We have a salary and employee sponsored health insurance. We don’t need to get a 2nd car pronto as annoying as metro in winter can be it’s still a perfectly doable option (that many families deal with and only have one car). The heater is working in the house, we have a meeting with our pastor next week and one with our financial advisor in a couple of weeks once we’ve settled into the salary.

The physical weight of being overwhelmed has lifted I kid you not. It’s amazing. I’m still exhausted, but that constant bearing down of doom is gone.

Yet I don’t feel  happy.

Is it the depression? Probably somewhat. I think too that it is the realization that all these issues in our marriage that I’d been putting off “till we’re in a better place” can’t be put off any longer. We have Things To Talk About that I can’t bring up because it causes a fight every time and then when I lose it in front of our pastor I’m accused of just steam rolling him. I don’t feel like it’s a safe place to talk unless there’s a witness, then I know I will be Heard.

Or maybe it’s just chemical. I had pretty bad postpartum depression due to hubs job loss and me needing to go work in my office when my baby was 9 weeks old. That was an awful 4.5 months of my life and I don’t remember a lot of it. I do remember when he got a job, and I was able to take a pay cut to do the same thing but from home, thinking how everything was working out and yet I was not Happy. That’s when I started meds. I wonder if my body has been supplementing itself with cortisol and adrenaline for so long that my already crappy ability to produce serotonin was affected. I need to get back to therapy but at $300/pop I’m not so sure. We’ll see if the new health insurance covers 60/40 or something. I’m not holding my breath.

But life goes on. I hate that I think I’d be a better mom and a better person if my husband wasn’t a part of my every day life. I have absolutely no idea how we’d get on (me and the girls that is) financially without moving in with my parents, but the fact that I even think about it must mean something. Still, we move on. Maybe someone I know will win the powerball and gift me my freedom. Ha.

When you just want your spouse to respect your need to work, even though your work is something that is done at home on the computer (photo editing and freelance writing and graphic design). Why is that so hard? If he was the one bringing home the bacon that paid all our bills, padded our savings and retirement and allowed for the odd vacation now and again, I’d be cool letting him veg all day on this rainy Saturday. But on the flip side, he works his office job (The one we hope becomes perm in FY2016 which starts in a few weeks…), then goes and works on this shed he’s been building for a friend the past 3 months. He’s pooped, I get it. I however play single parent during the week (even when we see him home on a weekday it’s usually after dinner and the girls say hi, he changes into grubbies and takes the car to go work on the shed – leaving me to deal with bedtimes entirely alone, again). I’m pooped by the weekend too but cherish the fact that I could get serious work done for multiple hours in one go. Sadly that never happens. I suppose it seems only logical that I could very well go get a job at costco and work weekends, thus forcing him into the role of house-husband and caregiver for the children two days a week. But I don’t. I just want a few hours of time with out the interruption of children and also without the children being babysat by screens (because lets face it, that’s how I manage to get dinner on the table every day during the witching hour). I also like the fact that on a saturday I can work during the DAY, instead of sitting down at 9:30pm to get going.

But I’m supposed to use this place to stay positive so in that vein, Hooray for the rain, we really needed it. Hooray for a roof with no holes in it (although boo to the gutters that obviously need to be cleaned). Hooray for the freelance job that is sort of a trial for a bigger project to come. Hooray for fall photoshoot season. Hooray for the brown rice and beans in the crockpot simmering away till dinner time (and boo to the children who won’t eat it but Hooray for the 9 year old who can fix them mac and cheese). Hooray for church tomorrow and dinner with inlaws (which means being sent home with leftovers). Hooray for groceries and school clothes and new backpacks paid for by others. Hooray for mortgage loan readjustment. Hooray for access to social services. Hooray for lorazepam.

Today has sucked. I had to call my therapist to refill a script that requires her to do a prior authorization (because medicaid would like me to switch to a different generic than the one I’m on and have been on for 8 years…) and I know she’s going to want me to come in, which I can’t afford, even though I know she’ll bill me what I can pay and even then I’ll just feel guilty. I had a hang tag on my door from I assume the sheriff’s office that said NOTHING except to call a number IMMEDIATELY. I called and thankfully it took me to my mortgage company and because we are in the 3 month trial for loan modification they have to verify that the house was occupied. I’m kind of wondering why they didn’t knock; since a simple look into our living room would confirm that we were deeply entrenched here with no plans to hightail it out anytime soon. I still have to call the endocrinologist and decide if I want to try for a new endo just this once or get in to see a new GP who takes my medicaid and get her/him to give me the prior authorization to see my old endo. Honestly going to a new endo sounds like less work since it would only be one dr appointment instead of two. I think.

HOWEVER, a friend’s husband’s business that he runs has been going through tough times. She’s been out of the workforce for a few years but does mostly freelance TV production work which is horribly unreliable if it’s how you’re trying to support a family. So, she signed up for food stamps. I’m glad I could talk her through it and how it works when you need to buy toilet paper but you know your SNAP card won’t cover that. How it works at the end of the month when you plan on emptying out your card (don’t use the self-checkout, it won’t work there). How it doesn’t refill on the 1st of the month but goes depending on your last name. All stuff I found out by trial and error and fits of panic but for once, I saw something positive out of our whole ordeal: the ability to help someone else during their similarly tough time and ease some of their anxiety about a process they’ve never used or thought they would even need.  And that felt good. For once, some little bit of good came out of our hardship and that made the burden feel a little more bearable.

That being said, the end may sort of be in sight: Hubs job, currently a temp makeing 22.50 an hour for something that requires 10 years experience, has been re-worked and re-definied to suit him and their needs for that position (it was an HR assistant but they really need more of a Senior HR generalist who can also help in some program development), and at an appropriate salary! With all the benefits of a full time perm employee! It’s on the cutting board for the FY2016 budget meeting happening in 2 weeks. If it’s approved, he could potentially start as a real employee on October 1st. Praying it goes through and praying the salary is enough (because if it isn’t he’ll have to keep looking but at least we’ll have the stability of a salary and benefits in the meantime).

It’s real, yo.

I get a little mini panic attack every time someone asks me why I’m not working full time too.  The answers are many:

  1. hubs has greater earning potential in the long run right now so he needs to seek out a position that keeps him as top breadwinner in the family
  2. have you looked into childcare costs lately? The amount I make as a freelancer is close to what I’d make if I was working full time less the cost of two kids childcare, especially in the summer when I would need full time care/camp for two of them for 10 weeks solid.
  3. and yes, someday I probably will go back to work, some hours out of the home, when the little one starts kindergarten in 2017. I’m so thankful there are more and more positions out there offering flexibility or part time during school hours. Not to mention I’ll have the time to give my photography business the time it deserves so maybe that will be taking off by then and I won’t need to take an office job.

Then there are the less well known reasons.

  1. I had to go back to work when my oldest was 9 weeks old when hubs was laid off totally unexpectedly (side note: 11 years of marriage, 2 kids, 4 layoffs together). This is what sparked a bad ass case of PPD that never totally went away. I’m still medicated.
  2. I grew up with a work-at-home mom, piano teacher edition. She went back to teaching high school when my brother was little because her dream job fell into her lap. A year later my dad left his job to work from home in the early days of home internet. So except that one year when my brother went to a friends house in the morning and everyone was home by the time elementary school was over, there was ALWAYS a parent in the house. It freaks me out to not be there for my girls if something was to happen at school and I couldn’t be there in a split second. I didn’t have kids to send them to daycare, although there are days now that that little one isn’t so little anymore that that doesn’t seem like a bad idea…

And the scariest reasons are:

  1. Exhaustion is a part of my everyday. I am tired from when I get up in the morning till when I go to bed. Two much stress plus low thyroid function plus depression plus anxiety disorder plus stress plus two kids plus stress = pooped.
  2. BRAIN FOG. I swear, I had only heard about this before. I used to be sharp and with it and organized and on top of things, capable of juggling multiple projects at once.  Now I can barely get a writing assignment done in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t think like that anymore. I get spacey, I lose track, I feel like I go in circles.

So to me, I’m not working because the thought of being in an office, even just part time, responsible for other peoples work, deadlines set by bosses, responsibilities, etc. scares the shit out of me. I can’t do a task for an hour and then lay down for a nap like I do at home. I can’t space out in meetings and not be able to formulate words and thoughts in front of superiors and peers.

I spent 9 years working both in an office and from home for one organization and juggled a crazy workload at various times, taking on responsibilities above my pay grade like it was no big thing. I look back and have no fucking idea how that was possible, even when I was pregnant (twice) and had PPD (once). My contract ended when I was 6 months pregnant with my 2nd kiddo, and thankfully I’m glad I wasn’t re-hired on a different contract (they tried). It sucked then, but I don’t know how I’d do it now.

So that’s the long and short of why I’m not “working.” Now I need to go take a nap before bracing to deal with a swim meet tonight.