Sick Day


UGH! I’m sick today. Well, actually, I’m feeling icky today. I haven’t hit full-blown sickness. Throat and ears and tingly scalp. Not a good sign. So I did something that I have refused to do since I left my job; I sent my family off for the day, took Nyquil and crawled back into bed. At some point, I fully expect to fall asleep as I’m typing. And while I wait for blessed drug-induced relief to hit, I will battle back my feelings of guilt that I’m back in bed. Why guilt, you say … simple – even though I don’t have a formal job to go to every day, I have a routine, a self-imposed schedule that carries me through my days.

Ever since I left my job (no, I don’t want to think about just how long ago), I’ve imposed a rigid schedule and expectation on my time. Even though I’m not employed, I still have work to do.  And I have a lot of difficulty processing the guilt I feel when my wife heads out every morning to her crazy-ass job. And – let’s face it – I function much better when there’s at least a skeletal structure to work within.

The bulk of my mornings are spent researching jobs, applying for jobs and finding new ways to approach the job search. Although I am hoping that my next career move will be fulfilling and meaningful, it’s time for us to have a steady second source of income, so some priorities are back-burnered. In the past I’ve mentioned that the job hunt eliminates any professional ego that you may have; I can now say that the job hunt eliminates virtually any ego that you may have. I think I’m fully ready to start putting my writing out there for feedback because my soul is well-prepared for consistent rejection, some of which is baffling and some of which is downright infuriating. {Sidenote: employers – please don’t tell people that they are “over qualified” –  we are either qualified or we are not. If you don’t wish to hire us because you’re concerned we won’t commit ourselves long-term to your company or you don’t like our personality or you think that we’re smelly, fine! Tell us that! But don’t say that we are over qualified.} I’ve been told that I’m over qualified (see previous rant), I possess a personality that is too strong, I have too much experience and that a company doesn’t want to be a bus stop in my career path.  The job search has been humbling but also a mental forge ; I’ve needed to find ways to shore up my mental and emotional being so that my self esteem doesn’t crumble like a sand wall under the barrage of rejection that my self esteem endures.

I have started to substitute teach after finishing the certification course in the fall. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a sub for Shortstack’s class and I’ve had a friend (thank you, Teresa!) who’s been amazing at getting my name out there and thinking of me when her classroom has needed a sub. So far I’ve only worked with upper elementary, but I am looking forward to getting into classrooms in the intermediate and high school levels.

After several hours devoted to the job hunt, I sit down and write. I have a novel, people! It’s not complete. And, in fact, I demolished a couple of chapters yesterday, but I have a novel. It’s coming. It’s growing. And whether or not anyone else wants to read it, I’m writing it! I’ve also had a flurry of short essays about mamahood, wifehood, womanhood. Oh – and coffee. I think the coffee essays are just because but they ensure that I continue to put words on the page. I’m prescribing to the philosophy that you just need to get the words out and down, no matter how crappy they are and then you have a place to start. Earlier in this era of post-employment, I was devoting a couple of hours each day to my Etsy shop: researching SEOs and Etsy marketing, taking product pictures and comparing different shops and products, creating new products and trying to make my way through. I’ve taken a huge step back from Etsy – but I’m still tinkering with new ideas and products and ways to make what I make unique and appealing to a niche market in the big, bad world of Etsy and small-shop cyber universe.

And then I clean – and tidy – and cook – and shuffle – and shop (people, Costco is much better to go to on a weekday but, even then, the senior citizens halting their carts mid-stride in the middle of the aisles so that they can get a food sample is still infuriating!). I’ve always known that stay-at-home-mamas work hard and their lives are a constant drain on their emotional and mental reserves as they balance an perceived expectation that all will be cared for in the home and domestic life because, well, they’re home all day so – of course – that’s all they have to do in life; I have to come to believe that the partners that “go to work” often forget that the stay-at-home spouse also has goals that they are trying to achieve, challenges they face throughout the day, disappointments and victories, and that although it is reasonable and legitimate to think that the home front will be mostly dealt with by the spouse who stays at home, there are some days when said spouse will not want to cook or do dishes or deal with fussy kids. The home is still home to all in the family. Sorry – another tangent. I’ve been working on a few essays about stay-at-home-mamas as well. Probably because I’ve never been one nor have I ever had one in or around my life; my mother would NEVER have considered being a stay-at-home-mother (all the angels and her family and neighborhood is overwhelmingly grateful for that!), I didn’t successfully make it through my maternity leave without ending up in the office because I needed that stimulation, and I can’t think of any friends who had a stay-at-home-parent. This era of being the primary home keeper, care giver, home maker, etc. has been eye-opening.

The last hours of my day are blurred into picking up Shortstack, wading through 3rd grade math and language arts, library visits, dinner prep, bath time, ukulele lessons, soccer practice, greeting my wife, after-dinner chaos and bedtime, an hour or so of tv time with my wife and then bed. So, yes, my days are filled.

But today, I have piled myself into bed. I have computer in hand (obviously) and my job search file. I have my pens and notebook. I have my honey-lemon tea and my comfy pjs. And I’m starting to feel the pleasant drifting sensation of my mind shutting down even as I type these last words. God bless Nyquil. Nighty-night, friends. Hope you all stay healthy and bug-free!

Sick day, commence!


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