Sunday, December 2, 2012

Living Per Diem

I am so blessed. Like God has blessed me and my family in ways that I cannot explain, fathom, or understand. But Lord, I need your help. I am NOT stay at home mom material. It is too hard. There is SO much pressure for everything to be perfect. And you know that I am not. And I think I'm going to crack under the pressure.

Pinterest does not help. You see things that people are doing or pinning. Now whether or not they are things that that person has done or plans to do, I feel like if I am not doing them, I am not being a good parent. There are so many things that I could do better, or do more, or bake, or craft. Pinterest does not help with the pressure. It makes it worse.

Life is not perfect. Like these pinterest cupcakes...things don't work out like you plan sometimes.

This is a really hard post to write because I have friends who wish they could be stay at home moms, but for financial or personal reasons, they are working. It is so hard for me to explain to other people sometimes that I don't need to work, but I choose to. I am a better mom and wife when I am working. Writing it down and putting it out there for the whole internet to read forever and ever is hard because I feel like it makes me a bad mom. But here it goes:

I don't want to be a stay at home mom.

When Troy and I are in transition times (when we are moving, Troy is in training, or I was waiting to take my board exams) I don't usually work. There is so much to do during those times. And getting hired at a hospital (my job of choice) is really time consuming for about a month. During these times, Troy and I fight a lot. In addition to the added stress of moves, I turn into a rabid dog. I have this unsettled, unaccomplished, restless feeling that I can't shake. And I take it out on Troy because he gets to "escape" and go to work.

This was before we had Avery too, so this isn't just about being a stay at home mom. This is just life in general. Allow me to explain.

After I graduated from OT school, there was about a 5 month period between me graduating and then studying and taking the boards to me starting my job. It was rough. We didn't have a ton of money so ANY KIND of shopping was out, we weren't active in a church yet, so that was out. I felt like a kept woman, which I know is ridiculous. Troy would come home from work and I was like the impatient puppy - talk to me, pay attention to me, take me out, snuggle me. And he just needed about 30 minutes of "cool down" from work time to decompress whereas I was bouncing off the walls with energy from sleeping until 11 and then reading and watching re-runs of America's Top Model all day.

I was so jealous that Troy had this whole separate work life that didn't include me and I was stuck at home. And involved in all these adult decisions and conversations that I wasn't having. And since I wasn't working, my only job was to clean, cook and do errands. I was like "DUDE! THIS IS YOUR HOUSE TOO!" Ugh, the arguments. They were terrible. And the thing is, I totally get it. I'm not working. My job is to do house stuff so that when Troy is home, we can just be together and not have to do yucky stuff. But I still resented him for it. He got to go to work and have adult time and make money and I got to scrub toilets. NO.

Don't even get me started on how mad I was when we left Dover. I loved my job there. And all my co-workers. My last day of work was like May 1st and Avery was born May 7th and the movers came like May 15th. It was so much change at once. And I just wanted to keep my job. I clung to it. Alas, Troy drug me kicking and screaming to San Antonio. Where we lived from September to February. And since we learned so much about my inability to be sane while not working after graduation, I got a job there. We had already decided that even if I didn't have a "take home pay" after paying for childcare, it was still worth it for me to go to work and not make money just because I am a happier person, wife, and mother.

I hadn't worked in 6 months and it felt SO GOOD to be back and my every thought not be "when was the last time I nursed?" or "do I have enough time to run to the store with Avery before nap time and she has a melt down in the store?" And you know what? It was good for Avery too. After being with ONLY me for 6 months, she had to learn that different people do things different ways and that's okay. One of our friends agreed to watch Avery for me while I was at work, which was awesome, because I already trusted her and had no issues my first week back. I RAN out the door. Sweet escape.

I feel like I need to clarify what I mean by "escape." It is SO easy to escape my own life and problems with my job. As an OT, you have to gain and develop an understanding for another person's life so that you can help them regain their independence. In order to do that, you are asking them some pretty personal questions about their families, routines, habits, and hobbies. You are getting a mental image of the inside of someones home, car, or office space. I get to go to work and literally pretend like my patient's life is the center of my world. 8 - 12 times in a row. I LOVE my job. I get to leave all my problems and issues at home and just focus on the problems of someone else. It's amazing.

I depend on my job to recharge. I need it because when I am away from Avery, I cherish our time together SO much more. Instead of feeling trapped at home with her, I feel like I am privileged to be at home with her. I WANT to take her to the park or read with her. Instead of feeling like I HAVE to. Because that's what good moms do. I need that time apart to be engaged when I am at home.

My job is hard right now. Around the holidays, no one wants to go to the hospital. And if they do go to the hospital, they want to go home as soon as possible for the fun stuff that comes with the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. They don't want to go to rehab and stay for up to a month and go home after that. Unfortunately, I am a "per diem" employee. Meaning that I work "per day" for my pay. If there is not a need, then I don't work. I have been working 1/2 days for about 3 weeks and I got called off on 2 of my 3 work days last week.

The good thing about this is, I get paid hourly and don't work full time because I don't need insurance (because Troy is in the military) and the bad thing is that if I don't work, I don't get paid. Which makes sense, of course. I am scheduled to work 3 days a week. But the past 3 weeks have been ROUGH.

And if I haven't had time to recharge at work, I am exhausted at home. I don't want to clean or cook or play with Avery. I am just OVER IT. I feel like we are doing the same things everyday. Troy and I are arguing and he's like "dude, GO TO WORK!" and I'm like, "I'M TRYING YO!"

I understand that everyone is different. I know that I am so blessed to be in a position where I can CHOOSE when to work. It is such a luxury in this economy. I know there is the debate of stay at home mom vs working mom. But I am so lucky that I can be both. I get to work 3 days a week (which I try to line up with Troy's weekend) and be home for 4. I respect stay at home moms SO much. I wish that it was easier for me. It's SO hard. I'm not perfect and life isn't perfect. But for me, it's easier to explain when my house is messy and the laundry is overflowing and the dishes aren't done that "I worked today." It's my excuse. I need one. I have too much pride to admit that "we just had a bad day."

So pray for me. Pray that I can let go of my pride. Pray that I can go to work. Pray that I can have patience. Pray that I can be obedient. Pray that I can find other ways to recharge. And not compare myself to other "super moms." Or pinterest.


  1. Oh Natalie, so much wisdom and courage for such a young woman! Had I only had the courage or support to have been able to do this. I will send prayers, but I think you've got it! Troy and Avery are blessed!
    Cousin Lisa

    1. Thanks Lisa! I feel blessed to have them too :)


  2. You gotta do what's best for you, your family and your marriage. And whatever that is, you'll do amazing at it because you always put 100% into whatever it is you're doing.

    And don't worry about what anyone else says or thinks, haters gon' hate.

    Love you!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I freakin love you and miss you. I am having Kristen withdrawls. I saw you almost every day for 3 months. I'm dying here.


    And most days I don't even accomplish the shower :). I'm glad you got this out there, not only for your own catharsis but for other moms who might be feeling the same way but are afraid to express it. Being a parent is hard work and you gotta do whatever it takes to stay sane. When work is really slow, we're always around for playdates! <3 you.

    1. Katie. That ecard you posted is hilarious. And totally true. Stupid Pinterest.

  4. I am 100% with you! I am awful if I'm not working. Having a job, and liking what I do is so ingrained in me it's very hard to transition when we move. In Florida, for the first 6 months I couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time. When I went full-time, I was super happy, I had more energy and overall enjoyed everything so much more because I felt I had a purpose. I realized I have to work or else I'm a miserable person.

    1. woooo hooo! Glad I'm not alone! Jump on in the boat with people who need to work!

  5. Natalie thank you for being so honest. I just went back to work a month ago. I quit my job after having Riley because I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Boy was I wrong! I can honestly say I lost my mind and any sense of who I was as an individual. I am so much happier now. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way...

    1. Nope you aren't alone Jess! Take a seat in the working mom boat! Don't feel guilty about it. You have to do what makes you happy so that you are a better mom and wife :) Ms Riley is precious


Thanks for reading!