Wednesday, October 07, 2009

the king has spoken

And what he has said is, "Quit your complaining!"

Because I tend to be obsessive about certain things, I've been checking the comments on my previous post every 10 minutes for the past four hours for some nugget of wisdom and based on the overwhelming input ... crickets ... I guess most people would have to agree.


I'm healthy. Charlie is healthy. The children are healthy. We have a steady income. A lot of people are a lot worse off. Our 'house' isn't the problem. (At least I don't think it is.)

Heck, I'll stay in a small house forever. It's the working full time and feeling like I am missing out on my children's life, that keeps me up at night. It's the desire that I have to be closer to my family on the east coast. It's the huge job opportunity I received yesterday that would require us to move in the next four to six weeks and have me reporting to an office every day from 8 to 5. It's the feeling like I have very limited options about what to do and if I don't go down this one certain path, I'll crash and burn and take my family with me.

Why am I so afraid?

And how do single parents, or women that work full time handle it all? My God. The kids. The house. The meals. And then I start thinking about school and the homework and the activities and the ....

My head is ready to fall off my shoulders and roll right out the front door.

I'm working. My kids are growing up lightening fast. Suddenly, I feel like I'm missing it all.

All I want to do is sit back and make paper rings with our children.

And then write about it, thereby preserving every memory.

Because wow - that seems so up my alley at this point in life.

Charlie can have the high powered conference calls about petroleum hydrocarbon migration in fractured bedrock. That's what he wants to do, anyway. He is a man. He wants to work. He needs to work. He couldn't be home for two weeks without starting up his own company. Then there's me. I am a woman, I want to stay home and ... MAKE PAPER RINGS WITH MY KIDS.

So what if I have a bachelors and a masters and a highly coveted professional registration and a job that most people in my profession would give their right arm for?

Boo hoo that I absolutely stink at sucking it up and taking one for my family.

(And how dumb am I that I actually tell my boss these very things?!)

Today, when I was working out at the YMCA, I happened to see a woman who had Down's Syndrome. She was flipping through the pages of a magazine and laughing, deliriously. There was something about the Oil of Olay ad that had her in stitches. And then, when she flipped the page and was looking at an advertisement for Gatorade, I thought she'd fall out of the chair. I called Charlie and told him about what I had seen. Here is this woman, laughing about ads in a magazine. From my perspective, she didn't have a care in the world.

When my husband asked what my point was, I told him, "It's the first time in my entire life I'm feeling a little jealous that I don't have an extra chromosome. Seriously. I've never seen Trisomy 21 look like so much fun."

Alright. I'm off to breathe in a paper bag. No more whining. This issue will not be discussed again. Until it is.


  1. This is heartwrenching. I can't imagine how much anguish you are feeling right now. But don't forget that they start school next year and if they are in full day kindergarten, you are only missing out on a couple hours of their day.

    Except Henry. Ugh. You must feel like you are being torn in two.

  2. OK - here is the deal. Charlie is starting a great company. You should follow your heart - not your head. Charlie's company will grow and do well and hey - guess what - you 2 do the same thing. If your job goes away eventually - you can work for Charlie if you need some extra $$.

    Take it from me. I was in the same place. I had the stable, big company job - and Derrick was the entrepreneur. It took all my strength to not take the job offers I've gotten over the last year - not do the SAFE thing - and do what my heart said to do. I stayed consulting - stayed flexible - stayed available to do what I want - be with the kids. Its the best decision ever.

    Derrick's job is working out. Charlie's will too. You'll see. Its meant to be . . . . .

    Yours in tripletness . . . and working . .. and worrying . . .


  3. Jenny, there's not a lot anyone can advise you. All I ever wanted was to leave school, get married and have my children and stay home full time to raise them. I'm really happy to be able to say that's just what I did. I had to work hard to get my kids, they didn't come easy, but I scored with twin girls the first time and a son the second time. I stayed home and raised them. We didn't have everything we wanted, heck, we still don't but I have three wonderful adults to be proud of and I still miss their babyhood, toddlerhood and even the teenage years LOL. If you want to stay at home and be with your kids, do it. They may not have the latest toy, you may not have the big home, but you will have contentment and you can always go to work again when they are older if you choose to. If I were you, I'd send them to school, but be there for all the little things like Mother's Day Stalls and Fetes and helping with reading, sports days... Just suck it in cause it doesn't last long.

  4. Hey Jen,

    I've been meaning to write you a message after your past few posts but my computer time has been really limited lately.

    I think figuring out the balance of LIFE once you're a Mom is extremely hard and so challenging. I'm home FT with my girls still, but when we had them we were hoping we'd be able to make 6 months work until I would need to go back to work (where I would make a paycheck). It's been 3 1/2 years and I feel so fortunate. But I also feel a tug at times to get back into the classroom, contribute more financially (I started babysitting 18 month old twins last January 2x a week to help with that), and then there are times that I NEED to be away from Ella and Zoe before they drive me nuts. Then when I think about going back to work again (actual work with the paycheck) and it's hard for me to even picture not being a part of their life each day -- even when they are driving me batty : )

    This Fall I was actually offered a really sweet PT job at my old school. For two different reasons I decided not to take it, and am really glad I didn't now that our new Fall routine has started.

    So, no answers here -- I just know it's a hard one. And I think blogging is such a great way to think through things too : ) So keep it up, and keep posting the pics of your cuties -- LOVE those!!

    Have a great day!

    Have to mention, the post you wrote about your trip to SC really caught my attention. The connections you make with people is AMAZING!!!

  5. Dear Jen

    You think too much. WAY too much. Please don't take that comment to be meant unkindly. It is written with the kindest of intentions. You see, I am an over-thinker. I am among the worst of this variety.

    Far be it from me to tell you what choice I think you should make but I will tell this: in my experience, things always work out one way or the other no matter how much or how little I agonize over them. And no matter how dire they may look. We have faced some of the worst situations imaginable short of the very worst--serious health problems, thank God. And I've learned that, as long as we and the kids are all healthy, the rest is just details. And it has always worked out. For 18 years, no matter how bad it's looked. I say this only to point out that making fear-based decisions that go against your heart aren't always the decisions that will make you happy.

    Oh, and one last thought. I've been reading your blog for quite a long time now and I get the distinct impression that Charlie will always provide for his family, no matter what. His dedication to his family reminds me of my own husband. And I know I can trust my husband to look out for us. I'm thinking Charlie is not one bit less reliable. Just a thought. Good luck with this tough call.

  6. I hope you discuss this issue more. I like seeing you work it out (or not) and while you are at it, I assess my own life and value system.

    Discussing and wondering is different than whining!


  7. Be thankful you *have* a choice, even if it's a difficult one. So many people don't. Regardless of what you decide, your children will love you, your family will survive, and life will go on. Good luck whatever you decide!

  8. What a decision you have to make. I think it's been quiet because it's such a toughie. I had to go back to work when my son was 3 and it was hard. But in the end it was fine. I would have loved to continuing staying home with him at least until he started school. But it turned out he loved pre-school - he'd cry when we came to pick him up. Being a working mom (especially with small ones) isn't easy - but it is doable. I wish you all the best on whatever decision you end up making.

  9. BlackOrchid10/8/09, 9:05 AM

    Okay, I don't have any advice for you, Jen, not really. Plus I'm really trying not to give out my annoying unsolicited advice so much lately!

    All is well, all will be well, all manner of things are well - right?

    Anyway I just wanted to make an observation, now that my older child is in school and doesn't "need" me so much anymore . . . and yet I spend exponentially more time on her needs than my younger son. School takes time, activities take LOTS of time, keeping up with homework takes time . . . sleepovers? parties? movies with friends? take my time, even if it's just as a taxi driver.

    Unless your kids - any of the three of them - aren't going to play a sport or dance or take art or music classes - you are going to be MORE busy when they're 6 and 7 and 8 than you are now.

    A good friend told me this when my kids were both little and I was tearing my hair out, and I was SO MAD at her. But she spoke the truth, damn her!

    On the good side you will get some daytime hours to recoup. With Henry helping, of course. Oh and this is if you don't homeschool, which you probably will anyway . . .

    Oof! this stuff is hard! Fun, but hard.

    (I sometimes laugh at ads like that too but that's cos I work in advertising.)

  10. These are the struggles of our daily life. I have the same concerns and it ebbs and flows - sometimes it seems overwhelming and sometimes it seems manageable. It's okay to stress out about it - you don't have to suck it up all the time.

    Something that I have to remind myself of regularly is not to get ahead of myself. If you take this job, it doesn't mean that you are NEVER going to get around to having a life where you sit around and make paper rings with the kids, it means that you aren't going to do that right now. But you can promise yourself to revisit that decision in 1 month, in 6 months, in 1 year.

    Anyway, good luck with your choices. Know there are plenty of us out there that feel your pain.

  11. To answer a very small part of your very large thought:

    I'm not a single mom, but my husband is away for 15 months, and I work full time with an hour commute each way. And here's how I do it: figure out what matters, and let the rest fall away. And you know what? Laundry does not matter.

    (I don't usually link to myself, but I've given this a lot of thought and don't want to leave too voluminous a comment.)

  12. Honestly, if you want to be home with the kids, and you and Charlie both agree this would be best for the family, and Charlie can support the family (even if that means he needs to find a new job), then turn down the job. Your heart is telling you what to do. I always wanted to stay home with my family but had a huge career and made the bigger income before we had our twins. I never thought we could afford for me to be home, even though that is what we both wanted. After returning to work when my kids were 4 months old, I was laid off three months later. When I came home that day and told him the news, my husband actually said "Thank God!", and that I should make peace with no longer working and let him take care of us. He was right, and almost two years later we have somehow made it work (and have even moved into a bigger house!). Point is, you know what you want, you just need to make it happen, no matter what it takes. Good luck to you.

  13. I feel your pain! I don't have an answer for you, but can relate. Ever since we started trying to conceive last spring, work just doesn't seem as important as it used to.
    Our son is 7months now, and I would abosultely love to be a stay at home mom. If there was any way to work it out financially, I would in a heartbeat. Like you though, I'm the financial provider for our family (and hubby just got laid off a week ago). More than once I have cursed getting my bachelor's degree cuz I got too good of a job!

    I'm clinging onto the hope that for #2 I can at least drop down to part-time.

    Ah, well, enough complaining from me!

    Good luck with your decisions!

  14. Jen,

    You are so much a part of your children's lives. You care. You are not a mother who dumps her kids and runs to work barely caring what they are up to. You have been there for the triplets first five years and for the first 2 1/2 years of Henry's life (well, almost 2 1/2 years).

    You and Charlie have started all your children off with a solid foundation of understanding your core family values.

    Having raised three children who are now 22, 20 and 17 I think if you have the ability to be home with them during their middle and high school years those are THE most important years to "be there" for them. My 22 and 20 year olds who are now in college have thanked me for being able to be home with them during those critical and difficult years. I have to say my 17 year old is not thanking me yet, but in time I believe he will come to feel the same way as his brother and sister.

    Good luck with you decision.

    NT in Northern NJ

  15. Does the job get your closer to SC? Can Charlie start his business anywhere in the country? If those are both "yes" - why not go for it? You will be the bread winner for a little bit longer and once Charlie is up and running, you may be able to work with him and have a more flexible schedule.

    I work f/t and have a 45 minute commute each way. It's hard because I feel that I'm missing my son growing up. But what matters is making sure I provide for him and we have had to discuss that I need to go to work and why - and he matters. So the house is not as neat and tidy as it needs to be. I e-mail my friends and catch up on FB instead of meeting them for drinks and dinner and my marathons are on the back burner...I'm okay with that.
    Your children learn their values from you and especially your daughters need to see that when you need to you can stand strong and do what's best for your family.
    Good luck.

  16. I can relate to the anguish only too well. I went back to work full time last July, to a stressful job while my husband finished graduate school. I did this while my youngest was 6 months old. I have always struggled between finding a way to stay at home and still finding a way to prosper and grow. My biggest difficulty has always been my inability to stay present, I am always looking for a way to meet all of the needs for my family and myself, thus causing myself great anxiety. Currently, I am getting ready to drop to 32 hours a week and I am hoping that having 8 extra hours a week with the girls will do us all some good. I don't think there is a easy or right answer. Single parent, married-we ALL struggle with getting it all done, getting a half-way decent dinner on the table and then wind up to do it all again the next day. Good luck..and know that you aren't alone in the dilemma of how to be a mother in this day and age!

  17. I was in your shoes only two years ago. I was promoted to VP at a large bank (age 26) and still climbing. I had worked hard toward this goal of climbing the corp ladder since starting to work for the bank at age 18. All the while, I managed to get through college and the mater's program. Then... I found out I had a little girl on the way. After missing weeks here and there of her first 6 months, I made a decision nobody (husband included) approved of. I took a job as a part time pharm rep making a third of my bank salary. My company was bought months later and I was jobless. Stil... BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE. It still shocks me to know what I threw away, but I have gained so many memories during her childhood that will last us a lifetime. She will never know the successful corporate executive mommy that was tired, gone a lot, and always complaining. She will remember the mommy that was happy, worked hard and was successful in a different sort of way. We learned in a very short amount of time how to live on less money. I know everyone does not have the opportunity to be home with their kids, but if you do... why not? Honestly, the adjustment to spending more time at home has been harder than a career!!! It must all be part of God's plan, and if you pray about it then you will know what to do.