Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Circle of Mommy Guilt.....

....SUCKS! Lets me just say that. I quit working full time to stay at home and enjoy my 2 kids. To love on them and not pay someone else to love on them in my absence. I wasn't making much after the cost of daycare was taken out of the equation, even less when you factor in gas, pantyhose, makeup, dress suits, etc. So, it was in our best interest for me to stay at home and just cut a little bit out of our budget to survive. We did just that. Barely survived. We had just enough to pay bills, eat, and occasionally treat the kids to a cheap dinner out. Bonus checks usually went to paying off the credit card that got us through unexpected things like Dr visits, new tires, car repairs, etc. We lived debt free (except the house) and we survived. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do that. BUT......I had no adult life. I had my chores down to a daily schedule....Grocery shopping Mondays, Floor Tuesdays, Bedsheets Wednesdays, Laundry Thursdays, Deep Cleaning Fridays. I cooked dinner every night. I hid vegetables in the kids food. They ate healthy lunches, and we had the occasional play date, picnic lunch, Museum, zoo, etc. I scrapbooked, and we did crafts. There was no preschool, no dance, no extra curricular activities. Life was good. But, I also had very few friends, little to no adult interaction, and I was bored. Eventually, we did budget in the gym for me, and preschool for Kaylee, and then preschool for Brayden, but it was still tight every month. I clipped my coupons every Sunday, and made my grocery list and menu for the week. I was a normal.STAY.AT.HOME.mom. I put that in caps because we did just that......we STAYED AT HOME!

So, I started making bows. Mostly to save money and have Kaylee wear a matching bow for every outfit, but I started to sell them. It was OK...but it was strictly for fun, and I wasn't making anything....just enough to cover my costs. I broke even. It was a craft/hobby but not a business. Then, after Grayson's birth/surgery/recovery the opportunity presented itself for me to take over a rhinestone company (who ironically was going out of business because she didn't have enough family time and got too busy). I took over....seeing the potential money involved, and now that I had one in elementary school, seeing a way to keep myself busy(er). Brayden was in preschool, Grayson was an infant, and Kaylee was gone all day. Why not?

Fast forward one year later.......

I feel like I have no time with my family. I am constantly working, catching up on emails, trying to keep up this blog, trying to keep my house somewhat clean and organized. My laundry gets done when someone runs out of underwear, socks or I run out of bra's (and for the record, we all have more than 2 weeks supply). I am lucky if I get to the grocery store once a week for milk. No menu, we play dinner by ear, sometimes making sandwiches or giving the kids cereal. I haven't scrapbooked a page since Grayson was born. I never get to the gym. I don't eat because I forget. I don't sleep much because there is always something to do around the house. I very rarely get out to visit with friends. Grayson barely knows what a park looks like. We spend a lot of time in the car, trying to get errands run while Brayden is in preschool. I feel overwhelmed.

So, I question.....is it worth it?
Do I stop?
Do I continue?
How can I change my hectic life?
How did I manage before?
Is it the third kid that made my life crazier?

My struggle is that I do it all for the kids. I make money! I get to stay at home (and notice its not in caps, because we are never home), I get to spend every waking moment with my children. BUT, it's either in the car, dropping off or picking up from 2 different schools at 2 different times, rushing to the grocery store, rushing to Walmart or Target for paper goods, cleaning goods, etc. (and I laugh when I type that because I keep buying cleaning supplies, but it's been forever since I've used anything other than a kitchen counter cleaner or dishwasher/laundry detergent because Chris has been doing most of the cleaning for the past year).

I felt so proud that I was able to pay for Christmas all with my earned money. We did not have to budget it into Chris' paycheck, not a bonus check, and we didn't have to charge it and use our tax refund for any of it. I.DID.IT.WITH.MY.HARD.EARNED.MONEY! Yet, I still question if it's worth it.

Do my kids misbehave more now because they want more attention from me or is it just their age and their lack of naps/constant on the go? Do they feel like they are getting all that they deserve? Do they feel our love? Do they think I am still a super mom?

I have no idea. They don't answer stuff like that and if they do, I question the honesty, or if it's just "what I need to hear" at the moment.

Kaylee enjoys dance. If I quit, she would have to give that up. Brayden would not be able to go to preschool. Grayson would not go to preschool. I could not shop. I could not go out to dinner with my friends and have a drink. Would I even have any friends? Would I be too boring? My life would go back to boring and I would not have much adult interaction. But would the kids be happier?

So, my options are this:
1. Sell the business, and go back to a tight budget. Spend more time with my kids and husband. Clean house daily. Always have laundry done. Always cook dinner. Plan a menu. Make my silly lists. The cons are that I would have done this all for nothing. We would not be able to take small trips, and the kids would not get to do anything that costs money, and would I even be able to break even, or would I have a loss?

2. Cut back, only working 4 hrs a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Grayson is in preschool next year. Keep going, but take longer to pay off the debt the business has incurred. Take longer to possibly making my dream of opening a store front in town a reality, or having someone beat me to it. The cons are that I would not be able to take on the smaller onesies and twosies jobs that bring in the bigger jobs later. I would not be able to have a fast turn-around on my customers deadlines. I would not be able to do every request, only certain ones that bring in more money. I would lose a lot of my customer base, and how hard would it be to get those customers back later on when all 3 kids are in elementary school full time and I have more time to devote to it all?

3. Keep going, keep my crazy hectic life, and keep the kids in preschool and dance with no time to do anything. Pay off all the business debt this year, and possibly open a store front within 3 yrs. Pay myself a paycheck, and enjoy it.

Then I question if the kids would understand that if I sell.... this means no trains, no dance, no eating out, no new toys just because. They certainly don't understand "mommy has to work now so I can buy you new toys".

Will they hold it against me later in life that I stayed at home, but had little time with them? Would they enjoy the fact that mommy owns a store and that's how they can have new toys, new trains, and the ability to go do things at any given point? Will they grow up and say "My mommy stayed at home with me and we had lots of fun and we have a wonderful relationship" or will they say "mommy stayed at home but was always too busy to play with us"?

This Mommy guilt sucks. I don't know who invented it, but I don't like it. The best solution would be to win the lottery, sell the business and hire a maid......HA! I just can't shake the thought that "you never get back these times when your kids are young and enjoy just being with mommy" or "You can't rewind time and get these precious toddler years back" and that's what makes this decision so hard.

I really enjoy what I do. I am a creative person by nature, and I really enjoy getting to explore my creative side. I enjoy the compliments on my work and I know I do a good job. I enjoy the financial freedom we have now, even though I am not really paying myself yet, so it's not a lot, but it's a little here and there. Would I still enjoy life if I gave it all up? Would I still feel accomplished on those days where I do manage to get a load of laundry done, cook dinner AND get 3 designs done and press 75 shirts? Would I sleep more? Would I get fat again because I eat out of boredom? Would I really enjoy free time, or have I been accustomed to my crazy busy hectic life for so long that I wouldn't know what to do?

I have no idea. I'm just rambling and ranting out loud. These are my thoughts. These are my feelings. Now they are out in the open instead of bottled up inside of me.

Chris says "whatever you want to do, I support you". While I admire that quality in him, and I love and adore his supportive nature, it's absolutely no help. (And I say that with a grin because my husband is a man of few words, so it's sooooooo just what Christopher would say) I am sooo not good at making decisions that affect others.

Guess I'll go ponder my thoughts a while longer and see if I can actually get any work done with this toddler crawling up on my lap, turning my computer off, pulling my hair, and poking my eye while saying "Iiieeeyyyeee....Mooommmmyyy" or sticking his finger up my nose while saying "no?" I love these little stinkers.


Anonymous said...

First... take a coffee break when Grayson is napping and the other two are in school.
Second...take some deep breaths with your eyes closed and tell yourself that you love yourself and your family.
Third....wait for your heart to tell you what is right for you and your family. Whatever is right will be full of peace, fun, love and mercy.
And you will be smiling!!!!

Amy said...

Hey Tiff! After reading this post, I realize you may not have time for what I'm about to say ~ so no worries if you aren't able to do it! Anyways, I gave you a blog award over on my blog. It's silly, but it may take some time to come up with a few outrageous lies...I guess it depends on how good you are at coming up with them! Again, if you don't have time, it won't hurt my feelings! I hope you're able to have peace about your work & Mommy time!

Nursing Life said...

I completely understand your frustration - I don't know if it is possible to get a good balance between home and work. I have been through the various options. I worked full time with my kids still small, then part time then I gave up and stayed at home. after a whikle I did a little work which grew into far too much and I was back where I started. In the end I gave it all up and stayed at home. No regrets but I do feel that I have no personal life. However I do know that my kids like it better when I stay at home.
I hope that you manahe to find the right answer for you and your family.

infant girl clothing said...

waw...waw...waw... Amazing!
Your blog keeps getting better and more better! a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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