Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Part-Time Everything

At the moment, I'm in a week off between the madness. (I was asked at the last minute to teach a summer session course.)

I've been reflecting a lot on all of the junk that is on my plate that never seems to get off said plate. I think it comes down to being a part-time worker, a part-time SAHM, and never feeling 100% like I'm in the right place, doing the right things.

When I'm at work, I'm checking my phone for text messages about the Bug. When I'm at home, I'm looking at the same phone for e-mails from students and/or administrators regarding work stuff. If I was a full-time SAHM, sure I'd be looking at mother's day out programs, but so I could go knit or run, or take a spin class and shower in peace. Instead, I'm looking at these programs in order to have a day or two per week to work on writing my dissertation. I haven't been to the yarn shop in ages, and the last time I was there, I basically bought 2 balls of yarn I needed desperately, then talked for about 20 minutes while knitting a total of 2 rows and keeping the Bug out of the cashmere. (They have a strict you-drool-on-it-you-buy-it policy. I have 2 balls of merino sock yarn on account of this policy. I can't afford cashmere. I do think it is a little unfair that the cashmere laceweight is almost exactly at Bug height.)

I know there are plenty of full time working moms and stay-at-home moms who are jealous. The full-time mommies are jealous because of the time I get to spend with the Bug, the SAHMs are jealous because I get to talk to grown ups and I'm mostly able to remember not to talk about poopy. (Well, except when I have a fresh, steaming pile of student research papers.)

But. There's that old saying "Jack of all trades, master of none." I feel like that's where I am. Because every time I forgo some educational game with the Bug in favour of marking papers while she plays with the army of plastic toys that have taken over our home and Sprout plays on the TV, I feel like a bad mom. Every time I don't clean my kitchen and take the Bug for a run and then some swinging at the tot lot, I feel like a bad wife. Every time I hold onto a pile of student papers for an extra couple of days because I went grocery shopping instead of mark them, I feel like a bad professor.

I feel like I'm stretched in 1000 different directions.  I feel like I don't do anything as well as I could, and then (evidence of my crazy) when someone offers to help, I have trouble accepting because I feel like by accepting because I'm afraid that it might make me some sort of failure. Because I feel like I'm not living up to any of my roles 100%, I feel like I screw up a lot. Of course, I already felt like I screw up a lot. As the owner of what I will call an unreliable brain, I've spent most of my life internalizing the message that my brain fails me all the time, and from there, I often conflate events to "it is all my fault and I'm a hopeless screw-up."

Feminism sold us a bill of goods. It was quickly transformed from "women should be able to choose their role in the household" to "women should be able to do it all." Somehow, I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I learned from Martha Stewart that I should be able to manage my household perfectly, while also running my multi-million dollar empire and wearing pearls. I've gotta let that go.

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