Last time I wrote, over 3 weeks ago, I had just started working again – huzzah! Call me crazy, but I love working. I like knowing that I am expected and needed somewhere outside of my home. I enjoy drinking copious amounts of coffee as I dress, primp, and drive to work. I really love being good at something other than keeping children alive. Earning a paycheck is pretty nice, too. So I write all this about my happiness with employment, but I’m going to be completely honest – working is exhausting.
I forgot just how exhausting it is to be a single working mom (even though my situation is only temporary and intermittent). I say I am tired every minute of every day, so exhaustion is not a new element of my existence. I wake up, get coffee, and it is go-go-go all day long with the kids, daycare, driving, working, errands, homework, notes to be signed, chores to be done, animals to attend to, and the list goes on. I finally sit down at the end of the night and want nothing more than to read a book and fall asleep. Even then, there is always something to do or tugging at my mind. Between my brain and my body, I am operating at full capacity for myself and my children at least 18 hours a day. I get sleepy just thinking about it!
Do I regret working? Absolutely not. I have too much schooling and too much student debt to not use that hard earned education. I feel stagnant and unfulfilled at home, even though I know that being a mother is important, too. Working and a career provide me with an outlet for my mind. It allows me to do something and be something outside of wife and mother. I like interacting with people and making friends with my coworkers, and I need interaction outside of my children. I love contributing financially to our family, and it has always been my plan and OUR plan to both financially contribute to our goals in life. So working is absolutely important and vital.
Do I miss my children? About 75% of the time, yes. Honesty, right? Most of them are in school during the day anyways, and I think they enjoy the time with other children as much as I enjoy the space. My last two positions have allowed me to work during the week and daytime, which gives me nights and weekends to still be with the family. Andy and I have always been clear that so long as we are a military family, one of us has to have a job that is stable and with flexible hours for our family; if my job did not provide this, it would not work as Andy’s job is the opposite! So I think that I miss my children and family a healthy percentage of the time while still enjoying my work.
Do I wish I was not working? NO. I would still be exhausted without a job to go to. I have 4 children! I’m also currently alone, meaning it is just me as the adult. Work only changed the demand on me, which means I am still trying to find that balance for myself. I am happy to report that the girls are doing well in school and have adjusted to me being at work (they love asking about my day, since I see animals all the time). Leo loves his sitter and his friends at daycare, and he is going to start a larger classroom style setting in a few weeks that is closer to my office. Andy should be home soon, so the stress and pressure of doing it alone will lessen (until his next TDY, of course). I have survived hellish afternoons of commuting in Hawaii and can navigate rush hour with the best of them. I love my office, my coworkers, and my job.
In the end, it is all worth it – the space, the work, the demands, the paycheck – and soon I will find that balance again. But for now, this is my genuine excuse for a long absence in writing. I’m just too damn exhausted.