Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nowhere and Everywhere

I have always had career interests and dreams, and I have pursued them. I did not put those away when I had children, or when we found out my oldest had autism. Two incomes always felt necessary for my husband and myself, for one thing, though I realize we could find ways to live more simply, but also work feels like part of my needs.

Which needs? Stimulation, socialization, satisfaction.

And one more: Usually, work is where things seem to make more sense to me, and I can feel competent.

So today's post is about how awful it feels to have a bad day at work. Not because I have a fragile ego, or because I think one bad day is the end of the world, but because of that otherwise unmet need to feel competent.

I became a mom nearly nine years ago, fulfilling a dream, and bringing joy to my heart. But I feel as though I have been waiting ever since to hit some kind of stride, to feel successful. My children are wonderful, beautiful, lovable people. I am proud of them and I cherish them. Around them, though, I feel so incompetent. So incompetent that reassurance does not help. Logic does not help. It's a feeling I have to own and continue to try to work through inside my own self, and I work on it, and ponder it, every single day.

Last night I had an important event at work, and I did not do as well as I would have liked. I got nervous, my voice squeezed out -- tight and weak -- in a way that embarrassed me, making it worse. It was not a disaster, but it was not what I had hoped, and the disappointment I feel in myself is bitter. I disappointed myself, and possibly others, too. I have to get dressed now and go back to work and face that.

I imagine it would be easier if I started off my day at home feeling strong and capable and successful as a mom. I got up extra earlier, made my kids a great breakfast, wrote necessary notes to teachers, set out warm clothes, and gave them wake-up kisses, but now I am going to try to wrench them from their beds for the third time and I feel sad about it because as wonderful as it is to start my day with my beautiful, growing children, I know that I had far more confidence about last night at work than I do about this morning at home, and look how that turned out.


Anonymous said...

Take care of yourself! Thinking of you, and hope work has been better.

Try not to focus on the negatives and think how amazing it is to have both a family and a career. Sure they can both be hard work, and neither are easy - however, you would be without neither- which means somehow it will work!

Sending you some love and smiles :-)

Paula said...

I read this on Friday, and wow, it resonates with me. I have been trying to determine how best to organize my priorities and be everything to everyone. Is it possible? Most women will admit, you can have it all, you just can't have it all at the same time. There is no single answer. I keep doing what I'm doing until it doesn't work any more and then I figure something else out. Isn't that what we all have to do?