I’ve been offered a job back in my beloved field of funeral services. It’s a good opportunity, with a company that is willing to invest in me. It feels perfect. That’s why it has been so difficult to decide to turn it down.
Tomorrow I will have to summon the courage to contact my would-be manager and say, “No thank you.” He has gone out of his way to accommodate my needs as we’ve negotiated my hire. I think he would be great to work with. I’ve been excited about this company, and about the people I’ve met. Everything fits perfectly, except that taking this job would put me on the wrong path.
Last week, I could barely get out of bed. Again. I’ve been so much better, so this scared me. I had looked forward to the week so that I could organize life for my upcoming start date at work. My kids were going to learn new chores and happily commit to their new assignment. I was going to create meal plans that would include lots of crock pot recipes. I was going to hire a student to help me with driving. I was going to Clean Up Everything.
I did nothing.
I felt worse about not reorganizing. I seemed paralyzed. Paralysis angered me. How could I screw this up? What’s wrong with me? I was caught in the type of feedback loop that Mark Manson talks about in The Subtle Are of Not Giving a F*ck. I chastised myself for that (more feedback loop). “I have to change things!” “I can’t succeed at work if I don’t make these changes at home NOW!”
I was lost in this dark nastiness for a week. The kids suffered. The pets could sense my mood. It was tense.
Ah, but the fog is lifting.
I’m a mom. First. I only just realized that I have never fully embraced this simple fact. I’ve lived it, mostly, but always with one foot in some other, I now realize, imagined world. I’ve had it backwards at some level I never recognized. I see now that I haven’t succeeded at work because I haven’t realized that home is my work. First.
Relax, ye feminist sisters (no matter your ilk). This is the thing. I’m just not a supermom. I don’t want to be. I have tried, several times, to do what I thought has been expected of me as a single mom. I’ve tried to take on a time consuming job that took me away from home and my kids to replace and eliminate the need for spousal support. I have never had the support in place to commit fully to a career AND take care of my kids in the way that is important to me. In every case where I took on the stimulating, rewarding and sometimes even lucrative opportunities that have opened up, I have faltered and ultimately failed. Everything seemed to fall apart. I would get stuck, unable to do either my job or my parenting effectively. Recently, this all too common conflict broke me. For real. It damaged my mental health to the point of my being hospitalized for a month. I’m still recovering.
By forcing me to retreat into a dark cloud, my mind, body and spirit told me I was headed for the same trauma that has broken me before because I was trying to solve the wrong problems.
It took a chat with my sister-in-law and a visit from one of my oldest friends over the past couple of days to help lift the dark cloud. yes. I am getting better at asking for help. Here is the gist of what I have uncovered and realized:
- I will do with less if I need to, even for a short time, in order to give my girls more.
- We are fine. I don’t need to be scared by the future. I don’t need to worry about what others think (or what I think they might think).
- I am unemployable – and (finally) happy to say so.
- I will pursue other opportunities as they arise, but not as a “job,” and only as they benefit my family and our needs and goals.
- I am going to write. That is to say, I am (finally) going to “be a writer.” It will start here, with the rebirth of this blog.
(Not fade to black. Just keep moving. Soar.)