Sound confusing? Well, truth be told, it kind of is. Often these ‘ah-ha’ moments I have are required to travel through a bunch of murk & fog in the puzzle of my mind before they actually make sense. Then however I get to that magical point where I go, “Oh, ok, wow, I totally get that.” And then I want to share it with you…so here’s my nugget for the week. (which makes me giggle because we use the word ‘nugget’ in our house when someone is backed up & poops little rocks. “Uh-oh, you have nugget poop, better eat your veggies!” TMI?)
Anyway, the other day one of my good friends & I were discussing possible playdates over texts, she asked if her daughter could come play with Soph & I said no because my sitter had taken Sam & Soph to swim lessons & then was going to the diner for dinner. She responded with something like, “Ok, nevermind. You are really lucky to have so much free time.” That statement was one of those that totally made my head pop back from the phone & as I re-read it a few times I could feel my face getting hot. So much free time? FREE TIME? What does she think, I’m eating bon-bons & painting my toenails over here?
Perhaps I should give you a little background first, and my close friends including the one above know this too. P & I decided that I would take the summer to try & use my blog to create a job for myself. You’ve probably noticed the Martha Stewart sponsored ads that have popped up at the top of the site & also a little further down on the right sidebar. I’ll be completely honest with you, those pay around $100 a week if I blog around 3-4 times. Have you seen the Houzz.com ideabook that’s been living on the right side of my page for the last year or so? I get paid to come up with those ideabooks & let them live on my page. (which by the way you should totally try making a Houzz Ideabook, it’s like grown up picture books, love them!) I also belong to an ad network called Blueprint Social that hooks me up with brands that are applicable to my site & they pay me to review their usually crafting items & post about it. Those go for anywhere from $50-$200 each depending on how much work is involved. I’m telling you all this because that roughly adds up to $600 a month off of my blog. That’s $7,200 a year. Hardly a salary for even the crappiest of part time jobs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s some awesome extra money BUT to create the type of posts I do, videos, tutorials, recipes with graphics, takes time, like 2-3 hours per post, & that requires a sitter my friend. I haven’t done the math but I’m pretty sure I’m not even breaking even with the profit verses sitter costs. That’s why i decided around a month ago that I wanted to take the next step & open a shop. A place where what you see on the blog (and some extras!) can be available for purchase. I love love love what I do. I just need to find a way to turn it into a real paying job to justify the time it requires. Know what I mean? And that’s exactly what my goal for the summer is.
So when my friend who knows all of that said to me, “You are really lucky to have so much free time” it really bothered me. It actually bothered me A LOT. My personality is that I get angry or hurt quickly but it rarely lingers, quick to anger & quick to let it go. This though, this one stuck with me, I found myself harping on it in my brain all throughout the last few days. I would think, “Why would she say that to me? Does she think I’m just playing around? Is she saying I’m just pawning my kids off with a sitter instead of taking care of them myself like she & all the other stay at home moms I know do?” And after a good while of having this very one-sided conversation in my head I realized something…that’s not what my friend thinks of me, that’s what I think of me. And there’s where the a-ha comes in, I really believe that often when someone says something that really bothers you it might just be because it’s a way you feel insecure about yourself.
I think it’s a great thing that I’m trying to create a part time job that I love. It makes me happy & fulfilled. I also visualize myself being done with work & spending time with the kids when they get home from school or if one is sick I can have the flexibility to nurture them all day without having to ‘call in’ to work. It would be a good set up. Not to mention when I take a few hours for me, to be away from my children & be doing something that I enjoy it truly makes me a better mother when I’m done & it’s time to spend with them. I snap at them less. I actually want to play ponies. I’m completely interested & engaged in what they have to say…& I believe it’s because I’ve already been fulfilled & that enables me to have something to give.
The guilt of someone else being with my kids instead of me just eats me alive. Seriously, I feel a pang of guilt every time they leave the house with our sitter & not me. Let me say too, I ADORE our sitter, I would seriously adopt her as my little sister if she weren’t already 23 & in no need of new parents or siblings. The girls love her too, they get bummed on the days she doesn’t come. Yet the guilt persists. One of the last things I said is a perfect example of this, that the girls are bummed when our sitter doesn’t come over…you would think this would be a relief to me because it means that my children are having a great time but nope, the first thing I think of is, “Am I doing such a bad job when it’s my turn to take care of them that they want the babysitter instead?” Mommy Guilt…it’s a Bit@h.
This morning I talked to my friend about all of this because 1- I think it’s healthy to talk with someone who has hurt you instead of becoming resentful. 99% of the time they probably have no idea they did it. 2- I certainly didn’t want her to read this flood of emotions that all stemmed from her text over the internet! That would not be cool. In talking with each other she shared with me that she was probably a little envious when she made the comment because she doesn’t have that ‘free time’ a sitter provides. She’s also a blogger but has no time to keep it up. Do you know what keeps her from getting a sitter more? Mommy Guilt. The feeling that she should be the one with the kids.
In the end there has to be a balance & I think as mothers we are constantly chasing after that perfect balance of taking care of our children’s needs while not forgetting our own. It’s a viscous teeter totter that seems like it’s constantly needing adjustment but THAT’S OK. That’s mommyhood. So that’s about it, I can’t say my guilt is gone but at least now I’ve acknowledged that my anger about the text was not because of my friend, it was because of how I feel about me. And you know what, that’s something I can do something about.