna need support on this. Hard decision for me.

9 comments:

Facie said...

I had a particularly trying few hours on Monday. Bad time at the park in the morning (J was cranky and disrespectful; I took more of it than I should so she could get exercise and fresh air); then worse time in the evening (more rudeness and just ignoring what I wanted).

In both cases, I responded in a less than the stellar way. I actually told my kid that I was going to apply to this job that required frequent domestic and international travel. I said she would be better off without me around so much. I can't write it so it will sound as bad as it really was, though mentioning that I threw flash cards across the room probably helps!

My mother had three kids, and she never acted like this, which I told her yesterday (after I was lecturing her about some things; talk about a role reversal). For whatever it is worth, I am sure you are doing just fine. How can you possible manage to always be "on" with four kids? I suck at it a lot of days with only one. Being at home, my house is not a whole lot neater than when I worked four days a week. I may dust every two weeks now instead of once a month, but nothing else has changed, much to the displeasure of my hubby, other than I also do the grocery shopping.

Hang in there!

TKW said...

Wow. I really, really wish I could give you a hug right now. You are so brave to put this out there, to acknowledge that staying at home just might not be the right thing for you or your family. Admiration out the ears for you at this moment.

Kim said...

Hey Sherri-sad to read this post...not because you want to go back to work, only you can make the best decision for you and your family, but sad that you feel like you failed. It is so easy to get bogged down and feel like you are the only one not doing things well, especially when looking at others who don't have the load you carry. The truth is, we all have those times of mommy guilt and fears that we have screwed them up. I especially felt this A LOT when my kids were younger and Ron's workday had an extra 3 hours tacked on for commuting in DC! It's hard raising young ones, even when you have support through friends and family. I like what you always say about ebb and flow. I will be praying for you to find balance in whatever path you take this year. Just remember you aren't alone and you haven't failed. You have given your kids a foundation of home...perfect? No, never heard of the perfect homelife. I just pray that God will use my shortcomings to develop character for their purpose in life and not be reason for therapy later! :) Hang in there! Oh, and I agree with TKW...it took courage to post this. Thanks for your honesty. I intend to get back to blogging soon. Total slacker with all our summer stuff!

Mendy said...

I'm gonna be totally selfish and say don't go back to work b/c I need a buddy!

Seriously though, as someone who sees you and your kids a lot, there's no way you are failing at the SAHM thing. You do more stuff for your kids than most moms I know and you always have this reserve of sympathy for them that I can never find in myself. You are being way too hard on yourself:)I have a friend that always tells me I am the mom that my kids need - and I would say the same to you.

That said, I completely believe in doing what works for you. I have several friends that feel they are much more effective parents when they are working full or part time. think of all that adult time! No more monkeys flinging poop -- wait is that just my house?!!

Linda Pressman said...

Sherri, I can totally relate to this post. I've never been my own ideal of a perfect mom and I have always been extremely grateful for the love (and training) of the daycare and preschool teachers who taught and loved my kids so well, and whom we still know. Because of what happened with my job I actually QUIT my job just when my daughter was starting Kindergarten and my son 4th grade and, actually, in retrospect, that turned out just fine. I find summers extremely trying and yet know that with all the multiple demands of the school year - from sports to the Jewish holidays that just keep on coming!- I need all this flexibility now.

So see what happens. I never have thought of myself as one thing or another, stay at home or working, because I've been both and in a woman's lifetime sometimes one thing will be the right thing and then it won't. But know we'll be here for support no matter what you do!

Sue said...

My mom always told me summer was a vacation for everyone but The Mom. And she was a very good mom.
Children and adults in my house are cranky because of the heat and lack of structure. You can only play Legos for so long. A job a few days a week might be just what you need. Whatever you decide, I totally agree with Mendy's comment: You are the mother your kids need. You'll make a good call on this one.

Sherri said...

Wow - thanks, all. I was gone all day yesterday and ... came back to all this support and input. So - I guess we all feel this way... wanting to find something to do (that elusive career) and trying to figure out how to make the days that we do have - work. Facie - throwing flash cards? Yeah - totally been there myself (only can't remember what I threw... hmmm... let me think....). TKW / Linda - thanks for the support either way - because, really - the kids DO seem to benefit from that outside interaction and... yeah - sometimes and, yeah, in evaluating it all, sometimes you do have to acknowledge that just MAYBE this isn't right for me / for them (even if it is the opposite - like actually quitting the job). And, Kim and Sue - you guys totally know how to put it in perspective for me (maybe cuz you knew me when the thought of me with 4 kids would have sent you both into fits of laughter). Oh - and Mendy - I think I will still remain the "buddy" - not sure anyone will hire me, AND .... would miss that neighbor part of my day like I would miss the kids. I spent hours after this post stepping up, not just the fulltime search thing, BUT the freelance stuff too, thinking that MAYBE just my state of mind / sense of purpose needs a boost and... everything else will fall into place. Right? Wait - don't answer that :-).

Emily said...

I had written a really long comment about caregivers and parents and being on the clock 24 hours a day and it wasn't making the sense I wanted it to. But what I say to caregivers who feel guilt about changing their circumstances and placing a loved one in a facility is: You matter, too! Your happiness, and health, and personal and professional fulfillment, and everything else, shouldn't have to be put on the shelf indefinitely.

Sherri said...

Emily - You know all too well about that - putting your all into the care of someone else. It is true, though - you have to take care of you before you can take care of anyone else. Hard to see in your own life sometimes, isn't it?