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.

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To friends who have gotten married in the past 2.5 years that we were unable to attend your wedding because it was out of state, or get you a wedding gift (I have a list for when we have enough money of what I’m getting each of you), I’M SORRY. It sucks to have missed out on multiple special days in our friend’s lives; and sucks that I couldn’t pick out a fancy and fun gift to give you to mark this important milestone.

To my kid’s friends who got crappy cheap birthday presents over the past 2.5 years, I’M SORRY. It’s not that I think you needed something big and expensive to show my kid’s love for you, but you’re kids. It’s hard to explain things like this to my own kids, let alone their friends. I think we did OK; I’m pretty sure everyone loves stickers and funky pens and fresh new notebooks and playdoh (always a cheap standby that everyone loves to open a new can of).

To my kids: I’M SORRY. We haven’t been able to go on vacation for 4+ years now. Or take trips to amusement parks or local expensive attractions that require tickets. Partly we can’t afford these things and partly the stress of the past 2.5 years has beaten me down I’m so exhausted I can’t comprehend taking a day trip. Even a low cost one where you pack your own food requires gas and ice cream and that add up when your budget is in the red every single month. I’m sorry you don’t get to go to camp again this year. I’m sorry we can’t go see the new summer blockbusters coming out in the theatre. I’m sorry I’m such a grump so often and lose my cool so easily. I have zero patience left and am in a constant state of alert. My body hurts and you just want to play with me at the pool and I discourage it. I’m so sorry. This whole situation has left me not the mom I want to be, and I know daddy feels the same way. It hurts my heart to hear you complain that you don’t see him often enough and that he doesn’t come to the pool to play with you (thank god for the pool, though). We love you, and we hope our love shines through and you see that despite having a summer very different from your friends.

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.