Monday, October 29, 2007

Every day, I am split in two.

Small hands reach for me every day. Hands attached to a being who trusts me. A person who hasn't spent much time on this earth, but who is experiencing it largely through the prism of my home. Which is shared with him, and his father, and three pets. All this child knows is that Mom is his caretaker, his noodge, the source of his nicknames to date, the one who monitors his DVD viewing and his snack intake, the giver of baths, the reiner-in of the repetition of untoward phrases learned ("dirty trash can full of poop" and "pecker face" come to mind), the chauffeur, and the reader of books and fixer of toys. He knows that Mom is a laundress, a dog-walker, a cat-box scooper, a baker, a mac-and-cheese maker, a pancake-making supervisor, and the lady who puts on the GhettoFunkPowerHour for him to dance to every so often.

Oh, and Mom happens to sing - though he doesn't want me to about 95% of the time - and she also happens to teach occasionally. And Mom types on the computer a lot. Mom also kvetches about her bubble being invaded when she's typing on the computer.

Anybody see the fault line here?

Yeah, I want to get out of the house more. I just don't know what the hell I'll be doing with myself when I'm out there. The last full-time job I had nearly fried my brain and burned me out, big-time.

The last craft show I worked with my ex-boss was simply a final demonstration of what I was gratefully leaving at that point...and, because my quitting involved my husband's job skills taking us to the northeast, I wasn't burning any bridges with Ex-Boss and inviting various curses, ailments, or pin-pricks from a voodoo doll with my hair on its head (hell hath no fury like my ex-boss...) to affect my person. I was able to extricate myself from the job with only a touch of annoyance and remarkably few to no hard feelings. She hated craft shows, but she got to especially hating this one through a series of events that simply happened.

We were in a quonset hut at a sprawling convention complex. The show was a garden show, but we figured we had some good glass tcotchkes and some metal fountains that would sell well, it wasn't too hard a trip to take to get to the place, and we didn't have to set up a tent, as the show was indoors.

The first mistake was letting the woman in the booth directly behind ours piggy back onto our electrical hookup we needed for the fountains. She needed it for the video monitor she was showing of her copper kinetic sculpture sprinklers, objects that can be staked in your yard and hooked up to a garden hose. When the water is running through the sculpture, it turns and waters your yard.

The next mistake, according to my ex-boss, was even coming to the show in the first place. Sales were not going well for us. The glass hummingbird feeders weren't even doing well. It was just a bad show. It happens sometimes. Spring was a bad time of year to try to sell stuff. The crowd just didn't have the disposable income for the work we presented. Ex-Boss, however, treated it all as though it was proof positive that the world was out to get her and take her livelihood from her. And it all started with letting the woman in the booth behind have access to our electrical outlet.

The ranting and railing against the woman behind us, whose only crime was having more sales than we were having, was of truly childish, nasty proportions. The only thing that kept me gritting my teeth and holding all of my frustration with the ranting in was the consolation that this, too, would pass, and I would be leaving it all behind shortly, thanks to my husband's headhunter and my morning sickness from hell. Otherwise, I would have burned my bridges with Little Ms Steinbrenner right then and there.

Some days, the only difference I can see between dealing then with the ex-boss and dealing now with the little guy is the large age difference between them and the fact that I'm not getting paid by my son, or anybody else, for that matter, to take the crud he dishes out. I'm going through a period of time with him right now where I feel as though it will simply be the same ol' ordering around of Mom (and the admonishing of the little guy by Mom on proper manners) and the constant in-Mom's-face for the next God-knows-how-many years...his age will be the only change.

And I can't just walk away permanently.

The things about getting out into the job lots that I am dreading having to deal with: the fact that I will most likely have to miss many, many days due to my being the only kin located close by that my son's school can call on in an emergency (like the accident he had in his pants today), that I will most likely be penalized in one way or another based on that fact, and - worst of all- that I will end up with another childish maniac of a boss who will think I am so much of a loyal stalwart that my pay can be delayed or passed over to the next month because, hey, I'll understand her cash-flow situation (Yeah, I was a total idiot for those last two months. Shame on me, dammit.).

Work sucks.

Motherhood does, too.

Rock and a hard place. Managing two evils, or staying with the one right now. Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn't be putting my darling child into the realm of being called "an evil", but sometimes I am just waiting for his head to spin around.

Do I really want to see if another employer exhibits the same signs of being possessed?

Answer: not right now.

I'm gonna listen to the little guy talk about his imaginary friend, Skipper the penguin, instead. He's even drawing some great pictures about Skipper's life. I just hope the term "pecker face" stays out of the story. My ex-boss had the gutter mouth, but she just didn't have the imagination...


Pistolette said...

I'm still struggling with this one. I plan to stay home with the spawn right now, but in the past I've become depressed when working from home. I worked as a freelance writer for a few years and I wound up taking the job I have now because of cabin fever. Though now I miss the flexibility of my time, and the reduced stress of working from home (though I suppose that will change with bebe ;-) ). Anyway, the plan is to go back to freelancing after baby, at least temporarily, but I certainly do wonder how well I will handle it - and for how long.

Leigh C. said...

My uncle always had a hard and fast rule concerning employment: if you don't like where you are in five years, it's time for a change. If I were to look at Little Guy-rearing as strictly a job, well, the kid's gonna be five soon. I'm getting reeeeeally restless, now.

The big problem is that kids are much less predictable than most employment situations out there. Let's hear it for our genetic material!

The long, long road home,New Orleans said...

Here is a friendly suggestion. If he is not school age yet try putting him in a part time day care if you can afford it. Or some daycares offer services by the hour. Send him for a hour or so and take time for yourself. Have coffee, or get a facial. You absolutely need that time.

Leigh C. said...

He is in full-time pre-K now. I have put him in aftercare for an hour afterwards. This is simply the first time I haven't had a part-time job or taken a class or something since his first seven months of life. Just trying to figure out my next move is all...

Sophmom said...

You've answered your own question in your comment. Just dip your toes in the water: take a class or find some part time work (even perhaps temporary). It will help you decide and may lead to something down the road. It's all cumulative. I will say (since you asked) that being his mom is very important work. You'll be surprised how soon he won't need you nearly so much. I think all mothers wrestle with these questions from time to time. Keep the faith, darlin'. You're in excellent company.