Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Homeland Security

Lately I find myself stuck in a bit of a rut. I vascillate between feeling unappreciated to feeling guilty for being able to stay home. Yesterday I had a case of the "poor ole me's" - i.e. I bought everyone in my family a Valentine, nobody bought one for me. Today, I'm feeling guilty because I can't wait to read more of my new book while I do the laundry. Apparently I'm a woman of extremes. I can't seem to find my way to middle earth.

I've been a stay-at-home mom for over 3-1/2 years. It was a reluctant decision, one that has worked out surprisingly well. I've never regretted it for a moment. Still, there are some days when I'm back in the mindset of a corporate employee. I think: "if I work hard, perhaps do extra, I'll get recognized for my efforts or, at the very least, get a pat on the back." Then it doesn't happen and I realize that being a stay-at-home mom is much more like being a government employee than someone that works for a private corporation. You get decent benefits, very little recognition and lots of job security. Nobody's really going to care how much or how little you do, until their favorite shirt isn't clean. Then there's a bit of grandstanding, but it eventually dies down - sort of like the hoopla over a $300 screwdriver.

It seems sort of sad because I was educated to always do my best, but for my own self-preservation, I have to change my mindset. I have to stop expecting my family to notice the artful way that I folded the napkins for dinner. They're worried about calculus tests, science projects and regional managers. They just want to come home to something that's peaceful and stable - which is why I've theoretically placed myself in the Department of Homeland Security. It's a relatively new department, but one that's vital. Nobody's really sure what we do all day, but it's our responsibility to raise the alert level to orange when the basement hasn't been cleaned or inappropriate instant messages are being exchanged. There are only two of us - me and the dog - and she's OK with me having seniority, as long as I don't take early retirement and leave her in a lurch. And let me be perfectly up front and tell you that I'm sleeping with the boss. But we had a relationship long before I started here. Hey, how do you think I got this job?!

Unlike other government employees, we don't always get national holidays off. In fact, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving are often our busiest days. In return, we can often sneak a Thursday off by avoiding the laundry, having lunch with our girlfriends and going out for dinner. Our motto is: "It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it."

So, if you want something done, then you should fill in the required forms in triplicate. I'll eventually get to it and then you'll thank me profusely and say that I'm much better than most government employees. Hey, it's the least I can do.


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