Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is the time of year, and the economy, in which I should be talking about how many things I am grateful for. And there are many things.

I am grateful to have a stable job, with little chance of being laid off. I am grateful that my immediate family is healthy, and that I was able to complete this last semester after all.

I wish I could just stick to these things and be a happy person. Maybe I'm greedy, but I want more.

I have been in school for SO many years trying to work towards my doctorate. I had to quit in 2004 so we could move to Missouri for Tom's law school. I eventually restarted up here, and had to re-establish residency while working full time at night. I had hoped that eventually I could cut back my hours or stop working nights. For a short time, I was able to move to a day position that required travel. Then Tom took a travel job and the kids suffered. So I had to go back to weekend nights.

I enjoy my job. I enjoy my coworkers. I am in a good place. But it is so hard working nights because it throws the rest of my life into disarray. I last worked Saturday night, and I still couldn't sleep until 4am last night. I have basically no life outside of work.

I also aspire to a job that may require a pay cut. I really want to start teaching again soon, so I can get some more recent experience and build my resume. But there is no way that I can start work at 6-7am when I am working nights on the weekends. I might be able to make a case for an afternoon clinical shift (those were popular when I was in undergrad), but I'm not sure how that would work out here.

If I were to leave my job and teach elsewhere, I would lose my 75% tuition benefit and my scholarship from my unit. Plus, I would be earning less. So with a husband who is starting his own practice, that is an impossible scenario.

I feel greedy saying this, but I thought that, financially, we would be better off after Tom graduated. I have been the higher wage earner for over 10 years now, and I have been the sole breadwinner for almost 5 years (except for about 8 months when Tom took his travel job).

I never wanted to stay at home full time, but I have wanted to reduce my hours before. Each time I tried, it would be a hardship for us and I would feel pressured to return to a job that paid more. I am 37 years old, working in a labor intensive field. I hurt my arm a couple of weeks ago, and it has been slow to heal. I wish that I had the luxury to slow down.

Each time that some disaster happens, I have to put the pieces back together. I had to support my mom while my grandfather died, and now I have to be supportive while my father is in a non-communicative state. I almost quit school last semester because I couldn't handle all of the burdens. Thankfully I had a professor who is very understanding and she is probably the only reason why I am still in school.

I wish that I could have someone else who could be supportive. Tom has never been truly supportive of my efforts, and the few times he has said something to me that seems supportive, he always has to say something about himself. It is always about him. He wasn't like this before law school, and I wish I could get my old husband back.

There were a lot of things I didn't like about Texas, but right now it seems like this is the place where we worked the best. I know that I have changed, too, and I don't like who I've become. I find it impossible to relax - to do something just for fun. I feel pressured to make sure that the kids are doing well in school and that the house is clean. I feel alone in these endeavors.

If I could have seen all this happening back in 1992, I never would have gotten back with Tom. I hate being 5th place in this family, and I hate feeling like there is no one who truly cares about what I am going through. I have to be the one who supports everyone else, and it has gotten old.

If I could do what I wanted, I would leave and find a small place of my own where I could do whatever I wanted. I have the money to travel and I could take the time, but I don't have anyone to watch the children. I wish that I could do something that I like - something small. I gave up music a long time ago. Part of me really hates that, but it has been too hard to resume. For such a long time in my life, music was the one thing that helped me to be happy.


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