This is going to be one of those super random posts, because when have I ever really talked about my work status and what it means to me…
I mean really talked about it, I’ve talked about how busy I was with school and work but never much about my status and what I called myself. I think I am in the between right now. After having Ms. Marie 5 years ago, earlier than expected. My job status was always in jeopardy. I mean, who can have a preemie and go back to work full-time without freaking out about it. Especially when that preemie is in need of seeing a doctor everyday of a week, and those visits lasting upwards of 2-3 hours. That is how I spent Ms. Marie’s first year of life, in a doctors office. She would have 3 appointments a day and each one lasting at least 1 1/2-2 hours. That’s a whole day of appointments, that leaves little time for napping, eating, sitting still or even playing with your other daughter that is 14 months old. That doesn’t even leave you to adjust to all of the new information each doctor is giving you. You have the one doctor telling you that your child is deaf and it could get worse, you have another doctor giving you results of tests that didn’t come out in your favor, and then you have the other doctor giving you advice on how to deal with everything else. And at the end of the day, I just cried, because what else was there to do. Both Mini Mouse and I disliked the doctors office, she would cry and I would yell. It was a losing battle, one that we wouldn’t win until Ms. Marie got older. Now, we only go to see a doctor if we have to, and we try not to have to a lot!
Anyways, through all of that my job status has never been a question. It was just, do what you have to do to survive and then do it again. When I had Ms. Marie I was a childcare teacher, and truly enjoyed every minute of it. After I had Ms. Marie, I hated it. Not the children, parents or co-workers… well… maybe a little of all. Because, while I was at work taking care of someone else’s child. My child was at home being taken care of by someone other than me. She was a perfect replacement me, she was everything you would want for a nanny. She was family and we still keep in contact with her and her family, but it wasn’t me. That was supposed to be my job! I had already missed out on her first 5 1/2 weeks of life while she stayed in the NICU, it just didn’t seem fair that she was now going to spend even more time away from me. With me coming in and hearing how she did and what she did and what she liked and didn’t like from someone else. So after TONS of conversation, a reality check and anxiety attacks… I quit my job as a childcare teacher, went back to school and got a part-time evening position at another hospital. Enters UW Hospital…
Now all of this didn’t happen overnight, but it seemed like it. This is when I started working as a Unit Secretary or what they are really called, Health Unit Coordinator. This was the perfect job, I had great pay, excellent benefits, part-time hours, and got to spend the mornings with my kiddos and the evenings with adults. Now working 50% I only had to work 3 8 hour shifts and 4 4 hour shifts to meet my hours I needed. The great part about this… I could “choose” the dates I wanted to work (other than every other weekend). So I made sure my work days didn’t coincide with important dates, for the most part it worked and this is when my status as a parent out ranked my status as an employee at an organization.
I struggled with it, I was bored, depressed and a little irritated that I had to choose one over the other. Who says that out loud, I DO!!!!!!! Because it was the truth. I didn’t want to be the Stay-at-home mom, I wanted to be the career mom that had it going on. But the more I fought it the more it fought me back, until I just learned to live with it. I didn’t want to be known as _(insert name here)_’s mom, I wanted to be known as Iiona, who is the mother of Ms. Marie, Mini Mouse and D-boy. I refused to be put back in the 18th century where the woman was responsible for doing the household things because it was a woman’s job, I didn’t want to become Sally Homemaker. That wasn’t me, I was a raging feminist with idealogical views and none of those included me being that doting stay-at-home mother of 3 that cooked, cleaned, did laundry, made lunches, ironed clothes, and did nothing for herself because her family was always first… Can you tell I watched to much Leave it to Beaver… But seriously, THAT WASN’T ME! And every chance I got, I made sure everyone knew that.
Cook dinner? Yeah I don’t do that. Clean bathrooms while whistling? Ummm, not in my vocabulary. Iron Clothes? What’s an iron? I even put it in my wedding vows that I wrote, seriously… I did! I was a woman from the present, who was head strong, kept her last name (Virgin for life!), vocal, opinionated, truthful at all costs, and disliked anything that was for “the woman to do”. Pink was my enemy and blue was my savior. To be honest I only wanted a house full of boys, not ONE girl, no not one! And did you see what happened? Did you… I was a stay-at-home mommy of not ONE girl but TWO! WTF, who plays a dirty trick like that on a person! I think I was stunned when I found out, and my friends LOVED every FREAKING minute of it. Every and anything they could find in pink, we got. I fought, I cussed, and I threatened. If I get one pink thing, we will no longer be friends #PERIOD! Yeah, we are still friends and Mini Mouse is “princess”, loves pink and has her room full of pink and white… *shaking fist in air* ”Where did I go wrong?”
Fast Forward a year, and my views on SAHM changed drastically. I had friends I could talk with about what it was like for them when they made the switch from working a job at a corporation to being the CEO of their family, so I talked with them about it every time we got together. I still think to this day I was annoying to them, I hope I never made them feel like they were any less of who they were. Because as I said before… that wasn’t my THANG! In the end I was able to come to terms and understand some things. I was able to grasp that this was what was best for our family, and sometimes you have to sacrifice to get where you want to be.
My main goals when I was working was to be classified as middle class, not poor or working class. I wanted and strived to be middle class. Why? Because I was raised in a single parent poor household, we received all types of assistance and it was shameful then, and I didn’t want to be like that as an adult. My goal was to be able to look back on my past as an experience and stepping stone and say, “I was poor as a child, but as an adult I am not!” I wanted (and still do) my children to have the things that I never had and so I was determined to work it out. So I did. Life was basically crazy while I was in school full-time, working part-time, doing an internship full-time and being the CEO of the Virgin-Lewis Family. I truly love being able to do things with my kiddos class, I enjoy volunteering in their classrooms, going on field trips and helping the teachers when they needed me.
Now here we are 2012, and I have been a mom for years, I feel like a seasoned pro. I feel like everyone wants my advice, because after all I’m a mom and I know what I’m talking about, DUH!
But seriously, here we are today and I am again questioning my work status. I officially graduated from UWO, AMEN and AMEN! We have transported our family through time and space from good ‘ole Wisconsin, down south to Texas. We got here and within weeks we were swept up in the fantasy of Pop Warner Football, such easy targets we were. Something told me to sign them up for YMCA’s flag football league again, but if I had done that Ms. Marie wouldn’t be playing flag football, Mini Mouse wouldn’t be a cheerleader and D-boy wouldn’t be enjoying ‘kinda’ his first season in tackle football. But I also wouldn’t be patiently twitting my fingers waiting for this season (football and cheer) to be over.
Now instead of spending my days racing across Madison doing all things community focused, I spend my days surfing the internet looking for that one job that will throw me in the right direction to the job I want to do until I retire or at least until I can get my own business started. I also spend a good portion of my day in front of my television… I can say I haven’t gotten into soaps, but I’m just as stuck on NCIS, Bones, Castle, Supernatural, and Flashpoint. I’m gonna leave that alone, and just know it’s not as fun as you would think. Let’s see every now and again the girls school ask me to come over and help them with different things, like making a poster for the new principal, helping out with picture day, being lunch room monitor (yeah, NEVER AGAIN!). I also updated my resume, finished my Thank You notes, done TONS of laundry, made some awesome dinners and snacks, and came up with some crazy ideas to do with the kiddos off of pinterest, google and the countless blogs I follow…
Which again brings me to my status as a SAHM, can I really call myself that. I mean most SAHM actually have children at home. And if you’ve been paying attention, all mine are in school. Not one is at home with me. I have always and will always feel blessed that our situation allowed for me to be at home because so many want to do what I am doing, but can’t.
Anyways, I don’t know what is in store for me in the next days, weeks, months and years. I’m looking forward to experiencing it with my family 100%, if my journey leads me to being a SAHM mom for a few more years… look for me in the local mental institute (just kidding, just kidding), I will do what needs to be done and not look back.
Hope you have a great day, I know I will
The kiddos before their games yesterday… The Virgin-Lewis Family