I’ve been a little quite around here and I’m sure you all understand with my mother passing away and all. But there are other reasons as well. Since even before I had children I have wrestled with the idea of how to be a good, working mother. Because in my mind for some reason you couldn’t be both. But I have a calling. Really two callings. I desperately wanted children and I am a good therapist. Puzzling the two together for everyone’s benefit has proven to be hard. Especially with the strict criteria to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). To become an LPC in Oklahoma I have to finish 3000 hours of candidacy under the supervision of another licensed counselor. To earn your hour you have to finish at least 20 hours of work a week and they have strict restrictions on what they call work. This fall, I planed on working for a friend of mine that is starting her own agency and build up my client base slowly so that my kids wouldn’t have to go to daycare full time until maybe after Christmas. But things were not adding up so I had a decision to make. Find another job or stay home for another year with my boys.
When I had to go home to Iceland for my mother’s funeral in July it threw our finances for a loop. We would have had to tighten our belts even further for a while to make up for the financial hardship that trip put on us if I were to keep staying at home. Also since I had already started working towards my 3000 hours I have to finish for my candidacy as an LPC in 2012 I only have 5 years to finish them or I would have to reapply and start over again.
Last time I worked I made the mistake of working under contract and under circumstances that were causing me to become very ill which in return lead me to have to quit working. I decided I would not be bullied into taking clients I didn’t think I was equipped to work with again and that I would never again have to put forth so much effort for so little pay unless I wanted to. I was a therapist scorned after I quit my last job because of medical issues. Even started thinking about giving up on the profession since everyone I talked to told me that the only jobs out there for people still finishing their candidacy hours were those types of jobs. The ones you feel used an abused after when you dragged your emotionally worn out soul back to your family.
I believe that the most important thing for a therapist is self care. To be kind to one’s self and take care of body and soul. I believe that employers of therapists need to impose self care on their staff. That there should be at least a week and a half of vacation days each year that the person has to plan in advance to actually take a vacation and not to take care of their sick kids or go to a Dr’s appointment. That gentle relaxation in the morning before the work day starts is mandatory. As a European I think most companies in the USA treat their employees poorly and don’t understand how important it is for the employee to take a vacation from work. OK enough about that….. back to what I really came here to talk about.
I GOT A FULL TIME JOB!!!! I had this urge to check out a local agencies website and there was one job that I applied for. I decided that it was my Russian roulette and if I got it I would go back to work but if I didn’t get it I would just try hard to save our family money and stay home for another year. When I got the job I was in shock. I go back and forth about how great and crazy it is. I go from telling myself that I am a horrible mother for going to work from my only 11 month old child to telling myself that it will be good for him to be around other children during the day. If you only knew how much I beat myself up for looking forward to being around adults for 9 hours a day. How much mommy guilt I have about how happy I am when I drop them off at daycare and I hear silence in the car for more than a min. They have been going for 2 days now for a half a day each time and I enjoy the first 3 hours and then I start getting anxious to know how they are doing and if everything is OK. I’m an introvert so I get my energy from quite and being alone. I have gotten little to NONE of that for the past 16 months since my oldest two quit napping and now I look forward to having patches of it here and there.
This new job is a 8-5 job. I will have to drop the kids off at daycare at 7:45 and then be at work at 8. This being 40 hours a week will help me knock out my hours SUPER fast. I don’t have to go to people’s homes to do therapy, which is why I got so sick at the other job, and it is just doing intake and testing. So I decide if the person needs the services that are offered at the location I am at or if that person needs different accommodations. I only work with adults and 16-35 year old’s are where I do my best work. I get to work in an office environment and I am just super excited all around. But then the mommy guilt comes to haunt me.
Working mammas, how do you do it? How do you leave your kids with strangers and just go to work?