Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Job Guilt

So, I originally got my new job because we needed the extra money financially.  With our new mortgage, and the expenses of moving into a new home, especially with all the furniture we need to buy, we don't really have any wiggle room.  Brandon's paycheck can cover all this, so we'd be golden, IF I didn't need any eating disorder treatment.  But paying for therapy, dietary, and group therapy is EXPENSIVE.  And we've been able to easily afford it thus far because we live in my parent's basement, and no rent is a huge perk.  But that is all changing.

So I thought a lot about maybe wondering if it was time to try things on my own, and quit treatment.  I thought about it quite a lot actually, but came to the decision that I'm just not yet ready.  I am doing SO MUCH better than I was even a couple years ago, but I don't yet think I'm at a place where I could maintain recovery without a support system consisting of my therapist, dietician, and medical doc.

So, once we decided I sill needed treatment, the conundrum of "How the hell do we pay for it?" came up.  And, the obvious answer was that I get a job.  Actually working my butt off to pay for my treatment I hope will be a good thing, because maybe I'll appreciate it more, and take it less for granted when I know that all of my own time and effort is going into paying for my sessions, so when I walk into them, I don't want to waste them.  With Brandon's new job, although it pays great and we are thrilled he has it...meh...their insurance really sucks and my mental health coverage SUCKS even more and so I am going to have to pay the majority of it out of pocket.

So then, once it got time that I actually needed a job, I considered going back into the healthcare field, where I sat in a cubicle all day and stared at a computer, but I couldn't.  I just couldn't go back to doing something like that.  It didn't excite or fulfill me.  I needed something that I looked forward to doing, and that excited me and something that I felt passionate about.  And I feel passionate about helping other people.  About sharing all that I've learned, and passing it onto them.  So, even though I took a huge pay cut for this job, I decided to work at this treatment center.

And I am loving it.  I really am.
Recently, the guilt of working and not being around my kids has started to creep in.  If I was only working 10-15 hours a week, (like originally planned) I think I'd be okay, but I've been working a lot more than that, and more and more often, I find myself thinking, while at work, how much I miss Cade and Mila and how guilty I feel that I am not with them.  And it doesn't help that this week I am working 32 hours.  I just have got to pay off my therapy bill!  :(  But...realistically I know that they are in excellent hands while I am away; either with my mom or Brandon.  But it still hurts that I am not with them.  :(

Last night while at work, we were in Community, which is basically a group where the girls go around in a circle and say one good thing about their day, one bad thing, tell us their target behavior goal, and say anything that needs to get off their chest.  This isn't a group where we give feedback, we just simply listen to each other.  And even the staff participates in this group.  So, when it got to be my turn, I told them that a good part of my day had been playing basketball with them during P.E., because those chickies can put me through an intense game of Jungle Ball, (!) but then I said that a bad thing about my day was how much I missed my kids.  And, right then and there, I COULD have started crying!  Obviously I didn't, but I could have.  That's how much I missed them and how guilty I felt.

So now I feel torn.  I have to keep this job, and I do want to, but I don't know how to reconcile these feelings of guilt that I am not with my kids as much as I used to be.  All you working moms out there, I tip my hats off to you.  This is some hard crap to deal with.


Liz said...

That is really using your wise mind in your decision to stay in treatment. But I can totally relate to feelings of not liking to pay for it, I don't have any insurance at all. Luckily my Bishop and the church has helped me a lot.
It's a little harder for me to relate to the feelings of missing your kids so much since I don't have any. I think the more you miss someone the more you love them and I can tell that you really love your kids. Maybe plan some special mommy and me activities that you can do with the kids when you are with them.

simonattic said...

Can you tell them that you'd like to work just 10-15 hours a week like you had originally wanted? I don't think it's right for them to ask you to do more than what was in your contract. Good luck.....I know balancing all this out must be soooo hard.

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

Wish I could give you some advice on this, but I'm not a working mom, just a really hard worker. That said, I can maybe pull some of my experience together as it relates to feeling like a bad wife (and missing my hub) instead of the mom thing. Hope you understand I realize it's not exactly the same thing, but it is comparable in some ways and I do have guilt about being away from Rick a huge percentage of the time.

Ok - so I work a full time job 8:30 to 5. I also take 10 credits of grad school each semester (which is A LOT for a working person) and do a 16 hr/wk internship as well. When I go to grad school at night, I go right from work and am in class from 6:30 to 9:30p and then drive home and get home at 10p. Rick is already asleep. It sucks. A lot. And when it's not summer, I also don't have a weekend. I work Saturdays too. And Sunday is my only day to do housework, school work, etc. Again, it sucks. I also lead an eating disorder support group every other week on Tuesday nights. What all this means is that Rick hardly sees me and clearly I have very little time for myself too.

So I feel guilty a lot. About the fact he has to do most of the cleaning. Or that we communicate by notes when he's already asleep when I finally get home after a 15 hr day. Or that I'm sometimes just too tired to pay a much attention to him as I should. Or that sometimes I need "me time" so badly it I have a little downtime that I don't want to do something he wants to do.

Long explanation, but I felt I had to show you why I feel like a bad wife sometimes and that I miss my hubby something terrible. He's SO supportive, and I need to work because money is tight and because my life has purpose. But it gets hard, like you say.

Best advice I have is to make little rules to ease the guilt and appease your heart when it's missing those kiddies. For example: I don't answer my phone or text or anything during times I am with Rick if it's been a whole since we've had good quality time. I leave him notes or cards when I need him to know I miss him. I actually gave up Internet for lent one year every Saturday. So when I was home, I was with Rick and that was that! Haha.

We also remind each other of the things we're looking forward to... Like we say, "we'll have a delicious salmon dinner together Friday night!" or "can't wait to watch War Horse on Saturday night!" They are very, very simple an even silly things sometimes that might seem like normal life for most people, but need to look forward to them, and remind each other and ourselves that we will soon have time to be together.

I know you appreciate the little things like park time with your kids - go with it. Say out loud with them that you can wait til Thursday when you'll go there again (a concrete plan) and say it to yourself when you're at work missing them.

It's sort of like the difference between "I miss my kids so much," and "I can't wait to go to the park with them tomorrow." Both statements mean the same thing but one is a lament and one is a positive anticipation. :-)

My momma worked full time when my brother and I were kids - she made it work by doing special things with us in the non work moments and by improving the absence by leaving notes in our lunch boxes or on the mirror or in our toys. It made us love her but it made her feel better too.

You can do this. :-)

brie said...

heather, they're not making me work that much...i'm choosing to, so we can pay off my tx bills. i'm PRN so i can choose my hours.

brie said...

arielle, thanks so much for your comment. made me glad to know i'm not alone, but also your suggestions are things i want to try. if you can do it, i can do it!

Lou said...

Sorry you are finding it tough to find a balance between work and home :(

I really struggled with this when I started back at work (around 20 hours a week), and put my son into child care. A few months in though...and I actually think it is the best thing for all of us. The girls who look after my son are just lovely, and I know he is well cared for by them. He has always loved being around lots of people (unlike his super introverted mum!), so he enjoys interacting with other kids and getting to play with different toys and activities.

For me, I feel like work is a break (my job is pretty dull though, so that's probably not the case for you!), and when I pick my son up at the end of the day, I am so ready to play! It also means I am not stressing so much about money, so I am more relaxed in general, which is good for all of us. So he gets a mum who is refreshed and ready to engage. I think going back to work has also made me appreciate the time I DO have with my son.

Having said that, I feel massively guilty that I kind of, sort of, enjoy going to work :( Gah!

I think you are doing what's best for you and your family. That's all anyone can do, right?

Sorry, this is not much help. I hope you feel better about things soon :)

Laur said...

hugs. I don't have much else but hugs.

I think you have made huge strides in recovery and are wise to keep with your team while you solidify. esp with the weight gain hurdle. and the move can be stressful, even though good.

My own mom, 30 years ago, decided to go back to work, because although it was hard, she liked the fact that she missed me and appreciated me even more when she got home. She was afraid if she was home with me all the time she would lose sight of how special it all was, because we would just be together 24/7 and it would not stand out as so precious.

Also, know that you are helping the girls you work with.

Adam and Cassie said...

I went through this recently myself. Personally, I have to remind myself that I work to provide a solid and stable life for my little man. I think continuing with your treatment plan is the best decision you could make. Not only does it benefit you, it gives your babies a happy and healthy mommy who will always be there for them. Give it time, I promise it gets easier. Also I agree with Liz and Arielle, make the time you are at home special Mommy/Cade/Mia time. Good Luck :)
Here are some articles that helped me:

Maeve said...

Instead of feeling guilty for spending time away from your kids try and remember what your working is GIVING them. By working to pay for your treatment you are ensuring that you get the assistance you need so that you can stay healthy. By staying healthy you are giving your kids a mother who will be there in their future and has energy to devote to them now. If you lost your treatment your kids would lose so so so so much more than the time they don't get with you while you're working.

Your kiddos will miss you while you're at work and you will miss them, but you will all make it work.

It's terribly sad that it has to be this way, but think of the gift you are giving your own children by working at being healthy and think of the gift you are giving other people's children through the amazing work you do at your job.

Just That ZombieGrrl said...

First, I would ask your treatment team if there are any discounts, financial programs, or anything else that might help ease the burden of cost resulting from having less-good insurance. There might be nothing, but there might be something (in some states, at some places, there are sliding-scale adjustments), and there's no harm in asking (in my opinion). Second, I encourage you to remind yourself that if you weren't in treatment and ended up sliding back into your disease (even a little), you might be spending more time (physically) with your adorable little ones -- but you'd be more (mentally) distant. By working to pay for treatment, working in an environment where you get to give back to young women who haven't come as far as you have (yet), you're making sure that every minute with your awesome kids is a quality minute ... and inspiring others, at the same time. So, even though you're logging less (physical) time, you're doing more than ever to be sure that you're truly present for the time you do have. I know it's an adjustment, but I honestly think it'll be a good one in the long run. (Of course, you have the right to remind the people at work who make the schedule that there are only so many hours a week you've agreed to work, so you can maintain a balance between working but still having time to be home with Brandon and the little ones ... not to mention, having time to yourself.)