world’s worst mother award

I’m really not on my game when it comes to being a mom these days. After getting my grandma settled into her rehab room (and calling my mom to come take M home because she was losing her mind in there) I went home. The sun was shining brightly and it was warm, but instead of enjoying it I felt hot and irritable. I got home and started the process of cleaning the house (dishes, floor, putting laundry away, kitty litter, all that stuff). I finished and felt hot and sticky, and jumped into the shower. I had intentions of putting my seedlings into the raised beds, but I was so freaking tired. M wanted to watch youtube, and I laid down next to her. It was 7:30pm.

I woke up an hour later, a thick slick of drool coming from the corner of my mouth. I felt immobilized by exhaustion, but M was chirping, “Mommy! Mommy! I’m sooo hungry mommy!” I sent her to find my mom, but she came back saying she wasn’t home. Feeling like I was moving under water, I stumbled into the kitchen. I was thinking, it’s 8:30 at night and the fucking sun is shining, I don’t care if that means it’s summer, my kid will never sleep while it looks like it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon! Meanwhile M was demanding to be held, carried, and fed. I was out of bread, out of leftovers, out of milk. I cut up our last pear, and made her some instant oatmeal. I gave her a little bit of juice in a cup, and since lately she spills everything, she spilled it.

And I just snapped. I didn’t even know how horribly close to snapping I was, but I think I sort of screamed in frustration (not at her, just at the ceiling and at life in general), stormed to the bathroom, got a towel, and huffily wiped it up. M, of course, started crying and saying, “You make my sad, mommy, you make my sad” and I would usually take a minute to hug her and apologize for being gruff, but I was still so effin’ mad. She wanted to be picked up and I just really couldn’t at that moment. I said no and turned away, and she started crying more, “You make my sad AGAIN, mommy!”.  Does that not just break your heart??? It should have broke mine in the moment but I was functioning on some sort of basic survival level. I plopped her food down onto the table and, still feeling like my eyes were too heavy to hold open, crawled back into my bed. (Don’t worry, my house is basically like a studio apartment, I was not that far from her.)

A few minutes later I crack my eye open and see M setting her bowl of oatmeal down on the little table by the bed. She left the room and returned with a little chair from her little table. She sat down a foot away from me, quietly eating her oatmeal. My cold heart finally cracked. I looked at her and said, “M, you’re eating here by me. Did you miss me?” She looked down sadly and said, “Yeah”. I said, “I missed you too. I’m so glad you had this idea.” Her whole face brightened then, and she said, “Yeah!” I said, “Mommy doesn’t feel good. I feel sick.” She said, “Your tummy hurt? Your head hurt?” I said yes, and she gave my head a kiss, leaned in close, and said, “It will be better soon.” I smiled and kissed her back and said, “Yes, it will be better soon.” Then she asked me to feed her the oatmeal (being fed makes her feel loved) and I did. Then she went and got her pear slices and crawled into bed next to me with one in each hand. After she’d eaten them all, she just stayed there cuddled up with me, quietly singing to herself. Then my mom came home, and she got up and went to spend time with her.

Looking back on it, I feel SO BAD. I was a horrible mom. But I literally felt like I was drugged, like some kind of exhausted monster had overcome me.

I fall asleep and wake up with the same thoughts: please let us get away from this life soon. Somehow, someway. Universe, show me what to do. I also feel depressed and hopeless because I feel so stuck, and trapped, and so full of fear at leaving this country alone with no back-up. So scared for M to be without me while I work in another country. Maybe something will work out when I get to Nepal. I keep telling myself I’m going to explain things to my family there and see what they think. Maybe they will be enthusiastic about helping me find something to do there. Maybe they will tell me I’m crazy, a selfish American with first-world problems, and go home and stop trying to take jobs away from the locals. But we’ll see what happens.

“I’m so bored.”

Warning: Future Disengaged Teen Ahead

My daughter has just started uttering the “I’m bored” phrase, although she willingly admits to not having a clue as to it’s meaning, yet. But she gets that it is a proclamation of dissatisfaction. Maybe she wants me to stop cooking and cleaning and play with her. Maybe she wants to do something other than what is available in the house. But I don’t know… I think it’s more than that. I think she is tapping into a sentiment that is like an epidemic in the USA (maybe other western cultures, as well). Because, although I hate the term bored, I also feel that way all the time. Not that I have nothing to do… I have to clean, I have to cook, I’m supposed to exercise. I’d much rather facebook binge and stall than do any of it, though, and the reason is because it’s so uninspiring. That’s what boredom is to me. My job, my day, my routine… it’s got nothing in it that makes me feel enthusiastic, most of the time. It’s just another wash, rinse, repeat cycle. So I get it, it’s boring. It’s unsatisfying, and it’s uninspiring. At three years old, I can already envision my daughter as a 13-year-old, attached to multiple devices, with me complaining and griping about it. Which is so hypocritical, because that’s exactly what I do right now- try to avoid the humdrum of daily life with my phone/internet surfing/blogging/blog reading/facebooking/instagramming etc etc.

And no, just turning it off doesn’t help. Why? Because there’s a reason I do it in the first place. Something is missing. Something isn’t right. We are stuck in a life that makes zero sense. Work to pay for a house, child care, and car so that I can have a car to get to work, child care while I work, and a house to sleep in in between, which I complain about cleaning, and which I also try to avoid for that reason. It’s insanity. And I’m stuck in it, like a rat in a wheel.

The worst part? My daughter is absorbing this life style, and like a virus it is slowly converting each strand of her DNA to its mind-numbing cause.

How miserable is miserable enough?

We are told this is all acceptable because it’s security. We feel safe in the routine because it’s comfortable. It’s what our parents did. It’s what everyone around us does. We know what to complain about, which sources of solace to seek (food, alcohol, two week beach vacations) to soothe our drained and uninspired minds. We tell ourselves it’s ok because we have found a nice church, a school that seems decent, a job that at least we probably won’t lose. We need the job, after all, to afford the car (which we need for the job). We need to afford the house, from where we venture forth to work and school. Also, we need school, because we have to work, and what else should we do with the kids? And really, we aren’t that miserable. There are good times and good things about feeling safe. We are close to our family and friends. We sometimes feel happy.

But mostly, we don’t. We comfort ourselves with a lot of tales, but for a lot of us… something is missing. A true calling, a true desire. For me, it comes to the surface all the time. And never moreso than when my daughter, barely out of diapers, heaves a huge sigh and says “I’m bored”, in spite of being surrounded by educational toys, entertainment, a huge yard with pond and lake and nature galore. She is bored because I am bored. Because a lot of people around her are, deep down, uninspired. Unenthusiastic. Uninterested. And unable to see or find a way out.

But there’s donuts? And coffee?

To be honest, what helps me get through my average day, is my next coffee. Or a little bit of a candy bar (ok, a whole one, fine!). Junk food. And sleep. And facebook. These feel like little rewards to myself, so is it any wonder I’m getting heavy? Like, I really feel like I need a treat just to do what I’m doing every day. If that’s not a symptom of a disease, I’m not sure what is.

But what if…?

But yeah, here I sit, still doing it. There are lots of reasons why. Security, yes. Fear, definitely. My grandma still being alive is why I tell myself I’m still here. I even tell myself lots of stories, like how living in the townhouses and sending my daughter to a democratic-ish charter school will be enough. It’ll be better. It’ll be fine. But when I’m being totally honest, it will be the same thing, just wearing slightly different clothes.

I’m able to guilt myself into just getting on with this routine because of my daughter. Won’t she feel insecure? Lost? Alone or lonely? Doesn’t she need all of this American security to feel, well, secure? And if she doesn’t feel that secure, won’t she be super damaged? Am I enough to be considered a family? I would’ve left yesterday if I had a spouse and siblings ready to go with us. We’d be a mobile family, home as long as we’re together. Why cannot see myself and M as a “whole” family? Will making friends elsewhere, visiting people once or twice a year, be “enough”? Will having mom as “home” wherever we may be be enough to foster a sense of home and love, or will it destroy her little  soul?

I could go on and on like this. And then I see the road we’re headed down, and my future 13-year-old zoned out on devices, as clear as day in my mind. And I wonder, why are we still here?

 

 

a cry for help (in a forest with no one around to hear it)

I’m losing it today. It’s cold and rainy first of all, and what the hell is new? Back when I could spend the day curled up with a good book or netflix binge, this wouldn’t have mattered. But being stuck inside all day with a very active and energetic three-year-old who constantly creates a mess in her wake, well it’s more than exhausting. It’s fucking miserable. Also, after working I wake up to a floor so dirty things crunch when I walk on it. There are gnats buzzing around dried stickiness on counters, and I’m concerned about finding more mice in the house as the cats are getting old. Once again I’m back to either a) clean the house grumpy as hell or b) get out and avoid the house all day then return and clean the house grumpy as hell. Today I chose option b.

I’m feeling very uncomfortable in my body right now. Like, I’ve never weighed this much. I’ve always felt sluggish, but when I tried to exercise yesterday for seven minutes via the 7-minute workout app, I nearly died. I don’t feel good after exercise, never have, but I think I need to space it out or start smaller or something. I’ve done a lot better with eating, and cooking at home. Cooking is starting to feel less awful, and more enjoyable. So there’s that, at least. Eating healthier at home has been a success, but at work? TOTAL FAIL. It’s nurses week, and donuts, cookies, cake, Jimmy John’s, Subway, Chinese, dove ice cream bars, etc etc etc. And every nurse on the planet likes to stress eat so… yeah. I’ve been awesome at not buying food there, so saving lots of money and bringing food from home. But not really eating the food at home because, you know, junk. Junk everywhere. And I have the willpower of a marshmallow puff.

Then there’s my child. The love of my life who, when I’m in these foul moods, has the capacity to make me totally and completely insane. More insane than I should be. For all the talk about gentle discipline and respectful parenting, there are times when I fuck up. My kid is, for right now anyway, a total klutz. She spills everything. Not on purpose, just constantly.  I was already cleaning as she sort of followed behind me dumping and spilling and I totally snapped, lifted her up with “electricity in my arms”, placed her on the other side of the room, and walked away. She was crushed, of course, but it took me a few minutes to calm down enough to apologize. I’m that strung out, guys. She spilled water. Water. Big fucking deal and it was an accident! I am just at the end of my rope and the spilling is for some reason getting under my skin. Also the cat chasing. My cat Devi is old and now she won’t even come out because M mercilessly chases her and harasses her. It makes me so angry I can’t see straight.

Let’s just say that today I wasn’t the mom I aim to be. I just try to apologize and do better. But I can’t lie… I’m having a bad time of it and I feel pathetic about my mood.

On the bright side, she did great in swimming today and had lots of fun. I’m still over the moon about the swim school she goes to now, because it’s just so good for her, so nurturing, so excellent for young children. Her teacher raves about how well she does in the water and her shenanigans are not an issue, as they are age-appropriate. The teachers deal with it with humor and grace and gentle redirection. Wish I could say I do the same, at least more often!

Then we spent some of the day at the children’s museum (we still have a membership from a gift at her adoption!)… she got to see live frogs and salamanders, and then had an excellent time putting human skeleton puzzles together. It was packed but we didn’t mind. There’s always plenty to do there. At home we snuggled watching YouTube, and then I did a real life “egg hunt” for her where I put random things in plastic Easter eggs around the house. She loves the game. Now we are on our second Disney movie, have had our dinner, and are chillin’ as best we can while I clean the house here and there.

Really, what am I even complaining about?

 

 

all over the damn place

I’m constantly all over the place with my plans, at least it feels that way. I was going to do travel nursing, and ended up letting my anxiety over unstable working conditions and unreliable child care overwhelm my desire to travel. It’s still an option when she’s older (or when solomamalife agrees to come on the road with me!). I put myself on the co-op waiting list with plans to live near my sister and send my daughter to a democratic charter school down the road. In the meantime I thought of living separately from my mom in a rental house close to M’s current school, and scrapped that idea in the end because financially it doesn’t make as much sense and M is so happy at home, where she is, even if we do drive a lot. She spends her days catching frogs and wading in the lake and we are going to do our garden and she loves visiting with Gigi and playing with the caregivers kids when they come up. So why move now?

Then I’ve also been looking into 9-5 jobs that would allow me to pick M up from school and be with her each evening. I found a hospice job that sounded ok… but 8-5pm, 5 days a week? OMG. That sounds like a lot of work! I’m used to 3 days per week and the freedom to trade my days and give days away and not work holidays (because other people always want to work them). Plus, five whole days where I only have from 6pm until bedtime free? Ugh. I’m too used to working 3 days I guess. I’m going to wait until we get into the co-op and M gets into free school and then I’ll only consider a resident coordinator position in an assisted living. OR I’ll switch to a 40 hour work week (instead of 36) and get out at 3pm twice a week, so I’ll only be gone two evenings per week, and living so close to work means I’ll be able to get M from school almost every day.

Then, the whole house cleaner and babysitter adventure. Not sustainable! Paying $12/hour for six hours three times a week equals a whopping $1000 per month, and that’s not including the preschool fees. Definitely couldn’t have anyone clean my house with that going on, so I’m back to feeling stressed about cleaning all day on my days off. Forget cleaning or massages, I can’t even afford to live on the money left over. So I had to cut back on M going to her buddy’s house after school to once a week. Do I think it’s a better option than staying home with grandma every day? Yes. She had lots of fun and my mom was less stressed and she ate very healthy there. But I just can’t afford forking over so much of my income and still pay the bills. I’m going to once a week after school at her buddy’s and 5 hours with my cousin on weekends, which will be $576/month instead.

I’m waiting to hear from the director of her school as to whether or not the summer program runs (depends on enrollment). They are supposed to let me know by May 30, a measly two weeks before school ends. If it runs, she will be there three days per week one week, two days per week the next week for $300 per month , which if you’re counting works out to $2/hour (7.5 hours per day) plus $4.50 per hour after care which will tack on another $90 per month. Still, $390 beats $576! And on the days she has school that I don’t work (that third day) I can do overtime to pay for our trip.

In the fall I plan to put her in full day again, but pick her up early (after lunch) on my days off like I do now. I’ll pay the full time fee but she’ll really only be there until 3pm on the days I work, with the after care available. So the only days she’ll be home all day with my mom will be Saturdays. It should be more affordable and my mom shouldn’t feel too stressed, especially in the summer with the ability to catch frogs/turtles, take walks, swim and boat on the lake, etc. M will be happy doing that all day and my mom should be able to chill.

If I can just get through to summer program… right now I feel like we should be living off ramen noodles and using leaves for toilet paper.

 

leaving my life

Had a breakdown today. My grandma went to the ED, I stopped by and completely lost it. The case worker there was totally a bitch and not even nice about the fact that she had no options for me. That’s fine, though, not everyone is good at their job and she’s one of them. One of the excellent caregivers we have hugged me and told me I just need to set this down and walk away, for my own sanity. Her pep talk was so nice and it felt good to just be heard. My uncle was trying to offer to pay me to do this and is he fucking kidding me?! Not only is it not about money, but I’d pay not to have the job!

I’m also real fucking broke. As in, not living within my means broke. Mostly because a third of my check is going to childcare at the moment. Holy shit. Yes it’s better for M, and for my mom. But not sustainable when it comes to the bottom line. I have one option, I think, and that’s to leave my job and work at an office somewhere so I can have regular childcare. FML.

Also I’m wanting to just leave. Leave the lake. Move away. No one is taking me seriously about the fact that I can’t do it all anymore so maybe that will drive home the point? No dudes, I’m seriously out of town. Like, permanently. I need to find a job and childcare that matches hours. I need to find a rhythm and a sense of order. I need to get out of this mess and start over. I need to be a mom first and foremost.

Last and perhaps least (at least it really feels that way), there’s me. I do 12 hour shifts taking care of my patients and their families. I am really good at it. I am not a bitch to them. I advocate for them. I give it my all. I bitch about it behind closed doors but out there as their nurse I really do a good job. I go the extra mile for them. I come home 14 hours later and I’m a mom. I also have a mom, who I worry about and who I’ll someday have to go through this with. I’d like to know, who in the fucking hell gives a shit about my mental or physical health? Who really cares if I’m stressed and pushed too hard? One person really, truly cares. My daughter. She depends on my well-being for her own. She needs me to look out for me because there’s no one else to do it. She needs me to be the best mom I can be and I can’t be that in this situation. She needs me to come to the table every day with a full tank, and I’m showing up on empty most of the time.

It’s unacceptable. I’m 31 and I don’t really know the last time I anyone really looked at me and said, “you’re doing a lot for everyone, but is that really good for you?”

Some commenters asked about my mom. She is actually doing more than anyone. She’s willing to fire and hire people in order for my grandma to stay at home. She’s the one watching M for me when I need her to. She’s filling in when caregivers call in or arrive late or whatever. My grandma does not want her to do anything for her. Don’t know what the beef is about, but somewhere along the way my grandma decided she didn’t want my mom to do anything. She’s mean to and dismissive of her. So yeah, my mom is doing what she can, and it’s a hell of a lot more than what her siblings are doing, and a lot more than what I’m willing to do anymore. So credit where credit’s due. The rest of us are ready to ship her to assisted living, and my mom’s willing to keep going with the home staff. If she doesn’t want my mom’s help it looks like she’s SOL.

 

I used to be a nice person

…before I became an ICU nurse. It literally changes a person. I used to be accommodating and shrug off bullshit and try hard to make everybody happy. I originally thought ICU nurses in general were cold-hearted bitches who were smart but didn’t care who they pissed off (and I thought that was a bad thing). Now I know that we’re not cold-hearted bitches but also we don’t care who we piss off (and that’s how you have to be to get shit done). And honestly, you just get tired. Tired of idiots who don’t know what they’re doing. Tired of intubating 90-year-olds. Tired of trying to convince people that their loved one is suffering too much while they writhe in agony every time you turn them. You just get tired and you start to snap a little bit.

It flows over into daily life, too. I’m just not a pushover. I try to be nice, and work things out. And now? I guess I’m not nice anymore. I guess I’m done. I want to enjoy life. Enjoy my daughter while she’s little. Not feel like every time I look at my phone or come home it’s like going to another chore. I’d like to have some time to just be in the middle of my life, before my own parents get old and need me to make decisions for them. Is that so much to ask?

Yesterday I got home and looked for frogs with M. My grandma was blowing up my phone with her crisis-du-jour and I went up there. I sat there and listened to her complain about everything and get a lot of what I did and said in the past totally wrong. Then I said, “ok. Well I hope it works out for you.” I’ve failed miserably at problem solving this whole mess so I’m just not doing it now. I have to go home, make dinner, be with my kid. We’ve got a garden to plant, I need to exercise, it’s a beautiful day. I’ve been caught up in this hell way too long.

I walked out after about 30 minutes. M and I made dinner together and ate together. We went on a nice walk and played at the park. We took a bath and read a book about frogs twice. Then I banged out one last email to my grandma’s kids, my official letter of resignation, so-to-speak.

I’m ready to move to the co-op now. I’m ready to take a job where I get out at 4pm every day and see my child. I’m ready to be closer to my sister, and come to the lake on weekends. I’m ready to just be responsible for us, M and I, for a hot minute.

P.S. The “interview” yesterday was good, but I quickly figured out it’s not a good fit for me. I won’t be a pill pusher or a cog in a wheel. I’m able to direct the care of some of the sickest people in the world, I’m not just going to wheel a cart of stool softeners around all day. I did meet up with my old boss from my college days, when I worked in assisted living. It was so awesome to see her, like long-lost family! I want the job she had back then… resident services, overseeing their care but not doing actual bedside care. In other words, I want an office with my name on the door and business hours. The cool thing is that I made two awesome networking connections yesterday, so bring it, I say. If not I’m going to look into clinic jobs. Just give me a phone and let me decide who needs to see the doc and who doesn’t. Easy peasy.

I just want to see my kid more. I spend all my time wondering and worrying about how I can be with her and there for her more. Other than winning the lottery, of course. I’m done with running my ass off all day, telling doctors how to be human beings, and leading them like sheep to the correct decisions. Done with constant poop and phlegm and patients spitting at me and families deciding to keep their 98-year-old great-granny on life support just because. Done I say! Universe, this is your call… let’s get this train on another track!

 

frustrated and no wine

I am so not in a good mood these days. Sometimes it’s too much. I realize I don’t work in a factory for pennies and we aren’t homeless or destitute or all those other terrible things. I’m trying to practice gratitude. But oh my gosh. I jinxed myself with that blog post about how wonderful my three-year-old is. She has morphed into a full-time whiner the past few days, demanding and whining and crying and being really impossible.

Part of the problem is the weather. I’m frustrated to the point of tears that it’s freezing cold and raining. Once again, after  6 months of being stuck inside, we are stuck inside! It’s enough to make you go insane.

Here’s some more whining for ya (gee, wonder where my daughter gets it):

  • My raised beds aren’t done yet. The dirt isn’t delivered. Why? Because it’s freezing and pouring rain (so technically not freezing, but at this point I’d take snow over cold mud).
  • I have an infection. Somewhere I’d rather not speak of pubicly.
  • My daughter won’t stop begging me for candy. I came home from work late (9:30pm) and she was wide awake, not in pajamas, watching cartoons and eating fruit snacks. My mom is so not even bothering anymore. It’s easier for her to let M run the show than it is to fight with her about the rules.
  • Also… so sick of kids youtube and the freakin’ surprise egg/kinder egg/opening presents videos. I’m so close to deleting it except it’s the only way to get a rest in in the afternoon.
  • I’m broke. I’m doing way better on spending but the bottom line is that I’m spending $390-$474 per pay period week, per 2 weeks, on childcare now that my mom is too tired/overwhelmed to watch her a lot. So our dock still isn’t in, our boat isn’t in, I no longer get morning coffee or whatever going to work, and don’t ask me how I’ll afford to get any of the gardening going. My poor neighbors will be dealing with a nasty looking yard and lakefront.
  • Speaking of broke… no more cleaning people coming. It’s too much money. (They charged $80 per cleaning.) I can’t find anyone to do it for $50 a week. I’m back to cleaning the house, and it’s beyond irritating. My cats poop on the floor, and throw up, all the time. They are old but ugh. Also there was a mouse, a real mouse, because my mom and daughter have crumbs everywhere all the time. I feel like a cleaning lady in my own home and I’m back to wanting to just leave every day, all day.
  • I’m tired. I’m so tired it’s all I can do to stay awake sometimes. It becomes impossible to be patient with my daughter, or grandma. I’d ask my doctor to see what’s wrong with me but, oh wait, they did that 3x already and the answer is nothing.
  • Speaking of daughter and grandma, I took them both to look at an assisted living facility today and it was exactly like having two three-year-olds. They ate through the entire container of snacks I brought in 5 minutes and complained they were hungry every ten minutes thereafter, they fought over what we got for lunch and ate my share, too. I guess I’m just a chauffeur, nanny, mortgage-payer, grocery buyer, cleaning lady to everyone. It’s easy to forgive the three year old for that, a little harder with everyone else.

I’m venting and whining here, but sometimes I truly feel unhealthy, mentally. I feel like I do nothing but clean up after, feed, look in on, and nag everyone around me. I feel like a prisoner in my life a lot of the time. A prisoner who would like to stay in bed for 48 hours straight, waking only to stuff my face with cinnamon rolls and red wine.

And if you are going to leave a comment saying “Take care of yourself, do something for you!” I get it, but unless someone is going to babysit, work, or clean my house for me, that isn’t an option.

I’m passionate about unschooling and still might send my daughter to school

There are a whole bunch of us out in the world that, no matter how dismayed we are by institutionalized education and “the system”, circumstances are such that school becomes the only feasible option. How so? Take low-income families, where both parents must work. And take single parent families (hello!) where working full-time is the only option to pay the mortgage/rent and put food on the table. Imagine that one or both parents work full time, meaning 36-40 hours per week, add transportation time and it’s more like 46-50 hours of childcare needed. Imagine you pay $10/hour (quite a minimum) for a babysitter, that’s $500 per week, and not doable on most incomes. Say you are lucky enough to work 9-5 and you can put your kid in a center and you pay only $6/hour. That’s still $1200 per month. (Sidenote: I take home about $3000 a month and one-third of that, $1297.80 to be exact, goes to preschool and child-care.)

Personally, I can’t afford to pay even a few dollars more for child care, and I’m still depending on my mom for 15 hours of free childcare per week at the very minimum. Public schools are free, and provide not only 6 hours of free childcare, but latchkey and other after school programs which can bring you up to 9 or so hours per day of child care. If you do shift work like me, you’re gone 13-14 hours in a day, and still need to pay someone for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening after the after-school care, but that’s certainly a dollar amount that is doable.

My daughter will be ready to start kindergarten in the fall of 2018, and we will have the option of keeping her in the same building’s Montessori public school (7 1/2 hours of free childcare). I don’t know of any other free Montessori schools in the entire country! (Readers, let me know if you have some near you!) We also have an alternative public school that is popular with home/unschoolers here who have lost the ability to stay home from work with the kids.

There’s one more reason I’d send my daughter to school (albeit with much reservation and regret): we don’t live in a neighborhood with children available to play with, of any age. Even introverts need playmates and a community of all ages to interact with, and my daughter is an extrovert who feeds off of her time with others, especially children. She loves time with her mommy, but she doesn’t care at all to do things alone. She will if she has to, but it’s vital for her mental and emotional health that she be surrounded by peers and community members more often than not. That doesn’t happen here at home. I feel very strongly that she will really want to be in school for only that reason.

What about world schooling? Or travel nursing? We are back to the 14 hour per day, $10+ per hour conundrum and the pesky fact that we would still have to eat and pay bills. (So when I get a volunteer to travel with me and stay home with the kids while I work 3 days a week, we can go ahead with the plan! Lindsay at Solo Mama Life, I’m talking to you!)

So what is a proponent of unschooling to do? Move to Massachusetts and put her in Sudbury Valley School, of course! Or my nearest city has a lovely unschooling school with financial aid… except I live an hour away and can’t afford to move and pay a tuition and before and after school child care. Finding a few other moms to take turns supervising the unschooling process (and watching each other’s kids), that would be ideal, right? I’m accepting applications right now, and so far I’m on my own. So until I find the travel companion, or the group of fellow unschooling moms, my only option is brick-and-mortar school.

I hate that because I’m a single-income family, and because I don’t live in a community-like neighborhood or extended family group that provides my daughter with the socialization time she craves, I have to subject her to a system I not only feel is ineffective, but also think is damaging and destructive in countless ways. I’m heartbroken over it. Never before now have I wished so much that I could’ve been born into a culture in which children are raised by a village and spend all their time playing and interacting with each other and nature!

All I can do is opt her out of standardized testing, find the most free-minded school/teacher possible, and try not to fight with the administration/teacher more than once a week. Or- move to Nepal. I’m seriously considering both options.

spending too much money

It’s a problem. Of course, it doesn’t help that I have to spend $220 to recertify in some of my nursing areas, and $275 on a new car seat. And also, $84 two to three times a week for M to stay with her sitters. Then we had the co-pays for the physician visits, and for the extra supplements M is taking. And I got a massage today. I needed a new bra. And on and on.

Can I go two weeks without spending anything? Because when I add up my weekly expenses, I end up with between $380-527 extra per week for things like groceries, gas, and randomness. That should totally be enough but my spending is going over that. I think I might literally withdraw it in cash and say, here it is, better be careful with it! But I hate cash, so maybe I can somehow keep track somewhere else instead…

I’m very excited that, thanks to the sitters, M won’t need to be in the school summer program. I will save $265 per month by not sending her to school, and her Montessori class doesn’t run during the summer.

 

so grown

It blows my mind that my daughter is now old enough to a) clip her own nails and b) tell me to stop talking about her when I’m speaking with other adults. Wasn’t she a baby like 3 hours ago???

Today we had another pediatrician appointment. We are now adding the B6 and methionine into the mix. Everything is micro doses and slowly being added so she doesn’t become OVERmethylated. I somehow mentioned that I am always exhausted and have slept too much my whole life, and he talked me into taking SAM-E and iodine as well. It’s safe so… I’ll give it a go.

We went to the home of my third cousin because she is also going to start watching M part of the days when I work (to relieve my mom of the long 14 hour days that are so stressful alone with a super active 3-year-old). So now most weeks my mom will have a lot of relief and M will have a lot of time socializing with other kids. She’s so social and full of energy that playing hard with other kids for part of the day is necessary for her mental health and her sleep on a daily basis. My cousin has four young children, a house way out in the country away from roads, with chickens and a giant trampoline and swings and, well, M was pretty much in heaven and didn’t want to leave! My cousin also left her teaching job to homeschool her kids, so sharing similar values around education and healthy eating made me very happy and comfortable with leaving M there. Also, we’re family and I know for a fact she’s a great person.

I’m about to be a lot poorer but I think my mom, M, and I will all be less stressed and be able to spend our time together more happily. M will make friends with more children and I will feel more connected to other moms who parent much like I do.

Now, this child behaved amazingly for the doctor, ate asparagus and rice for dinner, took a bath all by herself, didn’t fight me on getting pjs on, read three books with me, said, “Goodnight mommy!” and fell immediately asleep. This is such a rare golden day for us, so I’m going to fall asleep thanking my lucky stars.