Do you know what the hardest thing has been for me since I stopped “working” last year?  It’s actually a combination of things. 1) Me time, even though it was just spending 2 hours driving one way to work and back; 2) Being able to speak to adults about the work we were doing on a daily basis.  Work was stressful, yes, but it was very fulfilling.

When we decided it was ok for me to start staying home with the kids, and pull the teenager out of high school to start homeschooling her, I had all these grand ideas.  I was going to raise chickens (did this) and have a HUGE garden to cook and can from (various success with this endeavor).  I was going to be able to sit down at the kitchen table with the teenager and we were going to LEARN things (yeah, can someone help me crowbar her out of the bed, please?).  The two little ones and I were going bond, the way the teenager and I had done when she was a wee thing (they could usually care less if I were in the room, unless I’m trying to do something).  I was going to keep the house spic and span (snorts wine out of her nose) and the laundry would always be up to date (looks at mountain of cloths).  I was going to make the bed every morning and get up in time to fix my husband breakfast before he left for work in the morning (I did, a few mornings, when I could get my eye lids to stay open and focused that long).

Rogan warned me from the beginning that these ideas of mine were dangerous to my sanity and just would never work, that I needed to scale down and be more realistic in my goals.  (Ok, so he liked the breakfast idea.  Too bad, eh?)

I soon discovered trying to keep an eye on two babies and keep a teenager straight may have been getting in over my head.  I had thought I could get outside and garden and they would play and life would be perfect.  When this turned out to be anything but the case, my postpartum anxiety getting the best of me and I was usually too afraid of the world to take them outside and my garden wilted after the black lab ate most of the plants anyway and the teenager turned out to be…well….a teenager, it became a bit much for me and I relied very heavily on my postpartum drugs.  Instead of taking every few days, I was taking a pill every day of the week.

Then, I started gaining weight.  Oh, boy did I pack on the pounds.  (I have only recently discovered the Zoloft I was taking for my postpartum anxiety attacks was the cause of the weight gain – I had my thyroid tested and was starting to come up with all kinds of medical problems, since I don’t over eat and sweets and junk food are treat around our house.)  The weight gain seriously impacted my self esteem.  The girls started to be too much for me with my panic attacks and I started shutting us off in our bedroom for most of the day (can you say cycle of problem after problem?).

Then, one day, I was chatting on Twitter and someone advertised for a virtual assistant.  I thought, why not?  I wasn’t looking for a job, but it might help take my mind of my anxiety and make me feel better about myself if I was able to actually ACCOMPLISH something everyday.  Rogan agreed with me, so I answered her call.

I ended up getting the job, for ten hours per week (I paid the teenager to watch the little ones while I worked).  There was also the knowledge that this could be even more hours down the road, if I did well.  I was ok with that possibilities.

So, now I am a work at home mom.  I have moved up to about twenty hours per week.  The teenager still watches the little ones for pay – though she has no patience with them and this worries me immensely.  So I am considering if I get more hours and a pay raise of putting them in half day preschool.

Preschool.  This brings us full circle.  I would no longer be with my girls.  Someone else would be helping to raise them (this being the main reason I started staying at home in the first place).  Not to mention, I don’t vax so would have to find someone in this town who would watch them without them – I would consider getting them started, if I had to, as I feel they may be big enough to do a slower schedule of vaccinations, but I really don’t want to be forced to make that decision.

So, here we are again.  Full circle in guilt.

I have come to the conclusion that, as a parent, there is nothing you can do that will not inspire guilt in you when it comes to your kids.  Work full time?  Guilt.  Stay at home and it not be paradise?  Guilt.  Work a bit from home?  Guilt.  Work at home even more and put them in daycare?  Yet more guilt.

So, my question to you moms who seem to have it all together….how do you do it?  And can you teach me?