Being a stay at home mom is lonely work with even less pay than before and almost no recognition or appreciation for the humongous sacrifices that are made. And there are millions of women who would do almost anything to be able to afford to be in my shoes. Or, my slippers in this case. I finally have all the ‘time’ in the world to indulge in my passions and I’ve realized I need a day-job to release enough energy to be able to sit quietly and paint, or write, or read. I need the work before I can relax into the fun. I need to be interacting with the outside world in order to pull what I need from my inside world. I thrive in rapid change, in chaos, in having my intelligence and emotions tested again and again. I love the noise and distraction of working in a fast-paced environment. I crave change the way junkies crave a fix. I NEED to be confused, overwhelmed and frantic. Apparently having a baby, applying for citizenship and moving states in the same year isn’t enough.
I was recently in the company of some amazing women. Women who have packed up their children and followed their husbands thousands of miles away from everything they’ve ever known. Most of these women are working full-time here as well, who have sacrificed more than the close proximity of their friends and family, they’ve sacrificed their own careers. Homes they loved. Schools they felt comfortable sending their children to. Most of them have done this not once but two and three times. These women amaze me. I am now in the company of amazing women – although for me moving countries from Canada to the US is not exactly a culture shock. I’m doing just fine, thank you. I’m using the GPS more, I miss my family and friends, I’m shopping at Safeway instead of Superstore, drinking Dunkin instead of Tim’s. (Ok ok, actually Starbucks…)
CVS instead of Shoppers (ok THAT is super annoying – I MISS Shoppers Drug Mart! It was so clean and bright and well organized and CLEAN. I digress.) The move didn’t require much of an adjustment on my part, and luckily for my husband I didn’t have a white-hot career to be torn about giving up.
I’ve always felt my ‘day-job’ was just that – a way to pay the bills while I indulge in my real passions – the kind that make you feel fulfilled and joyful, that gives your life meaning and purpose and doesn’t pay in money at all. I was working to keep me in acrylic paints, in printer paper for my poems, in enough money to pay for tea and wine and books. And cookies. Maybe some veggies. If I had any left over, for sweaters and boots. Yes, luckily I was not required to make the decision to leave a high paying job to follow my husband around the world for his mediocre-paying job. I was more or less ambivalent about letting it go. (Although I do miss my work buddies).
Imagine my surprise when I realized I MISSED the actual job, too! The one I ‘didn’t care about’ – the one that kept me in books and tea and writing paper. It gave me so much more than a tiny, tiny pay-check.
It gave structure to my day. A social outlet where I could be part of a team working toward a common goal. The team’s success’ and failures were mine too. I miss the thrill of learning a new skill, a new program, the satisfaction of relating that learning to my peers. The competition, the collaboration. Customers that made me laugh. Crazy people calling me on the phone asking crazy questions. Problems to resolve. The pride of attacking a mystery and solving it. Getting dressed every day. Brushing my teeth before 11am.
So, I’ve devised a solution. I’ve calculated I will need one eight hour day job, five more children, two more dogs, one cat, some fish, and some type of rodent that needs its’ cage cleaned once a week in order to create the exact amount and scope of chaos I need to be happy. Anyone looking to get rid of a troublesome pet let me know. A cat with diabetes? A dog with ADHD? A rabbit with cavities? The more stressful the better. Bring it on. Apparently craziness is required.