Thursday, December 2, 2010

Race, little rat, race

Here's one of life's great mysteries: How on Earth do so many people maintain careers -- some even advance in their careers -- while raising happy, healthy, well-balanced children -- without going completely batshit crazy in the process?

Are those people who are advancing in their careers not actually raising happy, healthy, well-balanced children? Or, are they actually batshit crazy and just hiding it well?

I'm thinking yes. We're all batshit crazy, yet some hide it better than others. And it's becoming more and more apparent that I'm not hiding it well at all. In fact, I hugged my new boss today -- who is not at all a hugger -- and watched my colleague's face distort in horror as she shook her head and joked "We don't do that in our group." I'm reviewing this moment over and over this evening, feeling completely unprofessional and ridiculous, and wondering why the hell I hugged my new boss. Hugged her! In a meeting! With an interviewee present! And the only reason I can think of is that I have finally cracked.

But it's understandable when one considers my recent jarring return to the rat race, right? How the hell do so many people do this?! In the last two months, since Chris went back to work, I have had to
  • wake up every day at 5:30 a.m. to feed the baby, then get myself ready for work and Hayden ready for school
  • hustle to make it 22 miles to my office by 7:30, work a full day that involves cramming 5 people's worth of work into 7 hours, then shuttling back up the highway at 3pm so I can meet Hayden at the bus stop every day (I actually carry my cell phone in my pocket with the alarm set to ring at 2:55 every day so I -- and everyone around me -- know it's time to go)
  • telecommute on Mondays and Fridays with my baby at my side because we couldn't find full-time daycare that we could afford right away
  • work out all details of daycare arrangements for every day, including finding someone who could babysit Jake every Tuesday until we could get him into the daycare 3 days a week, then hounding the daycare director weekly until she squeezed him in to a more permanent schedule
  • take care of the evening routine solo 3 out of 5 nights a week because of Chris's work schedule --this includes homework, piano practice/lesson, cooking and serving dinner, feeding baby, playing, wrangling, bathing both boys, settling Jake into his crib, then reading and snuggling with Hayden (and don't forget most evenings also come with some negotiating, whining, and room-sending)
  • coordinate every aspect of every day's schedule for both kids -- this includes scheduling doctor and dentist appointments and friend play dates, filling out school forms,writing teacher notes, etc. (even if Chris is doing the drop-off or the doctor's visits, I'm the one who handles the details)
On top of this, I'm transitioning to a new role at my workplace next week, and I've been anxious and amped up about that and all the other big changes at work. So when Jake came down with sinusitis this week, I really started spinning: Neither of us can take time off right now, but our baby is so sick! What do we do?! And then I had to sit on hold for over an hour with the doctor just to get an appointment... then we had to figure out who could take him to the doctor this morning... and I had to get my dad down here to stay with the sick baby all day... then I got trapped in traffic trying to get home from work... then I had to stand in line for 30 minutes with a rammy 5-year-old waiting for the baby's medicine -- when really all I wanted to do all day was simply lie in bed and snuggle the feverish, glassy-eyed, rattly coughing, snotty-nosed 8-month-old!

I, like so many other moms and dads in the world, work my money-earning job from 7:30 to 3, then work my love-earning job from 3:00 to 8:30. I get a tiny bit of break time between 8:30 and 10 pm when I finally crash and sleep hard. Then wake up and do it all over again. And again. And again.

However, I realized this week that my bosses at the love-earning job are way more demanding and difficult to please. And it's a much more stressful workplace. Which may explain why I hugged my new boss at my money-earning job today. I got confused. I thought, wow, this is nice -- someone who speaks full sentences and doesn't whine or screech and hasn't pooped on me yet today! She deserves a hug!

At which point the new boss probably thought, damn, this one is batshit crazy... glad I didn't offer her too much of a raise just yet. New boss probably should be relieved, though, that I didn't give her a sticker for being a good listener or praise her for getting her shoes on the right feet.

6 comments:

ccox said...

Hang in there. You are not crazy. I think more adults should support each other with a hug every now and again. Things do seem more stressful around the holidays because you have decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. on top of all the "normal" working mommy things to do. This weekend I want you to take a deep breath, drink a glass of wine, and have some Tori time - a bubble bath, reading a book or whatever makes you happy.

TallGirl said...

Thanks, X-ti. I will do that.

And I hope everyone who reads this knows that it's not really meant to be a whiny, complainy, ranty post... this is life for about 99% of us. Just every now and then I sit back and think, whoa!

Christy said...

Speaking as a mom trying to keep sanity between the work and home thing I must say you have 1) been thrown extra challenges into your mix lately and 2) you are doing a great job managing it all. Also speaking as the colleague with the "horrified look" I felt guilty the rest of the day because clearly you needed the hug. The boss didn't look horrified and that's all that mattered. I'm sorry if I made you feel bad about it. You amaze me each day, and you've taught me many lessons about being a mom. I can't wait for monday--I'll be giving you a hug when I see you.

Kaylee said...

Amen, sister. Batshit crazy is my new normal ever since I had kids. Hugs to you, and to your non-hugable boss too. You are doing a fantastic job. Make sure you take time for yourself!!!!

MPWife 153 (Heather) said...

Don't feel bad T, even us SAHM are Batshit crazy! There are days I secertly wish I had a money-earning job to run away & hide out at for a little while!!

paddyandhenrysmom said...

Oh, can I relate to your post! Somehow we never manage to withhold some of Ken's meager PTO for use in Nov/Dec, which is when the kids get sick time after time after time and it all falls to me to juggle. For the better part of the last 5-6 weeks I've been out of the office to wipe noses and butts and administer medications both oral and topical. Sigh. I'm burnt out, my friend. It's come to the point where we realized P's b'day is less than a month away, and Ken and I high-fived each other simply for having survived this long with our wackass schedule. We're down to the dregs of our energy right now, yet somehow we always catch a second wind. And a third, etc. ;) At least we are all in good company, right?