Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Parental Conundrum

Yesterday, I had a very exciting phone call. It was to do with work prospects. A company that could send me a lot of flexible work (I love flexible work) wants me to go and visit them so they can train me up - FREE OF CHARGE - in the software they develop and distribute.

Its computer software stuff - I love computer software stuff. They service industries that I know a fair bit about. It is servicing clients that may involve a bit of travel but that should be able to fit in with my needs.

The company is based in Armidale - a rush of blood went to my head when I realised that I will be only a few hours from there one weekend not too far away. I was going to allow 'Salina's paternal extended family the pleasure of having her for the weekend while I (and V, if we could wangle a day from his job) had a weekend in Northern New South Wales with one of my oldest friends and some of her other mates.

I even have an appointment on the Monday with a Brisbane client to tie up some loose ends there - oh, the time management I was bouncing about.

But I only pencilled it in. It was not until discussing it with V later that I realised what I was suggesting.

I was suggesting that I dump my own child on people who probably don't want, need or possibly are not up to the responsibility of 4 full days and nights of an 8 year old child.

While I could probably ask V to take one day from work for the Brisbane appointment, it is impossible to ask that he take 3-4 days to accompany me for babysitting duties when currently his is the main (read almost only) income that keeps us in the lifestyle.

And if I left her at home, I would be asking that we have a patchwork of carers from 80 year old neighbours and other mothers to cover the gaps that his work makes due to his timetable and hers - and I would be dumping my kid on my boyfriend!

While he is absolutely wonderful and wanting to be the best father role in the world for her and we have done the whole affiancing thing, it is still a bit rich to say "hey, going away for work training and a weekend with old girlfriends - have fun" to your daughter and your boyfriend.

So, of course, in true jeanie style, I obsessed it a little. I did a fine line in obsessing it while at the shops. I subconsciously obsessed through dinner, through bedtime routines, even through crap tv.

V went to bed at 9.30 but I stayed up to watch a darned movie I have seen before and has Adam Sandler in it. And I cried. I then hopped on to the computer and checked out posts and cried. Except for totally getting where my blog-friend Jaycee is at with her plea last night (Semantically Driven - What do you say to someone who says he hates himself) I did not know why everything was getting at me so much...

I then also read Serving the Queens - what I cannot give her and Plain Jane - I do what I do and could not believe how the theme was building.

Then I went to bed, and the subconcious broke out.

How DARE I expect others to take care of my child. How SELFISH of me to want to do something that will improve our lot when THIS IS MY BED and I should just suck it up and lie in it.

Speaking of lying in the bed, after an hour of such self-loathing I left it to try the cocoa trick. When I returned, V had left me a v-e-r-y narrow precipice to teeter on. I tried his side, but it just wasn't right and had too many pillows. I tried my side, but the knee placement, the foot placement and the fear of killing his arm led me to curl up, top to toe with him covered in a crocheted rug - very apt for self-pity!

Had I been still in Brisbane, this opportunity may not have come along - but had I been still in Brisbane, I had a network of single friends and single parent friends who I could have knitted something together with - but up here, the school parent support network is less obvious and my friends are farther away. I miss that aspect and probably should make more of an effort - but it is so hard to do so when the chances of being rebuffed seems stronger. I don't know.

I was a wreck by morning - but at least my insomnia had given me fodder for an excellent to do list.

One of the things to do was call my mum. My mother is very wise. I told her my yarn and she told me that no-one does a line in guilt like me, and I should learn to stop that and now.

She then suggested my sister for the babysitting role, with 'Salina having a week at the local one teacher school thrown in. I have yet to talk with my sister, so it is still not carved in stone.

But that does not matter. I know my training does not really have to be on those dates - it just seemed provident. If it doesn't, I should not agonise over it, I should reschedule and move on.

And I realise that I am not an island. I do have V who will cover for me when I am so ill I cannot move or when I have short term time issues in a parenting role - and who will be beside me while parenting as much as he is able which is far more than most men would offer and I am grateful and happy that he is part of our lives.

I also have the most supportive family a woman could want. My sister and BIL are 'Salina's godparents, and I was already a sole parent when I made my decision and I think it a very wise decision. They love her truly - as she does them - and they have ponies. And if they need a break, right next door is my brother and SIL, who also have her wellbeing at heart. They have a pony too.

While I gripe about the ex-laws, I know that had I asked them they would have said "sure" - it was more my own peace of mind and the fact that it would be a struggle for them in terms of time and effort to have that long a visit. Both brothers are now working (there is an unusual star alignment in the heavens there) and are only really good childcare for an hour or so "playtime". Sister is fantastic, but her son goes to a very big school and so she works and plays during her child-free hours - I would either be hindering that or asking my child to go into a large possibly bullying environment (there have been issues). She also has 50/50 parenting with her ex, so her child-free time is also a premium. Baka is great too, but she is an unfit, barely mobile 70 year old woman who plays poker and watches soap operas with the kids.

This morning, I also learned a few more blog lessons, from
Parenting without a License - Making the Grade and Dream Mom - Gone Fishin’. Both made me cry, but the tears were more of the joy of simple lessons life can give.


Jen at Semantically driven said...

Ah Jeanie you gorgeous girl. I'm sorry my post from yesterday made you cry. Your email this morning made me cry with your offer of support. Anyhoo. Parental guilt - ain't it a wonderful thing - NOT.

I'm sure things will work out because you will make sure they do, and you deserve it. Ask people for help and they can say yes or no. It sounds like a good opportunity for you so you should endeavour to get along to the training.

PS: I can totally relate to the obsessing thing because I'm really good at it too. It's really annoying when I want to turn my brain off but cannot.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.