I'm taking my third borne to a 4-H Camp Counselor training session today. For days, everytime I've thought about this, I've been beset by free-floating feelings of anxiety. I slowed down yesterday and examined exactly where this was coming from. Was I afraid of crossing paths with old co-workers? No. Was it the drive? I hate driving long distances, but this isn't a bad trip at all. So that wasn't it. Was it spending an entire day in a small town with nothing to do while my kid's in this meeting? That isn't helping, but I'll throw in my laptop and a couple of books and see if I can find a park to have lunch in. That wasn't it either.
Then it finally hit me. This was how I felt every morning before work for nearly four years. I dreaded it--leaving THE BOYS alone for huge chunks of the day, knowing I was going to sit in meetings that bored the hell out of me, where I would worry about THE BOYS and regularly take calls from THE BOYS, and then call them back later to make sure whatever situation had been resolved. I would miss important discussions with coworkers and have to be caught up--which they were all very nice about as they had grown kids themselves--and then proceed to try and be a part of the decision making process while I thought about THE BOYS. Then I'd come home to a trashed house and boys with school half-done and a husband who'd beam at me and assure me that we could "catch them up" on my day off. And the next day I'd do it all over again, unless it was my day off, at which point I'd try to catch the boys up and clean the house at the same time.
I was supposed to love this job. It meant having an office of my own (with my name on the door), making a difference in other people's kids' lives, having a say at a community level in how issues relating to youth were concerned. It meant playing with preschoolers, teaching kids fun games, empowering parents to bond with their kids. I should have been empassioned about this, because I am--in theory.
But I didn't. I didn't want to hate it, but I did.
So what was wrong with this dream job? Apart from the secretary that drove me crazy? Apart from the parents who called me up and yelled at me whenever their kid didn't get the honor they thought they should? And all the long drives? And the meetings and the group think? (Mary is not a joiner)
The hours, the days, the occasional weeks away from home. I was miserable and often depressed and probably ate my way into some of the problems I'm now trying to undo. While I was off enriching other people's kids' lives mine were at home alone, without me, getting (what was to me) a half-assed education.
So I've had remind myself that today I can just drop off my kid and go do what I want with my day (a rare day indeed), then pick him up at the end of it and listen to him talk about what he did and what he's going to do. And I can just be the mom I've wanted to be for the last few years.
The psyche is a very strange thing.