Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I feel like shit. I interviewed for a position and the person they hired posted their resume on the internet. I googled her. She speaks 3 languages, has a degree and diploma, has worked with countless graphic design firms, and she had to come along and eat the little job I was applying for. Why didn't she try for something bigger and leave the scraps for me?
What makes me upset the most is that there's no way for me to get what she has. I have no time to upgrade my skills or gain the experience she has without risking my steady paycheque. I spend ALL of my free time taking care of three children. I can't go to the bathroom myself, can't shower by myself, can't go to sleep by myself. It's always "mommy, mommy, mommy" for everything, even in the middle of the night. My whole life has been interrupted by these kids. I once had so much fire in me that I felt I could take the world by storm and show them what I'm made of. Now I've been reduced to a depressed mess.
I feel like I missed my chance to have a career, and not just a job. I wanted a family, but didn't realize at the time that it would mean my doing 90% of the household work and still being looked at like I'm not doing enough. I didn't realize at the time that I would have to give up who I was and what I stood for in order to be 'mommy' and 'wife'. I didn't realize how much I would have to sacrifice to have kids. And despite how many times people tell you about the true responsibilities of having kids, I never fully got it until I had them. Now I'm bitter and angry.
I'm mad at my husband for being allowed to carry on as if nothing has happened to his life. He can still climb that corporate ladder, socialize and put his needs first without being accused of being a bad parent, while I have to take a back seat and pretend that I have no needs of my own. I have to listen to other mothers at work talk about mommy guilt and how they can't do enough for their babies and wish they had time to do more for their kids. More? Really? Is sacrificing everything not enough? It's like they've been sucked into a 'mommy' universe where they are no longer people, no longer women, just mommies with no desires outside those that involve their kids. Some women will whisper to me about the difficulties they face, but won't say anything out in the open. It's like a secret, a big shameful secret to be tired and exhausted from carrying an entire family on your shoulders.
I just want to scream sometimes in the most inappropriate places "I can be a mother to my children without having to give up everything!!!!!!!". Even if I just had a space to talk about it and not have to bottle it inside to avoid the 'selfish mother' title. Now, I'm stuck in a job I don't like and I barely have enough time to brush my own teeth let alone study for school to upgrade my skills. Even though I love the little people inside my house, I know that given the chance, I would not ever do this again. The price of motherhood has been too much for me. I am so miserably unhappy.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Yesterday my husband went to the doctor. He got a new perscription and, rather than wait however long it took for the pharmacist to get the insurance company's approval for coverage, he paid the total cost of the perscription with a check.
There was not that much money in our checking account.
There is so much of a marriage that goes into mistakes like this, so much history that informs its meaning. We are both inept with money, but about ten years ago I became the household accountant, due to the fact that I am slightly less horrible at it than he is. I pay bills late, but I don't bounce checks. I still struggle to do the responsible thing with money, but not bouncing checks is enough to make me Chancellor of the Exchequer around here.
But last night the husband was childishly impatient and he wrote a check he should not have, so today I drove to the little bank that holds my little personal savings account, and I took out nearly everything and deposited it in our joint checking account to cover the check. I was in time. It will not bounce.
And then I sat in my car and I cried. I cried because this tiny little savings account, though it would never make me rich or even get us out of debt, was mine. It was the only thing in our lives that was, really and truly, mine. That mattered to me. I am the stay-at-home mom to our children, which is the right decision for us, but leaves me with no career, no job experience, and precious little indiependence. Those dollars cobbled together from birthday gifts and rebates I sent in and other odds and ends told me that I still had a separate identity, something independent of my children and my husband. Even if I raided it occasionally to cover other family expenses, I had invested it with the significance I Am Still A Person, not just a cog in the household machine.
Now it is gone. Tomorrow I will get up again and do the usual chores, and over the next few years I will add to the account by dribs and drabs again, and we will be alright. This doesn't end things. It just hurts, and I wanted to say so in a place where I was free to grieve, somewhere I could be openly sad for this small loss.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I need to get something off my chest. You (my sibling, my mother-in-law, my mother, my friend) call me and you ask me how I’m doing. I answer “overwhelmed.” And somehow this is your cue to gush “Oh! I know!” and then launch into the many ways you are busy and also overwhelmed.
I’m sorry. You don’t know.
You, with your no children or older children or grandchildren cannot possibly “know” how overwhelmed I feel with three small children, a busy husband, a house, volunteer commitments and the other million little things that need my attention every day. You who sleep all night cannot possibly understand what it’s like to tackle all I have on my plate after night after night of little sleep. So please don’t tell me “you know” because you don’t. You can’t fathom my level of overwhelm right now.
Listen, I do know that you’re overwhelmed. I believe it! I too have felt completely overwhelmed without all that I have going on right now. The point of this is NOT that I’m way more overwhelmed than you are. The point is that I don’t share this information with you so that I can hear about everything going on in your life. I tell you I’m overwhelmed because I really need to vent and get some support right now. When you respond “I know!” and launch into a litany of all the things on your plate it feels like you’re taking my plea for help and throwing it back in my face.
So in the future, when you ask how I’m doing and I respond “overwhelmed!” instead of “good!” please, please don’t take this as an opportunity to add even more to my plate. Please take a breath and acknowledge that I’ve reached out to you. Because you really can’t know unless you’ve been here or you’ve asked me what it’s like.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Posted by Anonymous.
Imagine you had a grandchild who was immune deficient. Now, just say you had another grandchild who came down with gastro and then add into the mix that an arrangement had been made with two other grandkids (who you don’t see very often) for a sleepover. Would you then go and visit the infectious grandchild just before the said sleep over, considering those kids are the siblings of the immune deficient child?
Would you not tell the parents until the big kids had been in the house for 24 hours that you had been to see the sick kid?
Would you carry on and make the eldest grandchild feel bad when she wants to come home (for fear of infecting her sister with gastro) when she finds out that the still infectious child is coming to be babysat at the sleepover house?
What about if the grandfather suddenly came down with the stomach bug? Would you tell the grandchild she was selfish for wanting to come home?
As the mother of the immune deficient child, would you be angry because you know that once the gastro hits your house (and it will) and the immune deficient child gets it, it will mean another week in hospital?
I don’t get it.
No, my parents in law don’t get it.
Either that or they just don’t care.
We have a mess of kids. The bug will run through them like wild fire.
Our family dynamics are already strained. Very strained.
We don’t need this and yet the two (now infectious children) are on their way home.
I don’t usually swear but
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Posted by Anonymous.
So, I really can't keep quiet about this any longer. I'm about to open my big fucking mouth about something I should really reserve for face-to-face, offline conversations, but Internet, I'm so angry right now.
Let's start at the beginning (in mercifully abridged fashion): I was raised Catholic. I never felt like I belonged, I never felt like I truly believed, I always found myself at odds with their practices and beliefs, I couldn't wait for the day when I could ditch the place. Cut to today: I've ditched the place. And I carry a lot - A LOT - of anger with me about it. Because my parents do not understand, respect or even tolerate my viewpoint, and it's a huge, HUGE obstacle in my relationship with them. There have been many massive arguments - real barn-burners - in which my parents let me know in no uncertain terms how ashamed/embarrassed they are of me and my decision. We basically don't talk about it anymore - in fact, I take great pains to steer our conversations entirely clear of religion and even politics, because we're such polar opposites when it comes to those two areas. I know they think I will eventually "come to my senses" and "grow out of" whatever phase they think this is; I know in my heart I will never, ever return to the Catholic church.
So anyway. My older sister is having a baby. Like, soon. December. And, since she's still active in the church, she has broached the subject of godparents with me. Basically, she wants me to be a godmother, but in order to do so at her church, I have to prove that I am a registered member of a Catholic parish, which...I'm not. She says she wants me to know that she wants me to be the godmother, but hey, rules are rules. And she also said she wants me to know that if something would happen to her, she would want her kid to be raised Catholic. I mean, of course. This is not a surprise to me.
Let me just make this clear: If something happened to my sister and I was left to raise my niece, YOU'D BETTER FUCKING BELIEVE I would raise her exactly how my sister wanted. I would raise her Catholic, I would raise her Jewish, I would raise her to be an elder in the fucking Church of Cottage Cheese if such a thing existed. HOLY FUCK, I WOULD EVEN RAISE HER TO BE A SCIENTOLOGIST IF THAT'S WHAT MY SISTER WANTED. Why? Because I love my sister, and I love my future niece.
But does the Catholic church care how much I love my sister? How dedicated I'd be to raising her daughter precisely how she wanted me to? Do they even bother to ask me about that shit?
They care about whether or not I can produce a piece of embossed paper on the morning of the baptism. End of story. Full stop.
And because I having the fucking balls to stand up for what I believe in? Because I refuse to stand up and be a big fat fake in front of our entire family? Because I am not too keen on LYING in a CHURCH and making a mockery out of a religion I am no longer a part of? I am obviously a terrible person who would leave her niece in a boiling hot car in the middle of July while she went and gave handjobs for shots of Jagermeister (I mean, obviously, this would be how I spent my free time).
And that doesn't even begin to cover the repercussions of my downgrade from godmother to Godless Whore. Once my parents hear about this? Shit, meet fan.
So, Catholic church, why am I not good enough for you? I can understand their being guidelines for, say, taking communion in your establishment (which I cannot do, and that's totally cool with me), but why is your judgment better than my sister's when it comes to who should raise her child if something would happen to her?
I don't know why I bother to try to make sense of this shit. None of it has ever made sense to me, and I've never been able to get a clear fucking answer out of anyone. But the message here is pretty obvious. Your loving, caring sister wants to be the godmother, but isn't Catholic? No way. You dragged some random woman off the street who has a criminal record and sold her own children into prostitution BUT she is a registered member of a Catholic parish? NO PROBLEM.
And now my sister isn’t speaking to me because she’s offended I won’t “just join a parish” already, just so I can stand up on the altar with her for five minutes on a random Sunday. I’ve asked her to please understand that it isn’t about her, it’s about me – more importantly, it’s about me wanting to take a stand for my own beliefs. I’m pregnant, too, and I want to do this – no, I NEED to do this – not just for me, but for my own kid. I’m not raising a daughter or son to bend or hide his or her own beliefs just to make other people’s lives easier.
I don’t expect my parents to come around, but I expect more of my sister. She’s gone through a divorce and an unmarried pregnancy in the past couple of years – two very non-Catholic life events – and I’ve been there for her, never judging her once, when even our own parents couldn’t do the same. And now when I need some of that same understanding? She’s ignoring me. I’m pretty sure that’s not what Jesus would do, but anyway.
I’m just so angry I can’t see straight. Is it any wonder I left the church when all it has caused is division and bitterness between me and my family?
At any rate, thank goodness for The Basement. I really needed to get this out there. You all can be my godparents anytime.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Posted by Anonymous.
I hate going to church. I hate it.
If I only had to go on Sunday I could manage to trod along but it’s not just Sundays. For example, by the end of this week I will have had church related commitments, either for me or one of my children, everyday for the past 9 days. 9 freaking days of meetings or activities that my kids needed to attend or lessons I have had to teach, on at least half of those days there was more than one thing that needed to be done.
If it were only the time commitment I could probably manage, even though it’s gotten to be a huge time commitment, but I am sick of feeling like even when I’m dragging myself and my family uphill against the wind to make it to everything I am still being judged. It’s as if I am surrounded my people who want to tell me if I could just give a “little more” I would be almost good enough. Almost. And there are couple of women especially, that I feel like if I have to have many more conversations with them I am going to pull my hair out. All of it, and I have thick hair, it could take a while. The problem is I work closely with at least one of these women so, yeah, I’m going to be having many more conversations with her, all the while I am screaming inside.
The worst part is that even if I had to attend something EVERYDAY with women who need to take hormone shots if I believed in it I think I could do it, but that’s the thing, I don’t think I believe it. I feel spiritually dead, and I can’t tell anyone. If my husband knew that I felt like this he would be devastated. He would start with an exorcism and move on from there. He was raised religious and I was not. I have tried to be what he wants, at times I have been pretty good at it, but for the last year it has been getting harder and harder for me. Our religion is everything to him. I’m afraid to say anything, it’s not just a Sunday thing, it’s a lifestyle (an often time sucking, guilt inducing, demanding lifestyle) and our kids have been raised this way and like I said there are commitments and expectations.
I hate it and I’m stuck. I know I’m stuck because the consequences of me dropping out would be too great. I love my husband and my kids too much to quit something that is so much a part of our (their) lifestyle. I’m mad and sad because I feel like I have no alternative but to keep pretending. I feel like I have sacrificed my life on the proverbial alter and there is not one person in my life that I can talk to about this, I can’t think of anyone I know who would understand. They would either tell me to pray harder to keep Satan at bay or those on the other end would never understand why I feel like I have to keep faking it.
It feels cowardly to post this here, but if I don’t get it out, even just this little bit, I feel like I am going to explode, or worse, shut down. I just keep wondering if I can keep this up forever.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I'm going to warn you now that this post might enrage you as it does me. Mostly because I cannot help the situation. I cry a lot over it.
I have a friend - let's call her Sarah - with three kids. Two boys are her oldest and youngest and her little girl is the middle child. These kids are kind, sweet, adorable, polite...everything their mother is and more. Sarah is one of my best friends.
About 3.5 years ago, Sarah left her husband of 15 years. She left him because she finally had enough of his abusive ways. She beat her, belittled her, broke her down repeatedly, often in front of the kids. He was a peeping tom and caught several times by wives of friends in
their old town. He has a very strong desire for teenage porn and has told Sarah many times that he can't wait for their daughter to have sleepovers.
He was not an involved father, drank to excess frequently, spent money they did not have, was unable to hold a job for longer than a few months and made them live on his income. Sarah was not allowed to work. She filled her time raising those three beautiful children who are all less then 12 years old now, so they were all less than 8 years old when Sarah finally stood up to him and left with her kids.
She told me in the car one day on the way to the gym that she was leaving him. I was shocked. Not only had my friend gone through hell those 15 years, she had hid it well from every single person she knew.
As Sarah went through a very trying time of securing a place to live, finding employment and resources to help her keep her family above water, the Ex played mind games, one after the other to intimidate her. He showed up at her new home without calling, he called her
repeatedly - sometimes 100's of times a night, he barged into her new place and stuck his hand down her pants to feel her, then accused her of still loving him because she was wet (aren't all vaginas naturally wet? Pervert.) He told the children to never bathe or shower with their mother because she was a slut now, sleeping around. (She hadn't dated anyone - she was too busy taking her children to therapy, family court, children's services, on top of school and 'normal' commitments.) Further to that, Sarah has been in 3 car accidents in the last 8 years - 2 of them the Ex was driving, the 3rd she was rear-ended. She deals with chronic pain and physiotherapy. She doesn't have an easy life as it is.
The mindgames escalated when Sarah used her grandmother's inheritance to buy her little family a used car. Ex showed up in the middle of the night, on 4 separate occasions, to deflate her tires, key her car, and other little things - but only on days where she had to be somewhere like children's services at 9 a.m. The Ex also claimed his income was $12K/year and got away with paying a mere $27/month/child. He never paid that meager amount anyway.
He called over 100 times while I was at her house one day. Finally I took the cordless phone outside and answered it myself. I asked him if he was drinking. I told him he was upsetting the children. He didn't like that I wouldn't put Sarah or the kids on the phone. I advised him that if he continued to harass Sarah, I would call the police. He kept calling and we called the police, who went to his home and got him to knock it off.
Within a week, he tried to hit my car with his. My kids were in the car too. Once again, the police were involved (I called immediately). He denied it and the matter was dropped.
Despite all of this craziness, Sarah, with the help of a lot of therapy and us as her friends, did a complete 180 on her personality and went from being this meek woman to someone who was very proud of herself, very aware of who she was and a woman who knew what she wanted. She remained a caring, sweet person, but now she had an unbreakable spine.
Nearly 2 years passed and Sarah began dating a lovely man, a guy my husband and I really liked. He was thrilled to have this instant family, this wonderful woman and her beautiful kids. But there was the Ex to contend with and make no mistake, he really made things
The man was not put off by Ex's attempts - in fact, it only made it easier to love Sarah and the kids because the man felt the need to protect this new family.
And so he has. Through thick and thin - though times of bonecrushing stress, this man has stood because Sarah as she has navigated the court system to try and secure the best possible situation for her kids. He even bought a house in a small town for them all to live in.
They truly are a happy couple and the kids love him.
The court has sent those kids back to their father for visitation despite:
- the kids crying and screaming not to go to his house
- the youngest (age 7) wetting the bed
- the two youngest having repeated yeast infections
- the Ex not administering prescription medicine for ear infections
with 2 of the kids
- the Ex drinking and driving
- the Ex having kids in the front seat while driving (it's not safe
because he can't turn his airbag off and none of the kids are old
enough to be in the front seat yet)
- the Ex drinking and phoning Sarah to verbally abuse her while the
kids are in his presence
- the Ex telling the oldest son that he has a big penis and that girls
will really like that someday
- the Ex getting on MSN messenger to chat with the oldest and having a
picture of his 'girlfriend' in a bathrobe, legs spread eagle, as his
- the Ex telling the oldest that 'mommy plays with herself in the shower'
- the Ex explaining sexual positions to the oldest
- the Ex telling the daughter that mommy is getting fat and to be
careful she doesn't end up like mom (Sarah is nowhere near fat)
- the Ex doing absolutely everything for the daughter, rendering her
an indecisive mess by the end of every visit (she comes home unable to
make decisions or do anything for herself - Sarah is very concerned
about what he is doing to her daughter)
- the Ex yelling and swearing at the kids, both in person and on the phone
- the Ex not feeding the kids, returning them starving after nearly 24
hours with no food in their bellies
- the Ex threatening the children if they say anything about him to
- the Ex not returning the kids at his designated time (this has
happened at least 10 times)
The list goes on and on.
This man is not a man. He is not a father. He is a monster.
Sarah has documented everything and submitted everything to Children's Services and the courts. The police have been involved so many times it's ridiculous. These kids really need to be protected from their father.
I hope today is the very last straw. Sarah called to tell me that Ex had told the kids to walk home after their visitation.
IT'S A 90 MINUTE DRIVE. ON A SUNDAY NIGHT. IN THE DARK.
The police picked the kids up on a road as they walked. Children's services is involved again.
Sarah has toed the line until now. She has obeyed the court's wishes to the letter.
She has sent her children back to their father for the very last time.
Her words to me today chilled me to the bone: "What more has to happen? Does he have to kill them?"
I'm so terrified for them. For her. Because I'm afraid that is exactly what he will do, and I don't know if it will be an accident from drinking, or something else - but he doesn't care about those
kids in the least. All he wants is to hurt her.
Let's hope this final straw will be the kick in the ass Children's Services needs to finally say no more to the Ex.
Postscript: He got access back. No, I don't understand why.
Monday, December 01, 2008
I'm 25 now.
It took me a little while to type that sentence. There's this distaste that enters my mouth whenever I write it or say it. I feel like that it should be the start of a longer sentence: "I'm 25 now, and I dally in Europe with my girlfriends." "I'm 25 now, and I own a home." "I'm 25 now, I have a wonderful partner, and we're discussing marriage." "I'm 25 now, and I know what I'm supposed to be doing with the rest of myself."
The fact is that the sentence is what it is. I'm 25 now. I don't dally in Europe with my girlfriends. I don't own a home. I don't have a wonderful partner, and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing with the rest of my life.
Some have said that I am going through my quarterlife crisis. Logically, I know that it applies to me and that this is partly true, but being the one living the quarterlife crisis is different. I've always been the one in my family who has known what they were going to do. I'm the academic one -- that's the label given me by my family. I'm not the pretty sister, or the edgy sister or the hippie sister. Those never belonged to me, and I never aspired to those labels. I have always known what I was going to do with the rest of my life -- I knew what path I was going to walk. My family and friends knew me as a decisive person where my schooling and career was concerned. I didn't need a partner or dates because "you're so, so smart."
I landed an entry level job in my competitive industry of choice right out of college. I got a promotion to my dream position not long afterwards. And I thought that this was all I needed -- this job that challenged me and took up so much of my time. And then I turned 25. I got depressed, almost mournful. Nothing satisfied me. I felt restless and purposeless for first time since my freshman year of college. I realized that I got depressed when my job went into it's "slow period" for the year. I didn't realize that I had invested myself so heavily in my position until this bleak onset that came on suddenly. I've scared myself... I figure it's because I didn't have it there to keep me occupied.
So I'm doing little things to change me. I'm looking to buy a one-bedroom condo -- something small and economical where I can entertain. I'm supportive of my best friend, who now has less time for me since she recently found a partner. I'm trying not to work so much. I'm trying to date. I've looked into grad schools. I don't want to be "invincible" again, but I'm frustrated feeling this way. I'm going to go my doctor to discuss what's going on with me. I don't think this is depression, but I don't know, quite frankly. I'm tired of 25.
I just hope that 26 gives me back my sense of purpose. But if it doesn't, what will I do?