Identity Crisis

Who else has had/is having one of these? Right now? This very moment?

I promised JB that I would play Mario tennis with him tonight, so I’m trying to write this super-fast. Last week, he and I had a conversation like this:

Me: Hey, if I start a graduate program next fall we can write preschool off our taxes.
JB: What in the world would you get a degree in?
Me: (feminist hackles rising) What the hell difference does it make?
JB: Well, it would need to be something good for the family.
Me: (internal feminist standing up and punching her fists) GOOD FOR THE FAMILY?! What about my ambitions? My dreams?

Now, here’s where I have to stop for a moment and mention that I don’t so much have true, career ambition anymore. While I really enjoy (miss) using my brain for good and not poo, that whole go-to-work-every-day was a bummer. Then there was the work-became-my-hobby problem. In that, JB was right (sshh…don’t tell him); I can’t really check out on my kids the way I used to check out on him, nor do I want to (most of the time). At the time of the “discussion”, however, my internal feminist was not listening…nope, she was too busy flicking her lighter at my bra and screeching about unfair it was that it was only I that had to make these concessions. If JB were to tell me tomorrow that he needed to pull longer hours because of a work deadline, I’d have zero options other than acceptance. I felt that bra smoking and my mouth went flaming right after it.

There is no reason to bore you with the details of the 2 hour long fight/argument/discussion that followed my rather flippant mention of graduate school, but I did come away with some eye-opening realizations.

1) My dream of going back to work when the kids start school is sort of unworkable. School-day hours are sort of incompatible with corporate-life. Which is then further complicated by whatever-the-hell will happen to our joke of a school system–meaning I might be on tap for physically driving kids to and from a school that ain’t around here.

2) I do have a problem with doing whatever my employer asks– that Army-brat work-ethic thing, I suppose.

3) Working stresses me out, even before having kids. I have issues getting people out the door to preschool and play-dates. But somehow I’m going to do all that and be, like, dressed for a job? Without loosing my mind and going all Hulk-smash on everyone? It seems unlikely.

4) Already I am semi-bitter about being the one who Knows All About the Small People. I’ve become raging mad over unpacked snacks, or missing juice bottles. Or that I’m the one who has all of the kid-related knowledge (doctor names, clothing/shoe sizes, foods, fears). Let’s amplify that bitterness with working and sick days. Because I’m not going to forget the balancing act of getting kids out the door– which means I’ll still be mostly responsible for not forgetting stuff. And considering my oldest Small Person was not in costume for a Superhero party, and I was running back through the door this morning for Show-n-Tell… well.

5) Dear JB, even when he’s thinking how lame I am for serving bagels with strawberry preserves (hey-they were homemade!) and cream cheese for dinner, didn’t have to take any time off of work today for preschool and ENT obligations. Even with as uber-helpful as he can be, he wasn’t the one at the grocery store buying healthy snacks this morning, nor does he notice when the children outgrow their clothes. He doesn’t know that Zach takes allergy meds at night now, or that he hates certain clothes because of the tags. And it’s not like I can just start working and forget all of those things. Which means I’m going to be working, and still doing all that other stuff, which is just going to piss me the hell off.

Um. Yeah. I’m really not interested in the retail thing, or the bank thing. Not unless people are hungry and my alternatives are living with either set of our parents. So, family-friendly job flexibility in 2012.

Knock-knock… Sweden? Can I come in?

3 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. Ah, yes, we have this conversation about every six months or so. Of course I WAS in grad school when we carelessly got pregnant with baby #1, dropped out fully intending to go back, realized it didn’t make any sense at all to not only pay tuition but also pay for day care for me to get a Masters in Social Work, which obviously wouldn’t be leading to oodles of money, so stayed dropped out (and I was so damn proud of getting into UNCs to ten program, too!!) Grrr. Still frustrated about the whole situation, but at the same time, going back to work full time sounds hellish if I’m really honest with myself. I’m a total perfectionist, either my work or my kids would get sloppy seconds from me.

  2. I think about grad school every now and then. And then I remember that the type of fiction I write (which is pretty campy) really wouldn’t benefit from me having more expensive paper. I drink too much beer to write literary fiction.

  3. Ha, I showed a grandmotherly lady I know my momsrisingNC card, and her response was “We’re still advocating for open and flexible work!?, We were doing that thirty years ago”. We may need to get all Hulky-smashy.

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