Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Animals, Working, and Balls

Song of the week:
Miike Snow's "Animal" (the Mark Ronson remix, specifically):  

Lately I've been struggling with motherhood and work.  Every morning I drag myself in to my job, waving goodbye to my daughter (who starts howling when I close the door) and thinking to myself, "Damnit, why do I have to do this?"  It's not the concept of working that bothers me - I've had a full-time job since I was 17 - it's the thought that if I'm going to be missing out on her most exciting and formative years, I'd really rather be missing it because I'm doing something I love.  I've been working the same job since May of 2007 (and I've worked in the same building doing different jobs since October 2005) and, although it is a job in a library and I like the working environment, it is nowhere near the career path I have tried and failed to get myself onto twice now.  (I'm in charge of staffing the Circulation Desk with student workers, but I desperately want to be working as a Children's Librarian either at a grade school or a public library.)
The month I discovered my impending motherhood was exactly one month before I was due to move to Boston with Andrew and start a dual master's program at Simmons University - I was going to start in January of 2009 and at this point in my life I would have been nearing the completion of both a MLIS and an MA in Children's Literature.  Staying in Santa Barbara was the obvious choice because Andrew's family was able to help us out housing-wise (and we will be forever grateful for his Mother's willingness to move out of the place that she's called home for 17 years so that we could stay here), but now I find myself living in a beautiful place, stymied on my career path and having a directional crisis.  I applied for an online program through one of the two schools in my state that offer any library science degree and was all set to jump headfirst into that this Fall, but I was "automatically rejected due to the program quota being filled" and have basically had to sit here, twiddling my thumbs, staring into cyber-space and figuring out the best way to get out of having to go back to working 40 hours a week in September (I do 30/week right now).  

Every day I sit at work and daydream about being home with my daughter.  I think about what new and exciting thing she might be doing, what she might be growling at, what Andrew is feeding her, how far she might have walked, what words she might have uttered or colors she may have learned to identify.  When I reach the point where I feel like crying I'll send a frantic text message home to Andrew asking for a photo update... he's almost always able to oblige, but it's certainly nowhere near adequate baby-time to make me feel ok about slaving away at a job I am bored to death of while baby is at home growing up without me.  

Animals have instincts - to watch over their young, to protect them from predators and to bring them the best food they can find.  I have all of those instincts bottled up whenever I leave the house for my job - I have to force myself to let someone else take care of the care and feeding of my offspring (even if I'm lucky enough to have that someone else be Andrew right now.)

 Which brings me back to my song of the week (which you are hopefully listening to while reading this drivel.) There's a line in the song, "In your eyes I see the eyes of somebody that could be strong" - and it sends shivers down my spine each time I hear it.  I know that if I were given the opportunity to switch gears - get back into school while taking time off of working so that I can start on an actual career path - I would be the strongest, best student mom out there.  I'd buckle down and do my online assignments on time while the baby slept at night and I'd cook things like lentil soups and make sausages from scratch while she napped.  I'd cloth diaper full-time, expand my garden and learn how to optimize its produce and give my daughter raspberries all over her tummy any time she wandered over after having happily taken her own shirt off.  

But instead you'll find me, hunkering down in the bowels of an orange-and-purple university library, asking the student monkeys politely to stop flinging poo at the patrons while endlessly making schedules for people who will inevitably show up hungover to their Saturday morning shift.  

This is balls, I tell you.  Sweaty, zit-infested, old-man-wearing onion-skins-while-running balls.
This has to change. 

This will change.

But in the meantime, "I change shapes just to hide in this place but I'm still, I'm still an animal."


  1. Oh Abby, I can relate to much of this so well. Missing the baby, being stuck at a job that is merely a means to a paycheck, dreading leaving the baby even if she is with her daddy. It feels SO wrong in so very many ways. I'm going back to work full time on Monday and I would rather move home to my parents with my little family than work an additional 10 hours a week. I wish there was a better solution. I'll be thinking happy thoughts for you and am happy to lend an ear whenever you might need to vent.

  2. It did change!! You were accepted into the program you applied for! :) I love the incorporation of the song in the post... You are inspirational to me, Abby! xoxoxo