Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To Work, Or Not To Work?

That is the question. Whether t'is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of toddler and preschooler woes, or to put on pantyhose despite a sea of toys and by leaving for work, end them.

We'll just call that Shakespeare's Ode to the SAHM's Dilemma.

I'm struggling with the decision. And Emma's apparent separation anxiety is not making it any easier. For the first time in 3 years, I am trying to think about myself and my own ambitions, and once again, my thought process is clouded by the hysterics of a desperate 3 year old. I can't help but wonder if my decision to stay home thus far was an ill-fated one, inevitably leading to this moment when separation becomes an unfathomable idea to her self-involved 3 year old psyche. Was I wrong to stay home with my kids these years? Did it make them too dependent on me? And if I do go back to work, how will that transition be? Will it throw my otherwise confident, well-adjusted daughter into such a state of anxiety that it precipitates a lifelong struggle with nerves? It sounds ridiculous, but after these past few weeks of anxiety ridden attempts at separation (after only being separated for two full days), I can't help but worry. If only two days with a babysitter brought on such stomach-hurling anxiety, what would a full-time sitter do?

On the selfish side of things, I"m desperate for a life of my own again. The kids are old enough now that they both are very capable of playing and socializing away from me. And frankly, I need them to do that. I need adults. I need intellectual stimulation. I need a life outside of diapers, trips to the playground, finger foods, and pipe cleaner projects. It was never my intention to stay home full-time forever. I knew I couldn't do that from that get go. But I also knew that when it was time for me to return to work at my daughter's 4 month birthday, I just couldn't bring myself to hand over such a prized and helpless possession to the care of someone else. So here I am. Three years and 2 babies later, growing weary of the daily routine. And no amount of love and pride in my children changes the fact that I need to nurture myself as well. Problem is, having been "out of the loop" for 3 years, I'm not sure how to jump back in....or where for that matter.

I feel another act of this play of mine coming to a close, the curtain falling on these players and their drama. But what the next scene holds in store remains a mystery. And I've much more writing to do.

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