Posted by: chicagoshells | July 23, 2013

A Whiny Vent, and an Admission

Disclaimer…I’m aware that I’m complaining about “first world problems.”  I’m aware that overall I am incredibly lucky, to live where I live, to have what I have, to be married to Trouble and mama to Mulberry.  I get that others have it much worse, worse than I could ever imagine.  The fact is, the past few months have still sucked.  Here’s why.

*I need more knee surgery.  Two of the screws in my knee are loose and have to come out.  This means I’ve had to deal with my rude, disorganized, greedy surgeon’s office again.  It took a month to get the surgery scheduled and they still won’t tell me the cost.  While it’s an outpatient surgery, it is still surgery and involves being put under and all the risks that come with that.  I may need a crutch for balance again just after.  I’m not sure how exactly I’ll manage that with taking care of Mulberry.  And of course being back in that office, dealing with this again, has brought a lot of the PTSD from the accident back to the surface.  And my therapist moved.

*We had bedbugs.  And  carpet beetle larvae (possibly) or some other disgusting worm-like bug as well, but nothing as awful as bedbugs.  And even though I understand intellectually that having those horrid things isn’t related to poor housekeeping, I’m embarrassed about it.  It turns out we only had a few and not a big infestation, which is good of course, but getting rid of them still involved putting nearly all our belongings in garbage bags and living like that for two weeks while we put everything through the dryer.  Trouble and I slept on our couch for over two weeks.  On the days of both treatments the exterminators were hours late.  Super awesome.

*I applied for a job with normal hours as opposed to the crazy, erratic, lots of nights-and-weekends job I have now.  It’s at the same place that I’ve worked at for 12 years.  Everyone I told I was applying was very enthusiastic and seemed to think I would be great at it.  I didn’t get it.  The person who did was still in middle school when I started working here.  Not getting a job because someone else has determined that you’re over-qualified should be a compliment in some way, but it still royally sucks when you’re trying to figure out how to be a good mama on a crazy schedule.

*Although I didn’t get that job, I am still working, and at the same place.  Right now I’m making very little money doing it, and I’m not even sure I want to be doing it anymore.  I want to quit every day.

*I got sick.  Really sick, fever and a throat that felt like there was broken glass in it when I spoke or swallowed or took a deep breath.  In the middle of a heat wave, no less.

*Trouble has been studying for her board exams.  She’s taking them today.  She’s a good test taker and all her practice tests have been in the passing range, but with the shitty luck we’re having lately, we’re both pretty scared she’s going to fail.

*All of this would have been pretty crappy before we had Mulberry.  Dealing with it all along with him makes me feel like I’m constantly fighting an undertow in the ocean and any second I’m going to get pulled completely under…which in turn makes me feel guilty and like a terrible mama.  Guilt, of course, is always super helpful to every situation.  Mulberry is amazing.  He’s just turning 7 months, but he already pulls himself to standing and wants to walk all over the place holding on to one of us.  It’s adorable and wonderful…and exhausting, and he’s teething and not sleeping great, so we’re not sleeping great.  I knew that was part of parenthood, of course.  I knew less sleep, less sex, less “free time” were the trade-offs to having a baby.  I thought I was prepared for it.  But at 1am when he’s screaming and infant Tylenol is dripping stickily down my back and I have to get up and be helpful and accommodating and, you know, AWAKE at work all day, it’s hard to remember why I wanted this so badly.  And then I immediately feel awful for even having that thought.

I guess, in some way, all that is why I’m writing now.  Because I DO have the thought, and you know what?  That doesn’t make me a bad person, or a bad mama.  Parenting is hard.  It is really, really hard.  And people like me, who want a child so desperately for so long, think we know that and are prepared for it.  I don’t think any of us can ever be prepared for it (and I bet someone, somewhere is reading this and thinking “I’m totally prepared!”  I bet that because I was that person reading blogs two years ago.  I was sure that I was SO ready that it just couldn’t be THAT hard.  I was wrong).  I wish it was more acceptable to admit that in places other than anonymous(ish) blogs.  To admit that it’s hard.  To admit that we don’t know what we’re doing sometimes.  To admit that sometimes we wonder why we wanted this so badly.  I wish we could have those discussions without guilt or judgment or resentment.  Right now, the best I can do is to say it here.



  1. Argh! So much of this news is upsetting, but I like to distract myself with anger, so I am concentrating for the moment on the Place We Have Worked. Who must know this is a dumb decision, on some level. I mean, another possibility is your taking a job with sane hours elsewhere, hello. And since you are a fantastic employee, that is not great for them. I don’t know who’s who anymore, but it seems like sitting down with someone for a chat is in order. Which I suspect means you’ve done that. Argh. (Also, while it’s not as blatant a case, you know I did not get two jobs I applied for there, at least one of which went to a WOEFULLY less qualified candidate. It sucked.)

    Seven months, by the way was a terrifically difficult time at our house. I thought lots of things were wildly better at 9 months, and again at 13. Every week was easier than the preceding week, but those periods involved huge leaps forward in quality of life. I know nine months feels like forever away, but it is coming, eventually. (And the bean was often about two weeks behind standard expectations for that stuff — maybe because he was born two weeks early — so maybe your next big improvement is coming even sooner.). So many hugs. The semester that was 6-10 months old is such a haze for me. But we did survive, and so will you. Xoxo

    • Thanks for this. I’d forgotten your employment history at the Place. In my case it turns out the the final 4 candidates were all, well, children. The supervisor apparently wants a ‘little buddy.’ I’m pretty versatile, but that I can’t do. Alas. Anyway…I appreciate the good thoughts.

  2. I’m so sorry about the surgery. And the job stuff. And the bedbugs. Ugh. I live in fear of those because my wife works in public housing and has to go into infested apartments. I know it wouldn’t be our fault if we get them, but I would also feel really ashamed. And I think that knowing you wanted to parent doesn’t make it easier to do the hard stuff. I mean, ‘less sleep’ is one thing in the abstract than it is in reality, especially since no one tells you that it isn’t just less sleep for a night or two–it’s years.
    In other news, I changed blogs- I’m at now. And if you feel like getting out with mulberry and socializing, there’s a baby play date at the center on Hal.sted on the 24th from 10 to 12…

    • Thanks so much- we are going to do our best to make that playdate! I’d love to meet some other families in the area 🙂 Thanks for keeping me updated!

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