Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Work At Home Mom

I am at Starbucks, with limited time to punch out some work.  But I had to just stop, and once again hammer out my thoughts before I move on.  Unfortunately brain dumps come in packs.  It seems like once we let the dam down and the water flow, it just keeps coming and coming. 

So as I drive on to Starbucks this morning, a babysitter at home, Eleanor happy to have a fresh face to play with, I realize how excited I am to tackle my to do list.  I am nearly giddy with the anticipation of a full work day.  (A clean report at the dentist this morning only adds to that excitement!) 

I am trying to take stock of what I'm feeling lately.  It seems that I have lost a bit of direction in my life and I am constantly questioning my choices and decisions.  And so recognizing how I feel in every situation, I can only hope, will lead me to better decisions. 

Lately I have been questioning my role as a Work At Home Mom.  Guys, this is hard.  Balance isn't easy to come by when your working environment is your living environment.  And when you have the personal choice each day to pay for a babysitter, it is easier to force myself to keep her home with me and try to do it all simultaneously.  We know where that leads.  Nobody gets 100%.  Only a fraction of my attention.  Eleanor suffers.  Work suffers. 

And so I set out with the idea to find more structure.  Determine days that Eleanor would ALWAYS go to the sitter and therefore allow me to focus on Girls on the Run.  And then a curve ball came out of left field.  My wonderful, amazing, talented, dear babysitter has a new job.  She won't be keeping Eleanor any longer.  And so I want no one else to have her either. 

I have perused, Craigslist, Facebook and more.  I have toured day cares and researched preschools.  There are many options out there.  But I want Shannon.  Or nobody at all.  (Shannon, this is not meant to be a guilt trip, I promise!  I love you and I am excited for the new journey you are on!) 

So rather than guilt trip Shannon, I have guilt-tripped Alex.  Demanding to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom.  Not wanting the constant pressure of work combined with the constant pressure of being a mom.  (Jennifer, don't be alarmed, I am not leaving my job!)  By unleashing on Alex I try to displace the pressure I feel on to him.  There, let him feel the pressure and how hard it is! 

Of course, this isn't fair to him either.  He is an amazing husband, a wonderful dad, and a great provider.  He does so much for us.  And currently, our joint providing roles works really well for us.  Honestly, I enjoy the breaks I get from being a mom, even if those breaks are filled with Girls on the Run.  Also, Alex is such a great dad.  And we enjoy our time with him so much.  I don't think I would trade the time we have together for a bigger job and bigger salary. 

And yet, this desire to stay home and focus on Eleanor.  And my inability to find a caregiver that is worthy of time with my daughter.  Shannon was good.  She and I are so similar, I just knew that Eleanor was getting everything with her that I would have given myself.  I model much of my parenting after Shannon, so it made so much sense for Eleanor to be there.  Forgive me, because I'm selfish, and I just don't want Eleanor to be with anyone else.  (Ok, maybe one other person, if only she would take the job!)

Then, on the other hand, my work.  Girls on the Run.  How could I leave it?  I love it.  Even when the pressure is mounting and I feel stretched beyond my capacity, I am giddy to sit down at my computer and communicate with others about this amazing program.  I love to visit schools and see the girls and be encouraged by their beautiful spirits and amazing gifts.  I admire the volunteers that commit their time and I realize how much I truly enjoy the stimulation and fulfillment my position brings. To lose Girls on the Run would be to lose such a big part of my identity.  Not to mention a big part of our budget.

Practically speaking I am not sure that is a lifestyle I want.  I wouldn't be able to justify this Grande Cappuccino (although I purchased it with a gift card-- which actually was a gift for doing a giant project for International, so plainly speaking I wouldn't have if it weren't for my job after all).  I certainly wouldn't be able to justify the babysitter that I'm paying at home to spend some time at the coffee shop.  My job gives me "me" time.  Do I really want to give that up?

And now I discuss all this forgetting a very important factor.  What is God's will for our family?  Is it that we take a pay cut, that I'm able to be home with our child(ren)?  That we learn to lean on God for every provision, instead of banking on a paycheck?  Or is it His will that I am a working mom. Struggling-yes, but enjoying the benefits of being at home while also working for Girls on the Run?

This dilemma plays itself out in my head over and over each day.  Right now I know where I am and what I am doing.  This year I will be working and staying home with Eleanor, so finding a babysitter is inevitable, and I really should get on that.  But what does our future hold?  Where will we go from here? 

I feel dangerous typing this post out.  I know that members of our board of directors keep up with the blog.  Possibly even members of International.  I know that Shannon reads, and maybe even that other potential babysitter I spoke of before.  My husband reads.  My best friends read.  Coaches for Girls on the Run.  And more.  I don't want to sound ungrateful for my position, or that I don't love it in every possible way.  I do.  I love working for Girls on the Run.  I love my job and I cannot imagine another position more perfectly suited for me.  I am grateful.  But I am also exhausted.  Pressured.  And I need a babysitter.  And I just really needed to get these thoughts out of my head.

Now, to be productive with the time I have left here at Starbucks.  I am after all paying by the hour to be here!

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