So I initially put this post up this morning, but after thinking it over and discussing it with Christopher, I deleted it. I'll let you read the post and decide for yourself, but when I expressed the opinions below to Christopher he reminded me that I'm always the one saying the only person that will keep me from doing something is me and that the points I make in this post make me out to be a "glass half empty" kind of girl. Folks, that is certainly not the type of girl I want to be, so if that's how I'm coming across forgive me. As I figure this whole "growing up" thing I'm making lots of observations along the way, and I'm trying to sort out what type of adult/employee/wife/future mother I want to be (and more importantly perhaps, what type I DON'T want to be). That was the purpose of the post.
But I chickened out initially.
Then I got a wonderful "come to Jesus" (as my dad calls them) email from Victoria. I can't thank her enough for her kind words that allowed me to not feel guilty for my post. *The title of her email was classic as well: "girl, stop deleting your amazing, honest posts".
So here's what I initially had to say this morning, and I added a few of Victoria's words at the end!
So I haven't seen I Don't Know How She Does It (I'm not really sure if I will), but every time I see a preview I feel an upset stomach coming on- afraid that this will be me one day. I honestly have no clue how two people can work full time and have a family. I feel guilty having a dog most days because she really doesn't get the attention she deserves. By the time I get home from work, make dinner, pack our lunches for the next day, and clean up, it's 8:30, and I'm completely exhausted (and feeling guilty that I didn't dust a bookshelf or iron something). I can't imagine adding another human to the equation (especially one that can't feed or bathe itself). It's funny too because everyone says "oh, you'll make it work and figure it out". My response (which I always say to myself and never aloud) is that of course people figure out how to juggle it all, but I've yet to see any full-time working couple do it well. You can always tell who the parents are in my office (specifically the moms) because they're the ones running out the door right before 5 to pick their kids up from school, run through a drive thru for dinner, and head to a sporting event. They're also the ones that send emails in the middle of the night and throughout the weekend. I guess they've "made it work" and "figured it out".....
Today, for the first time, a co-worker was honest with me regarding this topic. She asked if I had a family, and I explained that I can barely take care of myself and my dog right now and juggle work at the same time. She laughed and said it was so refreshing to hear someone answer honestly. I explained my observation about not being able to find a single example of a couple who both have successful careers and a family. She smiled and said, "I'll tell you what very few other women here will. It's nearly impossible to do both- unless you outsource".
"Outsource what?," I asked.
"Whatever takes up time in your life that doesn't necessarily have to be done by you," she replied. She went on to explain that she has a nanny (who cooks and does laundry), a cleaning service, lawn service, etc. Sounds expensive, but I suppose what you're losing in income is similar to what you would be losing if one parent stayed home.
So that's it then, I guess. Everyone "figures it out"- some better than others. I'm not sure that "better" means outsourcing parts of your life, but I do see how it would be beneficial. I guess I just assumed I could be wonder woman: have a family, career, blog, dog, cook, clean, do the yard work, laundry, decorate my home, be involved in my children's school activities, etc. Maybe I could do it all, and while I wouldn't have the expense of "outsourcing" things, I worry a different expense would come into play: happiness, friendships, free time.
This is heavy stuff, people. Too heavy for me right now- or ever for that matter. Some days I wish I could go back to college when things were easy.... and as I'm typing this I'm remembering that in college I worked three jobs (i.e. 40+ hours a week), graduated with honors (in less than four years), paid for my expenses myself, and managed to never have a major breakdown. HMMMM... maybe I will figure out a way to do all these things, enjoy it, and keep my sanity. Who knows.
Here's what Victoria had to say on this topic:
I simply could not have said it better myself.
Did I scare everyone off??? Would you feel better if I kept things surface level like usual? Here, how's this: I love SJP's hair and clothes. She's super stylish; I'd kill for her closet in SATC. How's that; are you feeling better? :)
Here's to figuring it out, making it work, and most importantly, balance.