Move Along Folks - There's Nothing To See Here

Is it weird that I stayed up late to watch my cat eat the newly sprouted wheat grass? That I sat in my office in my bathrobe grinning like an idiot as he gnawed on the edges?


One of, oh, about 45 things, needs to happen quickly. Not the least of which is my need to register for classes this semester. I cannot put this off anymore. I still have two years of school left and at this point it is virtually impossible for me to get my degree before I turn 30.

Once I’m over 30, I become the mom of the class; the non-threatening “older” woman that all of my classmates are rooting for, “really hoping she sticks it out this time”. I remember being baffled by these women in my first year of college at 19. I would see them with their scrupulous notes and highlighters. Their graying hair and extra thirty pounds. And I would think “What have you been doing all this time?”. Well, now I know.

I want to have a well laid plan when S. starts school. I don’t want to be the mom that slowly folds laundry in front of the television waiting for school to let out. I want to transition right into my career.

Which brings me to the next subject: these blood sucking gift baskets.

You people have no idea how many robes I have folded just so, how many perfect bows I have tied (hold straight up and down, loop bottom ribbon first, then bring top ribbon around - Wheeee! And again!), how many hours I have spent in my garage shrink wrapping. About a fourty hundred thousand, as S. would say.

Burned out does not even begin to describe how I felt when we lost our biggest client almost two years ago. At the time, I was going to school full time, I was running my business full time, I was working out with a trainer at 5:30 a.m. three mornings a week, I had my 2 year old with me 24/7, my husband was working 12 hour days, and yet I made it all work. Everything was scheduled to the minute. Then several of the balls I was juggling fell out, leaving me with just a ball or two and no real demand as to how I kept them going. “A body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to…blah blah blah” and all that.

So here we are some time later. Chris works from home, S. is in preschool, I am not presently in school, I am certainly not training unless crying jags are considered a workout, and I am down to one client. My husband works his ass off taking all the clients he can while I sit here stroking my laptop and arranging my closet. The man has worked this hard for 25 years – he deserves to enjoy his life! And what am I doing to help?

I try to be happy as a SAHM (even if that acronym makes me feel like its my CB radio handle) and I tell myself these years are precious and its only temporary. Believe me, every helpful thing you’re thinking right now, I tell myself. And yet I can’t help feeling like if I’m not on the floor doing workbooks and playing dolls all day with my daughter, then why don’t I take my selfish ass into the office and start cold calling and help my husband out?

We have a massive (I mean massive) tax bill due in about 30 days and it all falls on Chris’ shoulders. I know he would like to think that it’s a fair exchange because, you know, I am a Stay! Put! At! Home! Mom! but we both know that he does as much work with the child as I do. So, where is my value add, as we used to say in the biz?

Do you want to buy a basket?


Anonymous said...


I am totally there with you. And every semester I say I'm going to enroll and something always happens. :( I hope you feel better today. *hug*

Posted by: Lisa | 03/08/2006 at 03:34 AM

It sounds like you and hubby have your own business? If that is so--I can relate. My dad has always had his own biz or done contract work or the like and it is HARD. People talk about being your own boss like its glamourous but I have seen him work 30 hours at a stretch just to make ends meet.I feel for you and I know it will work out for you!!

Posted by: TheIdleReceptionist | 03/08/2006 at 05:46 AM

I didn't graduate from college until I was thirty, so I have much sympathy for your plight as the 'mom' of the class. Even though I didn't have kids yet, I still felt horribly, horribly old when I would go to class. Keep it up, though. It's a great feeling to finally finish, especially when you worked so hard for it.

Posted by: landismom | 03/08/2006 at 05:57 AM

I'm sorry that you're going through a rough time; maybe that'll give you the motivation you're looking for, though. Although I'm not a mom yet, I have some of the same issues. My husband's working extra so I can have a lighter load at work and then come home and write, write, write. So when I'm not spending every second off of work pounding out my novel on the keyboard (and, no, blogging doesn't count) then I feel horribly guilty. And I don't feel like I should just make up the remainder of my requisite 40-hour work week; I feel like I should be working all the time. The guilt we put on ourselves for the things we feel we should be doing is so much fun, isn't it?

Posted by: Caryn | 03/08/2006 at 06:46 AM

honey, I just want to give you a big hug right now. From what I have seen of you, you're brilliant, funny, an inventive and captivating writer, and an amazing mom. I wish I knew you in real life!!

Posted by: Marcia | 03/08/2006 at 08:13 AM

HANG IN THERE, Lena. I'm with ya all the way. It's all gonna get....worse! (From all my real-world older mumpals)I keep thinking when the kids are bigger, when things get settled, when I get settled, when blahblahblah. But here's a radical thought: what if things don't get anywhere and remain the crazy ass crap that it/they are? HA!You just made me think, again!

Posted by: iKat | 03/08/2006 at 08:58 AM

Hang in there! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. *Hugs*

Posted by: Jess Riley | 03/08/2006 at 09:17 AM

I know this is such a cliche but I do know how you feel! School will always be there but S. is only going to grow up once! The time you devote to her now and the memories you create will last a lifetime! You will have no greater joy in life than that of watching your daughter grow and excel in this world. So, you may graduate from college together! Big Deal! As for Chris, I'm sure he does enjoy his life! He has a super cute daughter and a beatiful wife! Your contributions may not be monitary but they are just as important!Anyways my point is I'll buy a f'n basket!!!!I do hope you cheer up!

Posted by: hook | 03/08/2006 at 10:11 AM

I get you on this one...when I get bored I don't do anything. When I have too many things to do, I can manage all of that and more.What is in the baskets?Your kiddies are cute and contributing cute genes counts for life.

Posted by: Ditsy Chick | 03/08/2006 at 10:32 AM

i would be offended just now -i'm used to being the grandma in my classes (previous life) but thanks to my immaturity, kids thought i was 22 when i was 28. not too shabby.i am definately feeling it for you. we too have a tax bill of large perportions, and all the pins we've been juggling are broken on the floor. if you eat ice cream at 8pm (Central time) and I eat ice cream at 8pm, we could have a long distance pity party by osmosis! *wink* hope you get some peace, clarity and chocolate soon!

Posted by: Chatty Kathy | 03/08/2006 at 12:33 PM

Just hang in there and do what you can. Things will get better. I actually am in the opposite boat. I finished my undergraduate and graduate degree and left a job paying 60K to sit at home and clean barf. I'm not doing anything to help the household budget, I'm a horrible housekeeper, and husband has to work longer hours just so we can afford to live in our house. I'm hoping maybe when the kids are older I could go back to work and help pay with the expenses and college funds we need to set up because all three will be in college at the same time in 18 years. Just try to stay positive and take it easy on yourself. Better to get your degree late than never.

Posted by: Chic Mommy | 03/08/2006 at 12:41 PM

I had the worst "Mom-type" in a few classes throughout college. Not only was she ultra-prepared, she nodded her head in incessant agreeance with everything the professor would say. She was like a bobble head that nobody would ever want.Please don't be a nodder.

Posted by: blog Portland | 03/08/2006 at 12:45 PM

Are you living my life or what?Seriously.This is freaking me out.And.What's in that basket again?

Posted by: Kelly | 03/08/2006 at 01:54 PM

Please don't be so hard on yourself, it is hurting my feelings and making my stomach hurt. I know where you are coming from because right now I'm "supposed" to be making money, according to my husband's family, but instead I am spending it and taking classes. My husband reminds me that I need to take care of myself and that is a different thing for everyone. As for being the older student, I always loved the mature students in my university. Screw BPs bobble heads! Who cares if you are over thirty. My mom didn't go back to school until she was 35 and she was in her 40s by the time she got her PhD. She was in school for my entire childhood.Do what you need to do to make yourself happy, and somehow that will probably work out best for your family too.

Posted by: Jessica | 03/08/2006 at 02:49 PM

You know what, (and I'm not anti-feminist in case this sounds this way), but since we've dropped the term "homemaker" we don't see to put much credibility into what equals making the house feel like a home to our family.

Posted by: Jessica | 03/08/2006 at 02:51 PM

As my husband is busy setting his own business BACK up ( working from home heaven help ME ) I can relate to what you wrote on a lot of levels.The only difference is I am quite a bit older my priorities are a little different.and ironically enough you might want to check the post I just made re the gift baskets LOL

Posted by: WendyWings | 03/08/2006 at 03:04 PM

I am also going to school. itia a online course to get my diploma. i will be thirty this year!so I will be wellpast thirty when I get any kind of degree(which will be a child social worker) So I here you and it will work out, take care:)

Posted by: mommyof4 | 03/08/2006 at 03:09 PM

I just have jump in here and comment on Jessica's comment. She said "Do what you need to do to make yourself happy, and somehow that will probably work out best for your family too."If only that were true. The problem is we live in a selfish society. The kids are self involved, fathers and husbands are often self-centered (maybe not ours, but I guarantee you have plenty of friends with uninvolved husbands), and the cohesiveness of family and society falls on us women.BUT, didn't Steinem and Fonda and other feminist activists campaign in our behalf so that we have the ability to break through the glass ceiling, to have equal rights, to be paid an equal wage?Well, yes. But, DOES THAT MEAN WE MUST LEAVE OUR FAMILIES TO WORK OR WE ARE DISHONORING THEIR EFFORTS? No. The women's right movement has done more than pave the way for equal rights to work. It has empowered us as women with CHOICES in every arena of life. We have the CHOICE to work. But, my dilemma is 'How can I honor what women before me fought for by getting out there and making a difference in the world while ALSO taking care of my first priority - MY FAMILY?'That my friends is the tricky balance. I am not a feminist and I am not an anti-feminist. However, I feel the modern women’s movement is totalitarian in its methods. It does not have to be one or the other. We do not need to leave our kids 60 hours a week or force ourselves to be proud of homemaking. We just need to be balanced. That's what I'm trying to find....can I make this tomorrow's post? :)

Posted by: Lena | 03/08/2006 at 03:23 PM

Lena,I agree, and I find it hard to express... wait, I'm going to make it my next post too.Anyway, all I really wanted to say to you is that you aren't Superwoman, and your husband is a different person than you. Maybe he has enough energy to work and take care of the kids, but he probably has a different personality than you. Maybe you are the kind of person who can only focus on one kind of "job" at a time. Maybe what you are doing now right now is being the best mom/wife/person you can be. Maybe a couple of years ago you could do more and maybe next year you will do more again, but I just found it hard to "hear" you berating yourself, because other people do that to us enough as it is without doing it to ourselves. I respect what you are doing (making a home & family), and I think the fact that you are thinking about all this stuff means that you are wading through life the best way you know how right now.Sorry, I don't even know you, and didn't mean to get so deep... I've just been thinking about this a lot lately. :0)

Posted by: Jessica | 03/08/2006 at 05:47 PM

P.S.- I didn't mean "homemaker" as in cleaning etc... I meant as in making the home a place where people live as opposed to just a place where you sleep.

Posted by: Jessica | 03/08/2006 at 05:51 PM

Thank you. Thank you for saying all of it. I'm like you. Not a feminist not anti either. I'm stuck in the middle. I'm so trying to find that balance. We live in a box and I'm at home, expecting a second. Hubby totally supports me being here. He too is so active when he's home, I could NEVER accuse him of being other wise. I'm torn as well. Very much. I wish we weren't on opposite sides of the states! LOL! Cheers,Kdubs

Posted by: KDubs | 03/08/2006 at 06:00 PM

Jessica - Your comments totally hit the mark. That's why I commented on them. Don't ever apologize for getting too deep! That's what I'm all about ;).

Posted by: Lena | 03/08/2006 at 06:06 PM

Hang in there, girl!!

Posted by: mama_tulip | 03/08/2006 at 06:36 PM

So... you're SPAHM? I guess that's better than SPAM... or having to eat SPAM. Hmm...I just felt I needed to lighten the mood, but now have nothing left...

Posted by: Kimmy | 03/08/2006 at 07:14 PM

Don't give up and don't give in. You'll find the balance. You're brilliant!

Posted by: Amanda | 03/08/2006 at 08:05 PM

Lena, don't beat yourself up girl, doing that isn't going to change anything. You know if you need help just let me know and I'm down for whatever.Your a lovely mother and wife and YOU definitely expect to much from yourself sometimes. You know, there is ONE sure way to make yourself feel better, inside and out.Wanna take a guess? The cure will be 9:30 Sunday morning. ~wink~We can maybe have lunch after wards. I love you Lena, don't be so hard on yourself, your beautiful, beautiful woman.

Posted by: Virenda | 03/08/2006 at 08:12 PM

Decision making is so hard because what if we make the wrong one! Arrgghhh. You know I love you, support you, think you're amazing and all that...what eveyone else has already said. And I know this isn't the 1st time you've battled this internal how can I help besides just listening? Tell me you really want to go back to school this semester and I'll call you every day until you email me your registration reciept. Oh I'll do it alright! Or maybe you would like to send me some bows to tie (You can't beat craft corner at Camp NeNe)How about I'll send S. some books so she and I can have reading time with Ne over the phone and you can give Chris a little spank. You get the point. You don't give yourself enough credit so here you go... It does only have a $350.00 limit though... xoxo

Posted by: Freakren | 03/08/2006 at 09:08 PM

Renee are you drinking again? Because you made me laugh my ass off!Chris would LOVE a spanking!

Posted by: Lena | 03/08/2006 at 09:15 PM

um....maybe I'll buy a basket? right after I pay for books.

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