I don't really want to talk about it. I try my best not to think about it too much. There's no answer that doesn't suck and the whole thing makes my stomach hurt. So I avoid it as much as possible and just get on with my day. Until it rears up unexpectedly to slap me in the face and leave me holding back tears at my desk or behind the wheel or wherever I happen to be at that moment.
Most recently it was my dad. He was in my neighborhood and had some time between appointments. He called to see if I was home and could he stop by to see his grandson. When I told him I was at work and Bo was at his babysitter's, my dad's response was, "Oh, he has a babysitter now? I don't like that one bit. But you gotta do what you gotta do." To which I responded, "I don't like it either".
Thanks Dad. Because this is really a conversation I want to have out loud. Because I'm not already tortured every day that my baby boy is cared for by someone else as I sit at my stupid desk and order socks or remove salt from pretzel sticks. Because when I walk to the Fedex box and see babies crying and their nannies trying to console them I don't worry about my son and if he's crying and if his lady is consoling him. Because I don't want to scream with jealousy at the girls standing in the bakery discussing their latest playgroup gossip over their ridiculous strollers as I frantically fix myself a cup of coffee on my schlep to work. So thanks Dad, for bringing it to my attention in the middle of my awesome day.
My job has always sucked. My boss is a walking, talking cross between Michael Scott and Mr. Pitt. I do nothing remotely important or meaningful during my day and never have in the almost 5 years I've been here. The thing is, before Bo, I never cared. I was Jim Halpert to my boss's Michael Scott. Frank's own work schedule is always shifting so missing weekends was no big deal since he was usually at work too. The pay for putting up with the craziness made the 14 or 15 hour days (and 100+ hour weeks) totally worth it. There were also perks galore like shoes with red soles and a personal trainer. It was a good gig.
Now I'm working only part time. Fake. Part time by the standards of this job still means one 10+ hour day a week, really being firm about when I have to leave, and still leaving at least an hour later than planned. The upside is that it's not every day. The downside is no regular person would call the work schedule I'm keeping these days "part time". There aren't as many perks. There's a new girl keeping most of my old hours and now she gets all the extras.
I tell myself that I would go crazy staying home all day, every day with the boy - I tried to write as much in this space - but it wouldn't be true. The days I leave him with the sitter and go to work are so sad for me and I count the minutes until I can leave to get back to him. I'm having a terrible time trying to balance it all (like every other working mom out there I know). There are days where I feel pushed to the floor by the stress of trying to figure out a way to maintain everything.
We could most likely get by on Frank's salary but it would be hard. It would involve more sacrifice than we're willing to make. I don't want my husband working himself to death with overtime, missing his own time with our son so that I can stay home. And I like going to work. It feels good to put on nice clothes and leave the house. I like contributing to the family coffers. I also believe it's good for Bo to get the socialization of other people and other kids.
(I'm going in circles with this post. Can you tell I'm just trying to work my shit out by writing it down?)
It makes me angry and sad and bitter that I have to leave my son with someone else to do this. This nothing of a job. This glorified babysitting of a man old enough to be my son's grandfather; older than my own father by 7 years. This job that requires no specialized skills or abilities, only never ending patience and absolute devotion bordering on co-dependence.
I used to be a teacher. A really good teacher, I don't mind saying. I worked in a terrible school in an awful neighborhood on purpose. The conditions of the school were bad and the pay sucked. I made a difference every day just by showing up and I loved it.
I had an interview a couple of weeks ago with my old school district. I'm going back in January.
It's a trade off to be sure. My work schedule will be five days a week instead of 3 or 4 (or 5, if I'm honest) but I'll be done every day by 4pm. Nobody will call me at home at 9pm because he can't figure out how to switch from cable to the dvd player (swear to God) or because he needs help in drafting a mean email to his ex-wife over how she mothers their children. My weekends will be my own. Bo will technically spend more time with the sitter but not really, since Frank's days off are during the week most of the time. It's going to be hard and thankless.
I can't wait.