Monday, March 26, 2012

Can't stand being in my own skin

I can't stand being in my own skin sometimes. I can't stand that I spend most of my day sitting at home, feeling completely useless that I can't help our family financially. I just have no idea how to get my name out there any faster and any better than I am doing. And then I have to sit and wait once I have done that. For example, today I mailed letters and business cards out to 12 area band directors to offer their students a complimentary flute lesson in hopes that a few will ultimately decide to continue taking lessons with me. I have emailed area theatre companies and churches to let them know I exist. I wish I knew how to find other performance opportunities in this area, but I am just stuck. I can't very well sit on the side of an intersection somewhere playing my flute because I have Lily to take care of. How can I be both a stay at home mom and take care of my baby and also help supplement our family's income? My husband says it's not my job to help supplement our family's income, and I know it grieves him to hear me say stuff like this. I just don't think of it that way. He thinks it's a reflection on him, and a failure on his part. But I think of myself as a mooch and an additional burden on him and our family.

I have also offered a giveaway of my doula services this week so that I can hopefully help a family in need. Maybe a perk of doing something like that is to spread my name a little further and to say, "Hey! I exist!"

Ugh. Houston is a really BIG city. I am having trouble with the, "Hey! I exist!" part.

But you know what else? The skills I have and the services I offer are perks. They are extras. In an economy where everyone is struggling and everyone has to do without, what are the first things to go? The flute lessons. The doula care. The mani-pedis and the Starbucks.

I won't lie. I'm discouraged. I can't conjure up a strong enough word to describe what a burden debt is. It is huge. It is heavy. It is discouraging and it feels hopeless. I have had thoughts that I never thought I would have when I think about the mountain of student loan debt that is constantly hovering around in my brain. I'll never forget what a stupid choice I made to waste my free education on a completely worthless degree. They told me. "You won't get a job," they said. Yeah, well, I did well in undergrad. I did well in graduate school. But at the back of my mind, I always knew that I would be a stay at home mom.

And yes, I made the choice. And you know what? Even when we make what we think is a right choice can suck sometimes. You know? Like those parents who choose not to vaccinate and purposely expose their kids to chicken pox? It really sucks when their kids actually get the chicken pox. And they complain about how much life sucks for them during that time. But it doesn't change the fact that they are doing exactly what they wanted and things are going how they planned them to. Sometimes it just gets discouraging and just plain hard anyway.

So we know that me being a stay at home mom is exactly what we want for our family, but when the bills are just crushing us into the ground, it sucks. I can't help but be plagued by the shoulda's and the shouldna's. "I shoulda majored in something else. I shouldna gone to grad school. I shoulda never played in band and fallen in love with flute in the first place."

I wish I would have had wisdom in my youth to know that being a musician doesn't pay! My best friend in the 8th grade told me I'd be eating bologna and crackers for the rest of my life and she was absolutely right. She was blessed with wisdom and I thought, "I'll prove everyone wrong! I'll work hard and it won't happen to me."

Ugh. Can't stand being in my own skin right now.

So then I worry about people thinking, "You should just get a job." Right. Get a job. Maybe when I have one kid daycare won't completely eat my paycheck, but as we add to our family? Yeah, it just totally won't be worth it anymore. So what in the world do people do?

And I also worry about people who are judging me, thinking we shouldn't have had a baby. Really? Have you met Lily? She's the most awesome little girl I have ever met. I can't imagine my life without her, nor do I want to. But I won't lie. Sometimes I just hold her, my shoulders just shaking because I am crying so hard while I verbally abuse myself, "I'm not doing right by her. This poor kid deserves so much better than me."

Ugh. Do you ever wish you could take your brain out of your head for just a little while to give yourself a break from all the mental garbage that goes on in there sometimes? I do. Sometimes I just want to get away from my own self, and give myself a break from all the grief I give myself.

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