Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Inside My Head

When Steve and I bought the house we're currently living in, we bought it for the future. We were two childless people, living in one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in the area, with four empty bedrooms to our name and a primary school a block away from us. We were set for the long-term.

Then Brigid came along, and we started making friends with other families in the neighborhood. A new couple moved in next door to us, and suddenly, Brigid was referring to their son as her boyfriend, and Steve had a beer drinking buddy, and I had someone to carpool with to neighborhood girls' nights out. They had their second son a few months before Caitlin was born, and now we have a whole group of kids planning to grow up together. When a planned trip to the pool with a bunch of neighbors was rained out last weekend, we invited them over for dinner so the kids could play together a little longer, and the adults could drink wine, and it was just a nice way to end the weekend. A few weeks before that, it was a Sunday night pizza run for all of us together, after the neighbors had taken Brigid to the pool for the afternoon, so Steve and I could finish a home improvement project we'd been working on for weeks.

We've truly found ourselves in a really fantastic situation, and I couldn't be happier about it. But, for some reason, I just can't leave well enough alone. I can't be content with everything we have going for us.

Our house, our neighborhood, our current lifestyle in general, it's a two income party for us, and I honestly don't know how much longer I want to keep us a two income family. I want to stay home with my girls so much, there is an actual aching feeling in my chest when I think about it, and I can feel the panic/anxiety/need/some other emotion that I can't quite define rising in my throat, trying to fight its way out. The deep breathing and distraction techniques I've used to fight the random bouts of anxiety I've dealt with in the past only get me so far these days. I'm on every stress-fighting natural supplement I can find. I try to run the noise out of my head on the treadmill. I keep myself up later and later every night, because I can only fall asleep if I am so exhausted, I can't keep my eyes open for another minute, but even then, if Caitlin gets me up anytime after 4:30am? I'm usually up for the day, because there's no way I'm falling back asleep.

(Well, unless I'm running on 3 or 4 nights of 5 hours of sleep. Then I'm ok with it...)

I spend so much time thinking about how wonderful it would be to stay home with my kids, to work around their schedule alone, not their schedule, my schedule, Steve's schedule, and my mother-in-law's schedule, since she watches them three days a week. I think of how I can be responsible for dinner, so Steve's not rushing around to do it the minute he gets home, because I know how much that stresses him out. I think about how I can do the grocery shopping during the week, so our weekends are reserved for fun activities with the girls, instead of the chores that we haven't had time to do on the weekdays. I think about taking Brigid to a weekday ballet class, so our weekends can be flexible.

And I want it to be that way. Just like that.

But then I think about the money I'd be giving up. Am I actually doing wrong by my daughters, if I can't give them everything I always thought I'd be giving them? Is it wrong to move them away from such a great situation, with friends next door and down the street? We bought this house for the future, and we will lose money on it if we sell it now. Can I live with that? Or will I feel like I'm being selfish to the detriment of my family? Sure, where we'd like to move, we'll be closer to Steve's parents, which he says is where he'd like to be, but he's going to have a longer commute if we move there. Will he resent that, over time? He married someone who was willing to pull her own weight, financially, and if I'm not that person anymore, will that just increase his stress levels, knowing it's just him, now?

I know what I want to do. I just keep thinking it would be so much easier if I could do it in a way that's not an option for us. And I'm worried that what is an option for us isn't actually the right option for us. And around and around and around again, this is the whirlpool of thought I feel caught in, almost daily. I just want someone to tell me what we should do, what will give my family the happiest future. I just want someone to come be the adult for me for awhile, so I don't have to do it anymore.

And barring that? I just want to win the lottery, so I can move us all to our own little island, and this time period just becomes something we laugh about over fruity drinks on the beach, because ha ha! look how stressed we were when life involved something else besides drinking fruity drinks on the beach! isn't it nice that we don't deal with stuff like that anymore?

That's not too much to ask, right?

1 comment:

  1. Argh...take 2 since I signed out instead of publishing. Tap, stalking when sleep is evading me. I could have written this very thing when in Nov 2010 MC told me I had to go back FT while I was finishing up my final fertility treatment attempt which fortunately was successful. Otherwise, I don't even know. Digression over. Than again when I had to return from maternity leave and Matt was teaching a class and taking classes a few nights a week. Then again when I wrote and delivered my letter in Mar 2012 and finally in Dec when I actually turned everything in. It has been an adjustment both mentally and financially. But, we have gained everything we hoped to, which is pretty much what's on your list. The financial side of our lifestyle has not been as impacted as we predicted due to food savings, misc extra expenses and HELLO lower tax bracket. Obviously, my retirement savings are not nearly what they were. But all in all, a change for the better for everyone. If you ever won't to chat, you know where to find me. Good luck! You and Steve will find a solution that you'll both be comfortable with. P.S. the hardest part on the financial side is knowing we don't have my income to cover large unexpected bills or splurges...everything has to be built in month in and month out, or we have to dip into our savings cushion. But, even as uneasy as that makes conservative me feel, it's far outweighed by the family lifestyle improvements.


Leave a comment, if you'd like...I'd love to hear from you!