Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Happened?

I remember when everyone at the company I worked for use to say I was a neat freak.
--My house is a frickin' pig sty
Someone would walk by my office and I knew where everything was.
--Don't even think I could tell you where the car keys are half the time
I could tell you what was said during what meeting and who attended.
--Not a clue to what happened last week, let alone who was around me!
I could tell you almost word for word a conversation that happened months prior. They use to say I had the memory of an elephant.
--What did you just say?
I was so organized that everything was color coded in my files so if anyone had to come step in they could figure it out easily. I worked for a Japanese company, when you left work your desk was to be completely cleared of any papers. I would always get the compliments from the management on how organized I was and now my office looked.
--If someone from that company came into my house now they would have a heart attack. Drop right on the spot. I kid you not.
I was the trouble shooter, I took care of the emergencies, the line down situations with the Big 3. I was the one who got those "oh crap we're in trouble calls" and I took charge.
--Now I get phone calls and I am clueless, it takes me the better part of the conversation to finally figure out what issue the person is talking to me about and which child. I now usually end up getting off the phone in tears of frustration
I was the person that people came to for help because they were lost in an argument with a supplier and needy my "b*tchy" problem solving side to come out, and I would "win" because I wouldn't back down, I knew I was right and if I wasn't I was going to convince them I was.
--Why am I not winning anymore?

What the heck happened to me?!?
Somewhere along the line in the past few years that person up and took off!
I used to come home from work proud of what I had accomplished. I might have complained about it some, but then again who doesn't?

I miss that person. I miss not feeling that I am accomplishing something important. Sometimes my hubby will come home from work and tell me about an issue at work and how he is frustrated with it. I just look at him with envy. I would love to be that person I use to be, that person who felt important, that person that people looked too for guidance, the answer person. I always knew what was going on with the company and I was always the first to know things from management. I was someone.

Why does being a SAHM make me feel like I don't do anything? I do tons of things I know. I try to manage our lives, schedule things, keep bills paid with money my husband brings home. I am a care giver, a teacher of sorts, a part time pretend doctor, cook...whatever.

The question I ask myself is WHY can't I feel important as the SAHM and feel like I am contributing to our lives in a worthy, important way?
Somewhere along the line, I lost pride in myself. Lost the self esteem that I once had in myself.

Did it happen because I am not in the "working world" anymore?
Did it happen because I feel like I failed my child(ren)/husband?
Did it happen because with everything that is going on in our lives that we don't have time for maintaining a relationship?

None of this probably makes sense to a lot of people.
All I know is some how the Melanie from 2001 does not exist and is not the Melanie in 2009.
And at times that makes me very sad.


C said...


I don't know how much of what you're describing has to do with being a SAHM. I've been doing this gig since around '97, with small breaks to make a teeny bit of moeny here and there or do bigger volunteer projects. This business with Q is like nothing I experienced before he arrived. Some days, it about flattens me. And I wonder exactly the same things you posted here. What happened? Somehow, this is so not the life I thought I'd be having. Not that it's ultimately *bad* or anything. No, it's just a kind of stress that it's almost a waste to try to describe to anyone not living a similar thing, you know?

Thanks for posting this. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in often feeling whatever it is that we're feeling. (((Mel)))

blogzilly said...

I know I don't know you, I just follow your blog (and that only recently)...and I absolutely respect your right to feel how you do at times, but the fact of the matter is, from what I have read about you, about the life around you, you are the glue that holds everything together. You are the thread that keeps the entire tapestry of the lives of those closest to you woven together.

That makes you more important than you will ever, EVER truly be able to appreciate when you ponder your own self and your own place in your world. But the truth is you are its unquestionable nucleus.

(I'll just go back to lurking now...sorry for being so direct to a perfect stranger. ;) )

Bird said...

You know, something happened along the way and we feel like we're not doing what we should unless we're making money and wearing heels and getting up way too early in the morning? Where does that come from? You said you used to work for a company, so I'm going to go ahead and assume that it wasn't a life-saving company or a company that shipped food to orphans in Romania.

And now you're responsible for a life. Kids like ours get swept under the rug if we don't put our whole hearts into it. You are responsible for re-shaping his body, stimulating his mind, and defending his rights. What could be more important than that? And yet. . . you feel like you got more done on days when you had a neat desk and organized files.

No, no one compliments us at home and no one praises our sacrifices and all the things we DO do, but that doesn't make them any less important. I have days like this. . . days where I'm not sure if I'm doing the right things or if what I'm doing is valuable. I think that the people around us--the people closest to us take it for granted that we know that our jobs are valuable. To the rest of the world our worth is obvious, but when you're sitting in the trenches you sometimes find yourself longing for the days when you had performance reviews and whatever else to let you know that you're on the right track. Following your heart is hard because no one else can tell you that you're doing it right.

Whew, soap box, right?

AshleyS said...

I feel the same way a lot--I used to be so organized and put together and now I just do what I have to do to get through the moment. I think it's all the medical knowledge I've had to crowd into my brain. There simply isn't room to think about keeping things tidy or remembering conversations!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could punch you in the face for your negative commentary about being an at home mom! You did great at work but you are also awesome at home!
Have some pride in yourself for all you do at home with D. All your abilities from work have now just passed over to D.
Who knows most about D?
Who could tell anyone what the leading new technology for CP is?
Who can whip off any bit of info about CP, Epilepsy, Dipraxia and any other diagnosis?
Oh and what about being able to understand an IEP.
Dont sell yourself short. just bc your at home vs in the office doesnt mean your any less of a talented person. You are no longer in the business of the BIG 3 but now the President, VP, Owner, Concept Designer, Trouble Shooter, Dr., Mother, Teacher and Advocate of Daniel. BE PROUD OF ALL THAT THIS NEW JOB TAKES!
Those so called awesome people you use to work with couldn't handle an HOUR in your shoes!

-Daughter C

Anonymous said...

daughter C has a point, though I'd leave out the punching.

Anyone who spends time with their kids-working in the home or outside of it- focuses on them- the family- and not the 'stuff'. The stuff will still be there when the kids are grown and gone....with memories of a mom who made cookies and party hats. As long as the house is clean enough so that no one gets sick- who cares?

Anonymous said...

Just think of it like this-

I come to you for all the problem solving help that i can get- seriously. Pretend that I am the company and you are the person who has to constantly decide what to do to fix me, you still are that person but it isnt so complicated anymore- its YOU problem solving me...

i guess what im trying to say is that I am proud of you- very very very proud of you and you have alot of accomplishments to be proud of... Im trying to be your accomplishment to be proud of.


baby trevor's mommy said...

and I thought I needed to see a shrink! *wink*

Thanks for being SO amazing! And real!


Jacolyn said...

Oh boy does it make sense to me. I totally get it. Well...maybe not totally...I'm not really with it anymore :)

Ellen said...

Melanie, I know how you feel. Once you've had a job, it's such a different life to be at home fulltime, let alone a fulltime mom of a kid with special needs. I still work fulltime. The grass is greener, because I often ache thinking about what I'm missing with the kids, whether Max would be doing better if I were there for him all the time, instead of his teachers and our babysitter after school.
But, as was just said here, so beautifully by Katie, even though you are accomplishing things in a different way, you are accomplishing SO much with Daniel. He wouldn't be doing anywhere near as well as he is if it weren't for you. You should take so much pride in that. But, I do understand missing the "buzz" of work. Is there anything part-time you can take on?

Nelba said...

Whatever I say, it's going to sound inadequate. But I also don't want to keep quiet. You are doing an even better job than when your desk was neat and you had all the answers. But I know that it is not an easy job. You remain in my prayers.


I totally understand exactly what you mean. I think the ones that have the most difficult time understanding why we are experiencing a case of whathappeneditiis are
1) friends without children
2) husbands/significant others because they tell us're.needed

I had jack in 2001 and haven't been the same since. It's not even about the stretchmarks, it's about how like you said, our own marks are buried by all the other things that we need to attempt to put a dent in regarding Sahmdome.

Its okay to be sad.
And then you'll look at life as he sleeps and you'll feel a little bit better..

I'm glad you posted this. Thank you very much. if it's any help, you made a difference in my day.
and I still haven't showered.

said the woman that used to get weekly manicures/pedicures back at single life--spoiled and clueless B*@t!^

Keri said...

Okay, so I couldn't possibly say it any better than Daughter C and blogzilly. They pretty much hit the nail right on the head!

Melanie said...

Let me just say this. I do think being the SAHM is very important. I love what I do, BUT there is that part of me that misses the thrill and excitement, the interaction with adults, and the feeling of immediate accomplishments. I know that what I am doing for Daniel is important and I take pride in how well he is doing. Just sometimes I wish I could be doing more when it comes to helping support (financially) the family.