Finding Joy? Balance? Am I nuts? Where does mommyhood fit in? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-08-2010, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm having a bit of a working/student/mama crisis here.

I work ft, and I supply about 85% of the family income. We struggle to make ends meet every month, and I love school. My kids are now 6 & 8 and finally both in public school & the same daycare. For the first time I have some give in my schedule.

So I found a grad program that I was really excited about and applied (last week). Just took the GRE today.

In part, I feel like I'm "manning up" and supporting my family and actualizing my dreams and potential. But in part, I have been so tired and run down that I haven't been able to enjoy my kids.

I will have to continue working full time if I am accepted. Plus the additional class and commute time. And homework. And stress. And all of the normal household stuff.

If I wasn't so in love with my kids maybe it would be easier. But I love my girls, and I like to be "hands on" and spend a lot of time with them. With this application and studying process, I felt so far away from them. And so grumpy.

Who's with me here? What did you do? What will you do? Any tips or tricks?

A little extra note about my situation- I had my kids when I was young and just starting out my career. I wasn't planning to get pregnant, and the transition was really hard for me. I lost my friends. I wasn't able to follow my career interests. I couldn't make ends meet and racked up a debt. Now I'm older, they're older, and I feel like I'm getting my life back. But it's really hard trying to figure out how these two disparate worlds fit together.
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#2 of 8 Old 01-09-2010, 02:33 AM
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I share your feelings almost to a "T". I also earn about 85% of our income, DH does NOT want to be a SAHD and he leaves for work at 5am. I work in Senior Management for a global company with a lot of stress and high volume of work. I'm on my own with the boys (2 and 5) getting them up and out in the morning (a nightmare almost every day) and getting them to daycare and school on time, (one more year till they are at the SAME school - Yeah! - if I survive till then...).

Every day I drive to work in tears, angry at myself for yelling at my kids to get dressed/eat breakfast/get in the car, frustrated that they want to dilly-dally and "play" and I can't (b/c I'm rushed no matter how early I get up), annoyed at myself that I didn't get more organized the night before, AGAIN, and stressed b/c I risk being late for a meeting, stressed b/c my Preschooler peed his pants in the car, AGAIN, stressed b/c he doesn't want to get back in his car seat after taking my older son in to kindergarten, and just generally totally overwhelmed, exhausted and fed up. And did I mention that the laundry, groceries and tidying were not done?

Every day I tell myself "something has to change", but I don't know what or how to make it better. I've hired someone to come in weekly to do laundry and clean and I often order groceries online, but it's still all overwhelming, and I wish I had more time with my kids, and I feel guilty, and I feel like life is passing me by, and I wonder what it's all for if not to spend time with my kids...

I turned 40 in December and suddenly I'm petrified that I'm going to wake up and be 60 (or 70 or 80) and my kids will be grown and gone, and I'll be asking myself, where did my time go? Why did I spend it all rushing around to get them off to daycare, so I could go work at some job I hate, for a company that could care less, (where I'm replaceable), just to get money to buy "things". Why didn't I stop and spend more time with them? Why didn't I savour every moment and be with them more?

But then I can't imagine quitting my job, selling the house and living below the poverty line (if we lived just on DH's income). I can't see how I'd be happier. In my job now, I have 6 weeks of vacation and work close to home and many other perks, so I should be able to have a better kind of balance.

Sorry for my rant. Just wanted to say I share some of your feelings!
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#3 of 8 Old 01-09-2010, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I know exactly how that feels!

((big hug))

For the longest time I was doing pick up and drop off, and the kids were at different schools. There weren't enough hours between for a full work day. I was always coming up short at work and always frustrated at pick up and drop off.

Finally dh and I had a talk. I told him it was fine if he didn't want to go back to school, but he has to acknowledge that I'm the breadwinner and support me.

He still works two jobs and crazy hours, but he handles either a pick up or a drop off every day, and I'm able to be at work enough. A total godsend!

I hope you catch a break soon, too.

I guess I caught a break and went crazy with all of the stuff I wanted to put into it!!! All of the stuff I was putting off.

It's crazy. Living at that frenzied pace.

I try to really focus on the "Be here now" principle. Enjoy where you are when you're there. But joy is really elusive when you're so overstressed.

(I didn't just reread my original post, and I may have just repeated myself a lot.... Sorry if I did!)
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#4 of 8 Old 01-09-2010, 01:18 PM
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I often wonder how families make things work too...myself included! How do Mom's afford to STAH? How do working, student Mom's keep good relationships with their families??

My Dh is in school full time now, but even if he wasn't in school and could work full time, he's never made enough that I could stay at home. I'm a nursing student now and I work part time. I made this decision because I thought it was better to get a career I like that I could tolerate doing for a years and years, would be better then trying to live off of thin air for the rest of our lives!

Now that I'm in this path, I really like the idea of grad school like you, QueenSheeba's Mom! But also feeling the guilt to go on. I feel torn between getting a really great career and being around for my family. My ds is almost 3 now. By the time I graduate from nursing school, he'll be 5. If I decided to do grad school, I can't even apply until he'd be 7..which would mean a lot of years missed it seems. I feel like I don't spend near enough time with him right now, and he tells me, "Mommy, I'm mad at you because you don't take care of me"..It breaks my heart!! Both my parent's worked full time my whole life, and I just remember how much I just wanted my mom to stay home and hang out with me! It makes me sad when I think about all these things..but what can you do?

He does spend a lot of time with Dh, who is home a lot more than I, but I feel like he needs his mom too!

Sorry..just thought I'd join on the frustration vent!

Student nurse Mamma to Kaylum (3/01/2007) and wife to computer nerd DH .

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#5 of 8 Old 01-09-2010, 04:16 PM
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My general comment is - you can have it all, but not all at the same time.

I personally would not want to put a demanding educational programme together with FT work and child rearing unless I desperately had to (you didn't say what it was, or what the debt repayment schedule would be on this new tuition, etc.).

This is as much my personality as anything I guess (and my husband works long hours), but I find my focus is split enough as is; I want time to be with with husband, and my son, and enjoy our home and all the rest of it.

If it were my question, unless it were all online or something, I would wait until the kids were a little bit older and more independent (not needing daycare, basically). Then I'd go for it -- and model for them at that age how to study, etc., just as they're coming into high school. It might be a valuable time to be discussing that kind of stuff.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#6 of 8 Old 01-10-2010, 12:13 AM
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Chiming in to agree with the PP.


When I was working FT, I was bringing home about 40% of our income, so it didn't compare to your finances. Daycare costs were, depending on the season, up to 2/3 what I made. My dh travels for his FT job, we have a small farm and two children, and I was that person--I was the pick up, drop off, breakfast-lunch-dinner maker, livestock feeder/waterer, homework supervisor, bath-giver, snow shoveler, garden waterer...I was wiped all the time and making up the work time on weekends, too. So, I downsized my job to PT. It was a little better, but then we started the home projects--renovations, more gardens, etc. I could simply not do it all anymore.

I quit my job. And I cried over it. Because I enjoyed the work, the colleagues, the clients, the satisfaction, and bringing a paycheck felt really good. With both kids getting to school age, I told myself to just hold on, hang in there...but I couldn't. I was at the end of my rope.

It's been a great 4 months since. We have not suffered financially, and we have been lucky that dh still has his job. But this week, my job came back to me. I actually got a new offer from my same employer. It's the same work, but a new position. I'm a flex worker now. I don't need to report to the office. I likely won't have regular hours, but rather will fill gaps as needed. I could work a couple weeks and then have a week or two (or 6?) without work. I know it isn't the same as a family-supporting career, but I wanted to share my incredibly fortunate, positive experience. I feel so blessed.

I don't know how it is going to work out, or how much I will need to struggle to defend my boundaries, but I am going to give it a shot. I still have a dh who travels, a farm, two school-agers, and two other passions that I refuse to give up (running and fiction writing), so it will always be a careful balance. But I have this opportunity and would regret not trying.
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#7 of 8 Old 01-10-2010, 12:39 AM
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It is very hard to find balance with that kind of schedule, but it is possible to find joy. It's in the small moments, in the goals you set and the possibilities that you see ahead of you. There may be times where it looks like it's overwhelming or you feel completely defeated that there is *no choice*, but you are building a future here. It isn't forever. And every once in a while, take a day off, skip a class, take the kids out of school and play hooky together.

You can't do it forever, but you will get through it. I know you can.

Single mama to one active lil pill, aged 6. Getting my Masters in Counseling while playing as much Farmville as possible
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#8 of 8 Old 01-10-2010, 10:11 PM
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Single mom with cooperative X ... living the working ft, grad school (required for job), and family manager life -- it is harsh for me and for my kids. Just been off for two weeks and I didn't yell at my kids until the last couple of days.

That tells me -- this set up is too much for me and for my family. When I work I am toxic mom, when I don't, I'm not.

Problem is ... I don't have a solution ... as a single mom I have to work. Hoping for small changes: grad school will be done in one more semester, hope for a job at a school closer to home to reduce commute and a smaller, school to reduce the class load I teach.

Family first, that is what my principal says. Well, if I truly lived that ... my job would not get done ... lots of hours of work at home ... trying to push back a little, but it is hard.

Family first -- but mean it!

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