Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The Working Mom
I feel like I need to preface this post with a magnitude of disclaimers. Truth be told, discussing the issue of a mom working outside the house is an extremely controversial one. I am not wishing to stir up any strife, or state how I think everyone should view this touchy topic. No, I am merely using my blog to express some tumultuous emotions that I have been experiencing of late.
I have started to write this post many times, and then backspaced through it as I thought of people who might read it...judging me.
But this morning, I have decided that I need to post this. I need to discuss logically how I am feeling and see if I can find an empathetic soul who perhaps has felt this same way and has some advice/words of encouragement for me.
Here's the deal. I work outside the home- part time as a high school instrumental teacher. This is my third year teaching. I am at work every other day (M,W,F one week T,Th the next)
The schedule is actually a really great mom schedule. Ideal, really. It gives me the chance to do something that I love to do (and have two degrees for) and yet still spend a substantial amount of time with my baby.
The problem is- this past year has been so, so stressful. The heart surgeries, the doctor's appointments, the therapy visits, the lack of hope, the joy, teaching Addison to eat on her own and getting rid of a g-tube, adjusting mentally to the fact that my life has taken an unexpected twist through the child that I was given. That list could really go on and on.
The physical and emotional energy that I have given to Addison since she was born to us last Feb is everything that I have.
The weird thing is, now that things are calming down with her health- she doesn't have as demanding of a doctor's schedule- it's like everything is catching up with me from the past year.
Everything that I went through this past year as a new mom, I did it with a smile and got through it because I had to. I had to be there for my daughter.
But now, it's like everything has hit me for the first time. I am paralyzed with stress. Everything I look at or attempt to do, makes my heart start beating faster and I feel my pulse start to race. (this is so odd to me. why is it just now hitting me hard? addison is now healthy.)
I sat by while my daughter was being operated on three times this past year, and felt pretty much no stress. I guess I just knew that everything was going to be OK. I knew that God had the surgeries under control.
But now as we have fallen into our family's new normal, I find my own balance tetteering out of control. My desire to do different things has shifted to wanted to help my daughter in every way possible. My passion for music has changed into a passion for being Addison's mom.
The reason I am posting this is because I am desperately trying to grapple with why I am feeling this way. Why for the past month or so, I have been so extremely stressed at the slightest thing. Why the things that I used to love to do now seems insignificant to me.
Why I feel that perhaps the working mom thing isn't for me. If I had had a "normal" child without the physical and developmental difficulty, would I feel differently? Perhaps. I don't know.
But here's the problem. Over my break, I have come to this conclusion. Addison takes all of my emotional energy as well as recovering from the stressful past year. I feel like I have nothing left to give to my job.
But I have to keep working to carry our health insurance.
How do I compromise these things? I feel like I need time to just figure out myself again. I need to somehow get rid of this giant weight of stress pressing down and threatening to crush the life right out of me. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I honestly have been struggling with this.
It's not that I'm feeling guilty for leaving Addison with our wonderful PCA on the days that I work. No, I feel guilty that after I come home from work I have nothing left to give to Addison.
Being a teacher in a young music program is extremely stressful. Especially with talk of such extreme budget cuts for the next year. I find myself swallowed up by a magnitude of stress every time I just walk in the doors of school. Is it as stressful as I am making it out to be? Not sure. I just know that everything that I view now is viewed through stress colored glasses- no a stress colored magnifying glass.
Please don't judge me. Please don't post placating remarks if you have no idea what I'm talking about.
But if you have experienced emotions like these- how did you work through it? How did you drum up the emotional energy for a special needs child as well as a demanding job?
How do you give them both the attention they need without feeling like a failure at both at the end of each day?
I know I usually don't post such a needy post, but for me to past on a smile and pretend like nothing is wrong would be me lying to myself.
Also- apologies for using the word "stress" so frequently in this post. I know good writing means mixing up the words used, but the melody of my life seems to revolve above a drone of stress.
Any and all encouragement would be appreciated (except for the forementioned placating ones)
Thank you in advance.