Sunday, May 24, 2015

On Working

Right now I'm attached to a breast pump wearing a royal blue polyester shirt in a quiet house. My whole family has gone off on a Memorial Day adventure, but I won't be joining them because I have to go work.

When we decided to have a fourth child, we decided that I wouldn't go back to teaching. I wanted to spend most of my time at home schooling my own children. But our finances / lifestyle requires me to bring in a little bread. Waitressing makes sense. I  enjoy waitressing. It's good, fast money. I'm an extrovert. I like helping people have a good time. A couple of weeks ago I started at the place my younger sister has worked for years. It's fun and the views are great. All and all, it's not a bad deal. Until...

It's a holiday weekend, and I want to be doing all the fun things everyone else wants to be doing, but instead I'm attached to a breast pump in my polyester shirt in a quiet house feeling a little sad and thinking about life choices.

Sure, we could probably skate by without my part-time job, but that would mean added stress when a car breaks down, and it would definitely mean we couldn't make trips to visit my best friend in New York. It would mean no new house plants ever, and not being able to feed my family the sorts of foods we place a high premium on. It would mean lots of little sacrifices.

Or it could mean a huge change, like moving somewhere cheaper, away from my extended family and the water. Maybe we could have land and chickens and a big garden and live in a smaller house, things I have dreamed about, but don't chose over morning cups of coffee with my sister-neighbor.

So two evenings a week, I won't be feeding my family dinner; I'll be serving it to strangers. I'll be cracking jokes and smiling as I pass their table, throwing them a thumbs up signal with a question on my face. "Is everything okay?" I lip sync from a distance. I pay cash for all my groceries now and will soon be complaining about my sore feet. When invitations hit my inbox, I have to decide if I'm going to request off, and sometimes I will have to decline, and I will be in this very same spot again, and once again, I will likely wonder if I'm making the right choice, if a little extra money is worth trading for a little less fun.

I wish that there was a different way or that I could just be less of a consumer, a little more thrifty. But for now I'm doing my best to find a work/ life balance that works for me and my family, and just like all important decisions, I'm second guessing myself.


  1. Honestly, despite your doubts, you're making me want to pick up shifts at my old restaurant. I miss that handy cash...bigtime!!! It has been impossible for me to imagine actually working ...anywhere....except at home for these two babes of mine. It feels impossible to tear myself away, somehow. But sometimes I go into the bookstore to work for Darin and let him stay home for a few hours and it actually is really fun. Still, I feel ya. A big part of you just goes ummm, no thanks, someone else's schedule. It sounds like a pretty good gig though. I think you're making just the right choices.

    1. Thanks for the boost of confidence. It does have moments of being fun, and I really like the drive and listening to NPR without anyone interrupting my thoughts. But why can't the best shifts be on overcast Tuesdays or something?

  2. Make that cheddar, mama! Rich people's days off are way more fun! ;) You can do it!!!