Thursday, April 14, 2011

My job does not count as "me" time

I love my job. I do.

But now and then I look back wistfully at my life as a part-time science writer. There was more time, then, for reading fiction, attending meetings of my mothers’ group, and writing. There was time to get good home-cooked dinners on the table without too much stress (other than that provided by small children hanging onto me). There was time to relax with the kids at home. There was time to go to the gym.

Every now and then I read the online discussion threads of my local mothers’ group, and I feel a pang of envy as I read women making plans to meet up with one another (children in tow) at the local coffee-and-indoor-playground spot. I read of plans for a new monthly cooking club subgroup, a girls’-night-out, or the latest book club discussion (which I’ve missed again). My fridge is full of vegetables and meat that I buy over the weekend in the delusional belief that I will actually prepare it all during the week. Instead, I am racing through a restriction digest at work, and then running for the parking garage and off to pick up the kids, late again. Dinner is frozen Costco potstickers (nothing wrong with that; the kids love them and would eat them 5 nights a week if allowed. But I tire of them, and I do feel guilty about not introducing more variety into their diet!)

I do love my job. But sometimes, I also look back longingly at my prior life. And with summer approaching, I look back even further to those first two summers here in our Midwestern city, when I was home full-time with both kids, watching them splash in the kiddie pool and run through the backyard; arranging playdates; making friends with other stay-at-home mothers and exploring the parks and museums of our new home with my children.

It’s not that I want that old life again, exactly. I was bored out of my skull plenty of times, and crawling the walls. I have only to look back at some of my old blog posts to remember that. I love my children, but staying home full-time with them really take it out of me.

And yet. . . Husband was also more understanding of my need for “me” time back then. He was encouraging of my outside interests and nights out. Now that I work full-time at a job I enjoy, he seems to believe that my job counts as “me” time.

Newsflash: it doesn’t.

I love my job and children both. . . I just wish I had more room to breathe.