A Working Mother: Privilege


Okay, I am going to just come out and say it, I don't want to be a working mother anymore. I realize that my privilege allows me to even have this thought. I understand that the reality for many is that this idea could not, would not be entertained due to certain circumstances and the fact that I CAN have this idea makes me feel well, privileged. 

I often walk around and look at strangers wondering who is indeed fulfilled by their work, who gets excited about getting up in the morning and who beams with pride when they say, "I am a....". You see, 6-years-ago, that was me. I was uber passionate about breaking down the barriers for others to learn, advocate for those that can't, and be there for my students during the trying times in their life. I am still so passionate about education, psychology and helping others, but there have been some significant roadblocks in my work that also make this passion feel like a daunting, uphill battle, and that my friends, is what is starting to get me down. 


When I go to work I have no idea of the extent of the crises that lie in front of me. I have heard time and time again that when you work in a helping profession you must be really good at compartmentalizing your job so that you don't take it home. But how can you not take it home when you deal with tiny, innocent humans? Secondary trauma is very real in my profession. I see it happen all the time and I am pretty sure I am a constant state of living in it. If you want to see something eye-opening on how real secondary trauma is, come to one of my department meetings. Everywhere you look you see psychologists and social workers burning out one by one because they feel like their tireless efforts aren't making even a dent in what needs to be done. Education cannot lose these people, the students cannot lose these people. 


Even though my job is taxing, I am so blessed to have the best co-workers and the greatest leadership. The faculty, students and families that I work with have taught me and continue to teach me so much. My job is my home away from home and I couldn't be more grateful. But every day I wake up and I hear this voice inside of me telling me to be here, to be at my actual home with my very impressionable little daughter, husband, and dog. The voice keeps telling me that the more I am surrounded by stress, the deeper waters I get myself into. And I fear that I may not be able to get back out. I am at a major tipping point in my mental health and I have fought so freaking hard to stay whole. I can't unravel right now. 

The recent events in my life have been screaming at me to be still and to listen. I have had some very close family members get sick, have surgery, and get some pretty intense prognoses. As for myself, I have had blood work come back that is out of normal limits, and I have doctors telling me that my body is starting to shut down from the stress. I feel like I have to listen. I have to slow down. I have to be there for my family. 


As for my family, there are many nights that I come home late because either one of two things happened (a crisis happened at work and I stayed late or I had acupuncture/doctor's appointment). On such a night Winter can be extremely needy (as a two-year-old should be who hasn't seen her mother all day). Thankfully I have a husband who does just about EVERYTHING he can to set up my night to be as stress-free as possible. He cooks, he cleans and he makes sure to not ask about my day because he typically knows the response. There are so many times when I want to give more, to him and to Winter but I physically and emotionally just can't. It also extends way beyond my nuclear family. I often have huge plans to connect with other loved ones and friends but once I finally get home, all I want to do is crawl under the covers and watch television. I am spent!


I have been feeling so torn about being here, in this job, in this city while so many of my loved ones are going through a hard time. I honestly don't know what my future holds in terms of my career, the city I live in or even the size of my family. All I can do is keep having grace, finding the good bits in my work days and really start to slow down to listen to what my body and the universe keeps telling me. 

And man oh man do I feel so blessed to have a husband that will stand by my side no matter what, a supportive work environment (even though its a huge source of my stress), and my beautiful daughter to come home to. I know this post is a bit of a rambling mess, but this is where I am at....kind of a rambling, wandering mess.


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Photgarphy by Brittany Renee