Monica Bielanko
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Uncomplicated Life: The Oxymoron

Last night when I walked in from work the first thing I saw was a little bugs bunny Band-aid with a single dot of brown, dried blood in the center. It was sitting on the coffee table. Must've fallen off Violet's thigh a few hours after she got her eighteen month (yeah, I'm two months late) vaccinations. I wasn't there, Serge took her and held her after she cried. I should've been there.

I went to bed just after midnight and it seemed like ten minutes later that Violet woke up, futzing around in her crib, scrabbling around and chirping like a hungry baby bird. It was 6:30, Serge was just leaving for work so I stumbled down the hall to her bedroom to pick her up, change her and plop her in a high chair for breakfast. After frozen pancakes heated up in the microwave I turned on Dora The Explorer and fell in and out of sleep on the couch while feeling like the worst mother in the world because I absolutely could not summon the energy to go on a walk or even crawl in Violet's tent and watch her rearrange her stuffed animals.


I spend eighty percent of my time trying to figure out how to simplify life. How to jump out of the chaos that so many people get caught up in and just lead an uncomplicated existence. A garden. Writing. Home-cooked dinner around a table every night at six. Baths and bedtime stories.

I think 'uncomplicated life' is an oxymoron.

Before I became a mother I watched the frazzled working moms around me, the ones always rushing to or from somewhere, and I pitied them. I felt bad even though many of them seemed to take pride in their busy-ness, very nearly boasting about how crazy their schedules are, who works the longest hours, who sleeps the least. They divulged these statistics from their lives, these tales of working motherhood, like war heroes recounting battle. That'll never be me. I thought. I'll plan my life so I don't get trapped in that working mom scenario.

Thing is, I can't fucking figure it out. I want to make things happen but in the end the things, they just keep happening to me.

My babies will only be young once and I want to be there. But that's what they all probably said, right. Now? I'm becoming the kind of mom that's rushed, busy, tired, annoyed. I have to work, but I keep thinking that I should be able to figure out something that doesn't involve being gone all day, spending ten hours a day in an extremely high pressure environment full of bullshit and deadlines.

Suck it up Monica, that's life. Is that what you're thinking?

But then I think that sucking it up is giving in. Giving in to life and letting the things take over instead of making things happen. Can't we just move to the Pennsylvania countryside, near Serge's mom and figure it all out again? I want to. But that's just stupid and irresponsible. Except what if I stay in this predicament of never seeing Serge, being the tired, annoyed mom out of fear of the unknown? And what if that's how my children remember me? I don't have any do-overs. That, to me, is way scarier than the unknown of starting over near Serge's mom who is nearing retirement and ready and willing to help.

Once the second baby is born I can't imagine working ten hour days with Serge still working. He who has the best health insurance wins, in this case me, so Serge would have to stay home full-time and although he's quite the dad, I don't think he's cut out for that. And here I am dying to take on that role. God, it's just so fucking backwards.

One day I'll think FUCK IT. Let's do it. Once this kid is born let's pack our damn bags and move to the country and whatever happens, happens. At least we'll be near family who are dying to have daily visits with grandchildren and happy to help make that a reality. But then I remember that night, a couple weeks ago, when I was eating dinner with a woman I admire very much who said I'd have to be crazy to quit an awesome job like mine in this economy. And she's right.

So where does that leave me? Steamrolling forward, so exhausted I want to cry. Occasionally daring myself to be brave enough to lead my family to some promised land that may just bring more trouble than its worth when right now at least we have steady paychecks and health insurance.

But that's it then, right? Once I submit, once I renegotiate my contract, that coincidentally is up right at the end of my upcoming maternity leave, it's really over. I'm on the speeding walkway to being the too busy mom who is never home.

Reader Comments (48)

Ah, girl, I feel ya. I don't have babies, which simplifies thing more than I know. But my husband is unemployed and I want a baby. And let me just tell you, whatever life throws at you is workable. I thought our budget was tight and then we lost half our income...10 months ago. My 29 year old wisdom says move there and make it work. But yeah. I'm 29 and don't know shit and I'm scared to do what I want most too. Go for it. And show me that I should too.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEkd

The words "suck it up" never entered my mind, only the words "I get it." Because I do, I get it. I know it's easier said than done, but don't be so hard on yourself for feeling completely rational thoughts.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

feeling rational feelings or thinking rational thoughts.... oh shit, you know what I mean.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

There is a great song by The Kinks called, ahem, Complicated Life. It's about a man who takes his doctor's advice about uncomplicating his life. It's not as easy as it sounds. So I hear ya."Gotta stand and face it, life is sooo complicated!"

PS - Clint Maegden and the Preservation Jazz Hall Band do a great cover of it. I actually prefer it.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

Well you just keep hoping and dreaming about what you want in life and one of these days... you will do it
.(You both seem like 'doers' to me) Be well and know that it's all going to be alright.

A few sayings to guide you to Simpleton:
1. Let's Go Left God..
3.II's not alright now but it WILL BE.
2. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
3 Anywhere you go, there you are.
4.Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding'; acknowledge Him in that you do and he will make your path straight.- . Proverb 3:5.
5. 'Don't get me involved' and 'So what are you gonna do?' ( per Dad)\
6. GIve somethng to God and THEN pay yourself first.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I'm about to bite the bullet myself, I take heart in knowing that everyone I've ever heard of who has taken the leap away from exhausting career towards more family time has never regretted it, and if anything wished they'd done it sooner. I'm learing from their non-mistakes!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Move to Australia.

I know this is insensitive but all i could think when reading this is "Thank God we have "socialised" healthcare."

Having (or not having) health insurance isn't something we even have to think about.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Monica define "Awesome"...

" I'd have to be crazy to quit an awesome job like mine in this economy"....

Is awesome never seeing your husband? Is awesome not spending family time together? Is awesome being so exhausted all the time? Is awesome a high pressure environment full of bullshit and deadlines? Is awesome not being there when you could?

Is Awesome being a slave to the money, or getting a high pressure well paid job...

OR Is awesome letting Violet grow up around grandparents? Is awesome having a great marriage with the Sergemeister? Is awesome Being a family, and seeing Violet growing and developing? Is awesome being in the country and living life? Is awesome being true to yourselves and living the way you want to?

You're the same as all of us who dream of a better life with no regrets, and few of us realise those dreams. Its easy for me to say, I feel the same as you!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Hey Monica,
I don't have kids yet so I don't have half the pressure that you do, but reading through this post it sounds to me like you're struggling to take a breath let alone a break.

I know this economy is crappy, I know that jobs are not ten a penny and I know the American health care system is a big problem. But, (and yeah I know, it's all too easy for me to say on the other side of my computer screen) at the end of the day there will always be jobs. They might not be the career you were looking for or have trained for but there will always be jobs that put food on the table and a roof over your heads. And Violet is probably still too young to remember the crazy hours you and Serge put in at the moment, the parking lot hand-overs and the sleeping on the couch.

What I'm trying to say in a really clumsy way is that you've still got time to start over. To be a full time Mum and a part time worker for somebody that pays the bills but doesn't require you spending more hours in the office than with your family. And maybe going to live in the country will be seen by some as running away, but if by running away you're offering yourself and your children a better quality of life with less stress and more family time, and you might actually get to spend a whole hour or two drinking a Corona with your husband every evening, then you know what, I'd go for it.

My Mum worked part time when I was growing up and in my memories she was always there, all the time. And then when I got older she went to work full time and my Dad worked less so then he was always there too. Looking back we definitely did not have a big fancy house or more than one car, or exotic holidays, but honestly I don't remember any of that, the things that I remember are seeing my Mum drop me off, my Dad pick me up, eating together every single night and spending time with my grandparents.

I really hope you guys manage to work something out for all of you, you deserve it. As far as I'm aware nobody has ever said on their deathbed 'Damn I wish I'd spent more time in the office' :0)

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

That woman who said you'd be crazy to quit the job isn't you. I'm not saying you should just quit without a plan, but there's more than one kind of crazy, you know? What is that saying? "Jump and the net will appear."

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

This post is very nice, Because your post is giving very nice information. So we are very thankful to you.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaternity leave form

To those of you saying she should quit and just be with her family, what do they do if Violet, god forbid, gets very ill and has to be hospitalized? who pays the bills? Will you then be the same people saying, "We aren't paying for these lazy no-goods hospital bills. Get a job!" The person in Australia had it right. As long as this country insists on employer based health care, we're stuck. My husband and I couldn't ever be entrepreneurs even if we had the best idea ever. He has had a heart attack and open heart surgery -both in his 30s and now all over 17 years ago - but even though he is healthy as can be now, we could not get insurance. Unless we have several thousand dollars per month to pay for it. Monica, I completely understand. Be there as you can. Your kids will be fine. Promise.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I totally understand. My situation is a little different (only one kid, and luckily my husband also has good insurance at his job), but I struggle with being a working mom every day. I don't want to be a FULL TIME stay-at-home-er, but I need more of a balance than this. My weekdays are spent at this desk, where I do nothing of any importance for 9 hours (but make good pay), then I see my girl for 2.5 hours -- the most INSANELY tired and cranky hours of the day for her, after spending all day in daycare. Then suddenly it's 8pm, the kid's in bed, and I'm too tired to attempt any of the chores that desperately need done. It feels like no way to live, no way to enjoy the kid I wanted so much. I'm doing it to provide her with a stable financial future, which I know is SO important, but why does it feel so shitty?
Anyway. I hope you find peace and balance, no matter where you end up. You're a good mom for caring so much about this stuff.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjive turkey

I can totally relate to what your saying. I have an 19th month old and a six week old. Though I'm currently on maternity leave - when I was working and pregnant, right up to the end - it was exhausting.

I will say, however, that although I'm tired now from lack of sleep (my 19th month old still wakes up at night also...), I don't have the utter physical exhaustion I had during my pregnancy. The bigger struggle now comes from balancing the needs of a 19th month old and a newborn. I go back to work soon and am already trying to strategize how my husband and I are going to get them both out the door to daycare and back - all the while feeling incredibly guilty for not being with them more often. We just don't have the option of one of us staying home (though, like you say, although a great dad - I don't think my husband would be up for it).

I think I'm beginning to realize that with kids, things are never simple - especially with two so close together. I think what you said about them only being babies once and not having any do-overs is really important to keep in mind. I'm trying to remind myself that they are only this age once and to enjoy it now, no matter how stressful it might be. I really need to work on my patience.

I don't know how far along you are in your pregnancy, but, hopefully you'll physically be a little less tired after the baby comes. I would also recommend trying to get as much support/help as possible for those first few weeks with your newborn. Although we don't have much family near us, I made sure to have family come stay those first few weeks and it was a huge help.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElissa

Monica, do it! I don't understand this American nightmare that people get caught up in (the health insurance is a different matter of course, I can't imagine living in the States and having to worry so much about that). In my opinion, you should scale back, move near Serge's Mom, have some quality of life. Try and get some freelance or part time work or something when you move. Nothing is impossible..and you'd be healthier, happier and live longer. Maybe poorer. But happier. You're not as trapped as you think you are. I've been reading this blog only a short while, but long enough to see that you have an amazing family, and the only thing keeping you from happiness is this exhausting life that you've caught yourself in, that so many people catch themselves in. We only have one short life. Do it, I double dare you!!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRose

PS. As regards the health insurance, obviously that's pretty important and needs to be figured out too. Maybe Serge could get a job with some plan, or get a private plan, or.. I don't know. I'm not sure how the system works. Aren't there ways to manage it?

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRose

Animal Vegetable Miracle--Barbara Kingsolver

might be inspiring to you

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Smith

do it. seriously. walmart has health care, so do lots of other jobs you and serge could get if you absolutely needed to to tide things over. don't feel trapped.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

I would urge you to think about some kind of at least part time childcare arrangement. We did what you are doing (me days, hubby nights) during the first two years of our son's life, mostly because I assumed childcare was $10/hour. It's not, I found out, and we also learned that our kid LOVED being with other kids and was happy to say goodbye to us at the door of the daycare, which cost $5/hour. This bought us each a little time to ourselves, and some together time as well. It was well worth the cost. So find a drop-in daycare or a nice neighbor lady with a few kids Violet's age and have Serge drop Violet off in the morning on his way to work. Pick her up at lunch time and have a few QUALITY hours with her after you have gotten some sleep. You will all be happier, including the neighbor who gets to make a little money, Violet who makes friends, and you and Serge who, when you do see each other on the weekends, might be a little less exhausted.

It also gets easier in some ways when little ones get bigger, though I personally HATE the hauling around to lessons and stuff like that. But you have your phone and your book and you use some of that time waiting for the end of dance or karate or soccer to read and breathe a bit.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkajey

You've just described the dilemma of every woman with children that I know and it sucks. The health insurance situation is horrible and unfair and so many women are stressed out and miserable. I think this is one of the main factors that contributes to the epidemic we have now of so many women feeling like absolute failures as mothers and becoming depressed. They just have too much to do. No one human being should be expected to do so much every single day. Like taking care of babies isn't enough of a job!

I am extremely lucky and I often feel guilty about it. My husband was the one with the good insurance. I quit working at 7 months along and I'm not going back until and unless I want to. I'd rather sacrifice and have a lot less stuff, because I know myself and I'll get stressed out which won't be good for my husband or baby at all. But I also know this isn't even remotely an option for most women. It's not about having less stuff like it is for me. It's about survival. Working so much isn't a choice, it's a necessity.

I kind of don't get the comment about Animal Vegetable Miracle. I loved the book and it was an interesting read, but it's not realistic for most people. Barbara Kingsolver was a massively successful writer for decades and extremely wealthy, so it was easy for her to buy her farmhouse and sprawling acres to experiment with. It was a noble and lovely undertaking for her, but there wasn't a lot at stake. It wasn't a matter of survival and I don't think it would be any kind of a viable solution for a struggling young couple with babies.

Anyway, Monica I'm sending you lots of good energy. I think everything will work out for you and that one day you'll be able to choose what you want to do in terms of work. I still think you and Serge will each write bestsellers one day too.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWide Lawns

I just meant that "animal vegetable miracle" might be inspiring to Monica, not that she should imitate the actions in the book. In no way did I intend to imply that the book was instructive, just interesting and inspirational.I do not think Monica should take two babies and buy a farm house and grow all her own food asap.

sheesh.........just a good read.


September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Smith

I would give anything right now to have a full time job agan. I love being home with Noel all day but the money is way to tight which sucks and kinda makes me crazy and depessed at the same time.

With the economy the way it is I would say stay where you are for the mean time and maybe your dreams of moving countryside will come ture later on down the road :)

Hang in there....I think you are doing a fine job Monica.

P.S. Dominic is standing here yelling at me "does she know what they are having yet?"

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

MOVE your butt to Pennsylvania. At once.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

I too, say FUCK IT!

Even though the Pennsylvania countryside is not all it's cracked up to be - it's still pretty fuckin' amazing.

I live in a ski resort village (albeit a closed down one, reopening this year.) and pay $400 for a three bedroom flat. It isn't fancy, the rooms aren't huge - but DAMN, you should see what's happening outside my office window as I type this. Breathtaking.

Serge could find something to do. There are health benefits to be had. You too, could stay at home with your babies and feel less comlicated. There is work - not a ton, but I think it has to do with attitudes.

Seriously. you'd be crazy to stay where you are B. We've been listening to you want to move for years. Do it. Don't get stuck in SLC. Don't do it.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill Smyth

I get this. OH, HOW I GET THIS. And I was working a job for five years that actually gave me a great amount of flexibility. Into the office at 8:30, leave for home at 12. That's it. I'd finish up the days' work in the evening after my two girls went to bed. (I have my own Violet, by the way! She just turned 3 in July.)

But that job overall was making so incredibly miserable. There were lots of leadership changes after the first few years, all that responsibility kept getting heaped on me -- and eventually I was doing 1000% more work for no better pay or title. Eventually the stress of the job started overshadowing the incredible advantage of having such a flexible schedule. I was optimistic that I could find a similar situation elsewhere, but no luck.

In August, I started a new job that requires me to be in the office 8 to 5 Mon through Fri. It's a better job by leaps and bounds but I see my girls so briefly in the evening before bedtime. My husband works second shift, leaving at 4 and getting home usually well after I go to bed.

Every day I struggle with this feeling that I am doing it all wrong. Life, that is. All I really want is to stay home with my girls as much as I can. But we've got house payments, insurance payments, two car payments, a little girl in regular therapy, and all that other stuff that gets in the way of just dropping it all and moving off to Pennsylvania (to use your situation as a metaphor.)

I have to believe that since we know what the problem is, we're working steadily toward a solution. In the meantime, I'm trying so hard to recognize that value in each and every moment, even when I am desperate to get away from the situation producing those moments.

Good luck to you and your beautiful family. I hope you are able to craft the life you want, and as soon as you can get it.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramber

When my older daughter was 5 mos old and my maternity leave ended, I put her in day care and went back to work. It was h o r r i b l e. I lasted two whole weeks and I just said to my husband, "I'm quitting my job, figure something out". Nice, huh?

Well I got mine. Literally one week after I quit (I had the better insurance mind you), I found out I was pregnant w/ number two. Two babies in 14 months.

Long story short, they are now 12 and 13 and I just now went back to work full-time. You can do whatever you need to do, it all works out. I don't know how, but it does. Follow your heart.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranother mom

Start looking for a job in Pennsylvania. It could happen!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRonna

Life didn't happen to you; you made choices for better or worse. Your second pregnancy was planned. It wasn't an accident. You knew your finances and your choices before you got pregnant and you wanted another baby. It was that important to you both.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAssisi

I certainly don't have the answers, but I definitely think you're hitting on something when you point out the difference between being scared to change things and yet being scared that NOT changing things will leave you in exactly the same, unfulfilling place years and years from now.

For me, it helps to just keep reminding myself that there's no end point of "Aha! I have figured it out!' Instead, you just keep figuring it out and figuring it out and figuring it out all over again.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteragirlandaboy

My mom says her biggest regret in life is that she didn't stay home with me after I was born. She chose to go back to work. You absolutely do not have to keep living the way you are now, and you would NOT be crazy to let go of your job. I don't want you to have the same regrets my mom does.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

Move to the Pennsylvania countryside, sell a car, get a smaller house, etc. Do something! You are smart- you can figure out how to make this work. What is the worst that could happen, I mean really? You seem to be absolutely stressed about most aspects of your life and it all relates back to one thing. TIME. And your job is the thing allowing you no TIME to enjoy what you value and think is important. Healthcare seems to be your biggest issue, but as a lot of others have posted, your job is not the only one that has healthcare. You got married and had/ are having children to enjoy your a family. You cannot do it all- no one can. I think life will always be complicated somehow, but I do believe it doesn't have to be like this. Write down every last thing you spend money on each week/ month. Start thinking about what portion of this budget is directly related to having no TIME to do anything. For example: quick/ convenient meals, new clothes, gas for commuting, cell phones, rent/ mortgage for your location. All of these things could change significantly if you had more time and were less stressed. You might cook more at home with more basic/ less expensive ingredients and have time to shop around for the best prices etc. You might try to find more used clothing/ play items for yourself, husband and kids. You might drive less and be able to carpool with your husband and save money on gas and a second car. Etc. Etc. As of two years ago I was in your boat- well a similar boat (one without the kids). I got laid off at my stressful/ deadline oriented job (a 1.25 hour commute that ate up all of my time and energy and general love of life). I was amazed at how much less I was able to live on once I had more time. The PA countryside has a lot to offer. One of those things is definitely people who know how to save a buck (we call em' "Old Dutchies)! Good Luck. I'm rooting for you, The Serge, Violet, and baby to be.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA new age "Dutchie"

Wow I can so relate to your feelings. I wish I had some wise advice, but I'm still trying to figure it all out myself. The only thing I will suggest is don't make life decisions based upon fear.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

You already know what is the most important thing you need to do. I'm sure you have already evaluated your financial situation and what sacrifices need to be made, if any. What do you want from your life? It's a tough pill to swallow sometimes. Sometimes it seems unfair, but at the same time you do really have to ask yourself what you want from your own life. For me, it's wanting to be with my child. That's tough for a host of reasons: the fortune that is my education, the uncertainty of the future--with debt and foreclosure rearing its ugly head...etc. But I agree with you completely when you note that your daughter's childhood is fleeting and you worry about missing it. I can't reiterate enough about how fast it goes. It goes back to you. Even in this shitty,effed up economy. What do YOU want out of this life? You can't take back these years.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterS

1. I can totally spell complicated.

2. You've already done the hard part - learned how to eat beans and rice, rice and beans. You know what I'm saying?

3. I'll make you dinner, we'll share a case of Yuengling (post-belly? :) and giggle nervously while my baby girl licks Violet because that's how she give kisses. Free food? Anyone?

4. It's worth it. No matter what anyone else says. It's worth it.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill Smyth

I remember feeling this way when I had my second baby (he's one now) and thinking I couldn't work 5 days a week with two kids- how would I split my little time at home with both of them? And of course my husband, and cleaning, laundry, sleep, etc...
So I thought if I had one extra day at home- just one more in the middle of the week- maybe I could do this. I would still have mornings, nights and weekends but I would also have that one day that I could feel like a stay-at-home mom (which is what I really wanted to have every day, but like you, I had to work). I went to my boss right when I got back from maternity leave and told her everything. How guilty I felt, how tired, how torn in a million directions and lucky for me, she had been a single mom of 3 kids and was willing to try my suggestion of only working 4 8 hour days a week. On my end, it meant I had to get everything done in 4 days that normally took 5 so sometimes I would have to do work after the kids went to bed or bring the kids in for a meeting on the day I was at home with them (I have great co-workers too who would watch the kids in the office). I've been doing this for a year, and it's really working. I feel less guilty, I get my stay-at-home days with the kids on Wednesdays and I'm still getting my job done. It's a baby step if you could do one day at home with the kids- just one- even if you had to be on call or check email or whatever- as a trial and see how that works for you.
I work at a print publication so we are all about deadlines and stress, but it sounds like you have daily deadlines and I have weekly ones. Maybe instead of a day off in the middle of the week, you could try shorter days? Start your work day at home, just checking in and being available and then go in later?
Whatever you decide- to change your situation or keep the schedule you have, good luck with your family. As hard as it is to be pregnant and have another little one, once the baby is born and you see the two of them together, it's so worth it.

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterD

Hi. Without sounding ignorant, living in the UK, single, no kids, I cannot appreciate the importance of a job with free healthcare, as we are blessed to have a free national health service over here.
All I can say is you have one shot at this chance, to build a family, a life with you, Serge, Violet and bump to be.

Follow your heart Monica, the rest will work itself out. You will never get this time with your little ones again. I have been meditating a lot recently with Buddhist classes, and one good lesson I have learnt, to pass on, is you can only find true happiness with peace of mind. Calm your mind, and the rest will come easy. You're a smart girl. You will work it out. You cannot carry on in this endless cycle of busyness. I hope you don't mind me saying that, obviously I cannot understand your personal situation. But I do think you should follow your dreams. Go live in the country. Breathe some air. Be still a little. And you will be the best Mum and best wife and best person you can ever be.

Sending you positivity & much happiness.

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSM


I get you I really do. Half of me wants to say - take a risk. They always pay off, things always work out. When I got pregnant and had no idea if my job at the time would continue to let me present on screen whilst up the duff - my acupuncturist said 'the universe gave you this baby and the universe will provide for it.' Which was true.

The other half of me says that being a full time parent is hard, and can be so lonely. Personally I go stir crazy and crave the company of adults, the joy of teamwork, the thrill of a challenge. I worked damn hard all my life to have a career and so don't want to lose that part of me, who makes me - me. If that makes sense. I'm about to sprog my 2nd baby too - and I'm thinking the best solution - if I can ever find it - is part time work. Is this a possibilty for you? To job share with another mother, or work 3 days a week? I know tv is a nightmare industry that sucks the life out of you... so is hard to get that balance there.

Just remember you are doing a great job - you really are. Violet is going to be so inspired by you all through her life - at all you have achieved. x

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrummyMummy

Do you know anything about rural Pennsylvania? They call it pennsyltucky. It is very conservative and not very diverse. When thinking about your babies, think how you want them to grow up, who you want them to know and be around besides you, because they will eventually find that you are not the center of their world, even as they are yours. Who do you want out there for them? What kind of an example do you want to set for them, too? And are you suited to being home alone with little people all day long, especially in a rural area where there's no one for YOU? Not everyone is. I like the person's suggestion above that you try to negotiate a shorter week, but with the benefits. It doesn't sound very romantic, like running away and becoming a full-time parent and living off the land, but I have a feeling that would get old very quickly and then what?

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkajey

One question that comes to my mind is, what are you going to do when Violet starts school? You cannot possibly work the schedule you do now and still see her after school! Jobs come and go. Maybe this is your time to create your dreams. Jump off that cliff Monica. Let God teach you how to fly!

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica B

Wanna know what mama thinks? When the baby is born, just go for it, and I'm only saying this because I know YOU!!! You are thee strongest person I know, and can make something out of nothing, get anything you go after and will always be a success at whatever... But DON't be like mom and look back at pictures of your children and feel a sickness in the pit of your stomach, and cry every single time, because you missed so much, like your own mama does , ...And you KNOW that is true. As much as it breaks my heart for my babies to be taken away from me, for YOUR sake, you need to go to the simple life back east, and like you said, grandma "number 2" is there to help....And I will be there every other month. So go for it

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermama

To the British person - no job provides free healthcare, merely insurance.

Also, Australia doesn't let people just up and move there. It's very hard to get a work visa, and it can only be done in certain industries, last time I checked. (My ex, ten years ago, who was a doctor, found it hard. My parents, when I was a kid, found it impossible to find a job once we got there.)

(I'm also British, living in the US. My parents tried migrating to Australia when I was a child, which is why these posts jumped out at me.)

To everyone - You can still get into debt through medical bills WITH insurance - I did. I was 30, very healthy, and had a minor illlness, and ended up having to pay thousands, when I was earning $12 per hour (with bachelor's degree from a good university). Ironically it was almost certainly stress-related and caused by my heinous job, which I couldn't get out of. Especially not with those bills. And they never figured out what it was.

Next time I got sick with mysterious symptoms I damn well waited to see if it went away. I'm sure you can imagine how well that works out as a plan for overall health.

Frankly though, there is something to be said for keeping yourself as healthy as you possibly can, as a money-saving, preventative measure. One of the main ways we can do this is by minimising stress.

All this goes to say, I really don't know what you should do, Monica, but I wish you luck. I definitely think you could get a good job in Pennysylvania or nearby. In fact, I don't see why you couldn't do that anywhere you felt like living in the US. But you don't have to make this decision now, while you're pregnant.

Violet won't remember much, if anything, about this period. She certainly won't have as high standards for parenting as you're imposing on yourself.

My parents apparently used to even leave me alone in the house in my crib for a few minutes every day so that my mother could get to work (which could only be done on the back of my dad's scooter) and I turned out fine... We were all definitely left with the TV as babysitter for a substantial amount of time, and I was illegally babysitter for my young siblings for years, and we are all left with memories of our mother being extremely hands-on. Obviously none of this is recommended, but still.

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL

if it's what you dream for (and your mama has already said that), go for it :) you just need to figure out when! that's it. as you said you won't move in the place where you will be left just by yourself, there is grandmum and your friends too.I see, your family support you and that's what is the most important... draw a small plan (you can't draw plan for all your life, it's gonna change like the weather in a long distance anyway) and step by step you will see what you really want and where to start and remember it's not gonna be easy:) but who cares (of corse as long as you're happy with this) and life will be more excited then... I just wonna let you know, you're both manage these dreams for sure... you have to figure out from where to start...

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterana_jo

Or you could all join the circuis! You and Serge still have your trapeze routine down, right? I'm sure Violet's a quick study. ;-)

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCookieface

Also, the love and concern you and Serge have for your children oozes out of every post you both make. That's more than a lot of children have, and the most important thing. I'm not recommending it as a great option, but even if you were on welfare, I'm sure you would make a great home for them. If, with time, you learn to judge yourself less (great advice I never take) these things will become simpler. They will have the main tangible things that are important in life: decent food, basic medical care, safety, shelter, stability, education, as well as the intangibles: love, parents (and grandparents, apparently) who will always be in their corner, humor, appreciating people, an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity, and all sorts of other things.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL

I say that in this case, perhaps you consider your mother's advice. It seems she might know you better than all of us. But really, it's what you think is best for your family. And what does best mean to you Monica?

You know the answer already. Just look for it. Listen for it. It's there inside you.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill Smyth

I think I know how you feel. When I'm stuck, I remind myself that even if I sit here and do nothing about it, things aren't always going to be this way. Things will change. All on its own. It's not being apathetic or lazy, it's not sucking it up, it's trusting the process.

Anyway. Good luck. From what I can see, you are lucky in so many ways.

October 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermilan

I feel terrible that I maybe said something that made you feel like you should stifle your dreams and live in misery just to have a "good" job. I do think it's important to think very carefully before giving up.a regular paycheck with health insurance, etc. But misery is no way to live. And sometimes it's important to close your eyes and just jump. Just go for it. Life is too short to never see your kids and husband. That's worse than being poor. (But don't forget how stressful and limiting being really poor can be) Is there a middle way here? Could each of you come up with something to make money from home? Could Serge teach guitar? Could you start doing a lot of freelancing (wriiting)? Could you live somewhere cheaper that you wouldn't hate? What do each of you really want to do? What does the life you really want look like? Where would you live? What would you do for money and/or for love? Where would the kids go to school? Those are the questions I'd start with :-) you are both brillliant and good. Don't settle for a life of quiet desperation. Much love - katie

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkag


You were just being smart. And rational. It's the same thing Serge and I keep going back to as well. Don't feel terrible! You are very, very wise which is why I gave your comment so much weight. Being poor blows. Big time. Maybe even more than being the harried mom. Which is why I am constantly on the fence with this one...


October 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

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