Tuesday, March 01, 2005

To keep it real

I am reminded today that co-workers can be just as frustrating as one's children ... possibly even more frustrating, because they are grown-ups and should know better.

I mean, I am pretty honest about the fact that right now I am enjoying work a lot more than I enjoyed staying at home with my kids from 1999 - 2004. Staying home was HARD. The rewards were slim. Part of that was because I was coping with a child with severe ADHD, and of course in our society we don't really address that particular special need until a child hits school. That's problematic, but it's not what I'm talking about here.

Because working outside the home is dang hard too. My time is sucked away into sitting at a computer all day hammering out copy and e-mails and talking on the phone and going to meetings ... this when I could be enjoying my now-stabilized kids and taking better care of my home and running to the fridge every half hour to see how I can soothe my bored and dissatisfied self with some unneeded calories. No, really, it's hard and sad sometimes. I swear. Like when I realized that this summer, it will probably not be me going to swimming lessons with my kids. We will not be having our customary book parties on a big blanket in the back yard. Not too much, anyway.

I know, for a copy writer, I'm easily sidetracked. Let me try to get back to my point.

One of the things that was very frustrating for me about staying home with my kids was having to be extremely vigilant about what they were doing. Anytime I let the discipline slide, even a tiny bit, all hell broke loose. If I wanted to sit for thirty minutes and read a book, I could pretty much count on a federal disaster area in the other room. My kids drove me up a wall sometimes. Almost all the time actually.

Now I don't see them too much ... just from 7-8 AM and from 5-8 PM, and that's on good days. Plus weekends. Man, that sucks! But our times together are happy for the most part. I'm not yelling and screaming. I still have to discipline them, of course, but I'm not emotionally worn out from it like I used to be. When we're together, it's snuggling and reading and doing homework and ... not too bad, to be really honest about it.

Now I have other people to drive me nuts, people who want to swoop in two weeks past copy deadline on a major project and change everything. Today they took my stuff (which, thanks to their perpetual revisions, was late getting to the graphic designer) off the designer's desk into a closed-door meeting for three hours. Can you say sweating bullets? They're nice, don't get me wrong. But they have no concept that this material was supposed to be at the printer last Friday ... they are driving me nuts in a whole new way.

There's no easy life. Somebody will be driving you nuts no matter where you are. That's what I'm learning.

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