Lately, whenever I am on Twitter, I am struck as to how different I seem to be from so many other women and particularly moms.
What do I mean? Simple, really. While so many people that I follow tweet about how they are spending the holidays, what vacations they are taking, what latest gadget they are getting their kids, all I can think about is making sure we have enough cash to pay our mortgage.
I just seem to be in a different place. Twitter is about jumping into the conversation but I honestly can’t think of something worthwhile to contribute at times. It made me think of Psych 101 in university, when we learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Do you remember that?
While so many women I know seem to have achieved the love / belonging level and even higher, I seem to be stuck in safety. What is worse is that I have dragged my mother and her hard earned financial security along for the ride. With her financial backing, my husband and I bought a business almost 9 years ago. We did this so that we would have the possibility of having a child without the endless barage of issues that face most working parents: daycare, sick days, missing all the ‘firsts’ and the heartache that goes along with that. Balancing acts that aren’t really balance, but a tightrope walk of who was going to be disappointed on which day.
It took a few tries but we finally had our dear daughter on December 23, 2008. Right in time for the recession to make our getting out of the safety level even more unlikely. It became clear that we could no longer survive as a family on the business income and that I would have to bow out of my role of full time Mommy and part time business person to find a full time job. At the time, that realization took out a piece of my heart and it took me a year to fully accept it and start looking for a job.
Then I realized that I did in fact like the idea of going back to work. Or at least I liked it better than remaining on the safety level of needs. I wanted to be able to send my daughter to classes, or to camp, or whatever. Oddly and against my nature, I was totally cocky about my employability. I thought that with 8+ years of running a newspaper, writing, editing, publishing, designing and managing projects and staff, that I would be a welcome addition to so many organizations. I didn’t think much about the 600 other applicants with similar or better credentials than mine.
One really bad real estate transaction later – that I will write about some other time – we are facing the end of 2011 with little acquired safety and a nice chunk of debt, along with a lot of grey hair that wasn’t there in 2010. It’s the time of year when you question yourself: was it all worth it? Are we ever going to achieve the next level? How do we get there without losing everything we have worked for, so far?
Well, regardless of all that has taken place, it has been worth it. I’ve met some really interesting people on Twitter and in real life. I’ve started writing more than I have in a long while, thanks to my baby-muse. I have seen all her firsts, including sitting, walking, sliding, climbing, talking, conversation, loving and hugs. On the cusp of her third birthday, I realize that, despite the lack of ‘safety’, I certainly have achieved something. For now, it’s enough.