Monday, March 2, 2015

The Loss of Adult Momentum

One of the hardest parts about becoming an adult is trying to figure out what you want to be as a grown up. We try to prep ourselves during high school, we take the aptitude tests. We apply to college and plan out our future education plans. We hope at the end we can get a job that pays our bills and affords us a decent retirement.

I did all of that. I did everything right. I did well in high school. I did well in college. I was able to get a good job right out of college and I enjoyed it. Financially, I've steadily done better for myself.

And then... I don't know what happened.

No, that's not true.

When I quit my job at a volunteer program I worked at, due to not having full time child care with my parents because their health had issues, I started going into a slump. I was able to get a great job at a college bookstore and I loved that job. It was perfect. I made a decent wage, I had a decent schedule, I had flexibility. I could volunteer at my kids' school and really have it all. I really did. I know some people say it's not possible to have it all but in that scenario, I really did.

The down side was being told all of the time, from several people, that I was absolutely selling myself short. I could be doing so much more with my education and skills. At first, I believed them, but at the time, I really felt like I was doing the best for my family by working part time. Then once that schedule wasn't going to work with the upcoming arrival of Penelope, I took a job at my kids' school with less hours but a more concrete schedule, and I'd have summers and school breaks off. Totally ideal should I need to put Penelope in daycare. Except I also now make less than I did at the college.

And again, in the last week I've been asked so many times why am I selling myself short. Why am I not pursuing more challenging jobs? Why am I doing jobs that require so little of my skills? Why am I not challenging myself?

I don't know.

I really don't know what my problem is. Part of it is lack of confidence. I see jobs that I think would be interesting but I don't apply because I'm sure I won't get it. If I did get it, I would be so awful at the job and they'd get rid of me. I also don't know what I want to do. I don't feel any ambition. I get so discouraged. I think about growing my blog to make money but then I get discouraged and give up. I get frustrated because I don't know how to understand HTML, I don't understand how to make things look pretty with Photoshop, I'm not the person who can learn this on my own. So then I lose confidence.

It's a really terrible cycle.

People who are successful in such ventures keep everything close to the vest. I ask questions, I ask for guidance, and nothing. I'm not trying to take away from what others are doing, I'm just trying to get information.

But that aside, I face a new dilemma.

Right now, I work 15 hours a week. I don't make much at my job, but it's at least something coming into the house. It has a great schedule, I will be home in the summer and school breaks. It's so ideal, The downside is again, I don't earn much. The so few hours means a really bizarre day care schedule. I haven't found a day care within our budget that I would feel comfortable leaving Penelope at. I have some friends who could maybe watch her a few hours a week, but I'd like to pay them and I can't afford it. Then I think, is it worth working? With how little I make, should I just stay home with her?

Oh, but then I think- am I just feeling this way because I have no self confidence in the search of employment? What happens if I stay at home, am I screwing myself over for when I need to work again?

How do I get out of this funk? I don't know what to do. I feel like every decision I could make is the wrong one. As my coworker said today, the other way to look at it is that I have nothing to lose no matter what. Which is true. It's just so frustrating. I hate feeling like I don't know what to do or that every decision I could make is detrimental.

Have you experienced this? What did you do to get out of this funk?


Unknown said...

Could part of it be hormones? We make decisions that other people don't buy into, and I just tell them we're doing what's best for our family. I think if you did decide to stay home with Penelope, it would not be a big deal to transition back into the workforce afterwards. If anyone asks why you haven't been working, it's obvious! You had a newborn! Keep your chin up :)

SpiritPhoenix said...

I know how you feel. I've gone back and forth with my own schedule to decide if daycare is worth it or not.

Unfortunately, your situation will be different from everyone else. But know that we're here, we support you, and you'll be fine.

You've got this!