Where’s the damn manual??

Why isn’t there a manual for life? Why do I have to make decisions and choices? No one told me when I was younger that growing up meant having to make things up as I went along.

Last week I was thrilled at the idea of working full time outside the house at the D.A.’s office. This week, after watching Otter respond to my being gone for classes and dental appointments, I have a hollow space under my heart at the thought of leaving him, and Monkey, to 40+ hour a week non-mommy care.

Now, if I work from home I will feel guilty if I don’t earn enough money, and if I work outside the home I will feel guilty about being gone so much. Are there any guilt free choices at all?

What do I do? Do I believe in myself wholly and throw caution to the wind, along with an advertising budget, equipment costs, and god knows what else to establish my own practice? Thereby giving up the chance at mentor-ship, a steady paycheck, and guided experience so I can spend more time with my little man, easing his transition to big kid, and be here for after school, sick days, and dinner time for both kids? Is that the right thing to do?
Or, do I focus on my career now, having given him nearly two years with a nigh constant mommy, and embrace my steady, if likely paltry, paycheck, and some solid training to go along with it?

I will likely earn a lot more sooner if I stay in my own practice, and succeed at it, than I will ever earn at the D.A.’s office. However, my chances of earning a ton in the future increase significantly with a few years put in at the D.A.’s office. Of course, any future position would likely be at a major law firm, thereby requiring 60-80 hour work weeks, so I would probably never see my children again there either. My other choice would be starting a law practice, which I can continue to do now, right?

I am talking in circles to myself, going over and over these issues, and finding myself less able to decide between them with each passing day. What choice should I make? Do I listen to the ache inside my heart responding to Otter’s increased neediness caused by my recent absences? Do I listen to the sigh in my head at the thought of passing up another career chance? Do I go to therapy to reconcile the damn voices in my head, just in case I am actually losing my mind?

Will one of you friggin brilliant friends of mine write a damn manual on how to do this shit already?

4 thoughts on “Where’s the damn manual??”

  1. I’ve done FT, PT, SAHM and 4 day work week (Fridays off) … somehow I find a way to question it all. The grass is not greener on the other side. Nor is it browner or wetter or drier or longer or shorter. There is no perfect answer. For me, I chose to take a job that is alright – nothing that is going to catapult me to fame or fortune, but it highly flexible. It’s my best attempt at balance. For now.

    Good luck! And if you get that manual, let me know.

  2. This post is the bloody, beating heart of my entire blog!!! My damn name, even: gudnuff. As a working mother, I want it all, but can’t find the manual either, and so I’ll take the best of I can do and hope it’s good enough. But in the meantime, just like you, and just like my blog title, I’ll continue to struggle with which choice is the right choice. I don’t care that indecision pisses some people off. For those of us looking for the manual, it’s the only thing we’ve got. So you flip a coin, you decide on something, you do your best to make sure it IS good enough, and if it’s not, you scrap that choice and go with another decision. Thanks for summing up my entire blog in one post. I feel redundant now.

  3. lol! Gudnuff, I visited you at your lovely blog and feel there is absolutely no redundancy at all. In fact, you make me breathe a little easier knowing your kinship exists. Thank you.

    Cat, Thank you. I am really tied in knots about this. It helps to know there are no perfect answers.
    (Though, being as smart as you are, you could write the manual and give it to me.)

  4. Otter is going to be sad no matter what, at any length of separation. Going to pre-school, kindergarten, afternoon out, or a full time job. That can’t be what you base this decision on.

    Instead, leap into the fray. Don’t forget that if it totally sucks (60-80 hours? Yikes!), you can always QUIT. Then, start over.

    Personally, I’d go with the DA, get as much XP as you can and then work on your own career. The babies will still be there. If you continue to worry about the way the kids feel, when will it be OK for you to go back to work? When Otter is in 1st grade? Middle school? Out of HS? What about potential 3rd child action?

    They will ALWAYS need you and you will ALWAYS be there. Just not at every single moment.

    And that’s OK.

    Hatchet – the Tough Love Friend

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