I’ve heard three separate people complaining about the economy lately and saying that if things don’t improve they’ll have to get a job, ewwww, and while I only caught a snippet of their conversation and thus had no context (one was via Twitter, and it wouldn’t be the first time I completely misunderstood what someone was saying there) and really shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, can I just say it makes me sort of crazy to hear that, probably because I can’t view that sort of statement objectively at ALL, because oh what a tragedy to have to work for a living and maybe spend several hours a day doing something that’s not exactly rewarding in every sense of the word let me check oh yeah it seems I am FRESH OUT OF SYMPATHY ON THAT SUBJECT.

On a similar note, I have to tell you how much I dislike the term The Man. When I was first talking about going back to work after Riley was born, I can’t tell you how many people chastised me for even considering leaving my baby just to toil away for The Man, which 1) what does that even mean? and 2) hey, here is my left nut, I would like to cordially invite you to suck it until you choke on the short hairs.

(Yeah, so I don’t actually have a left nut. Creative license, baby.)

The only nice side effect about this scary economy is the fact that I think it’s actually dampened some of the more ridiculous stay-at-home vs working-mom bullshit out there, because I don’t think too many people are in a position to criticize other folks who need or want to work for a living any more. You know, especially if the choice is to Stick It To the Man . . . or raise a family in a house with, you know, electricity.

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how to incorporate more of what I love to do into my career—how to find the motivation and passion, and how to break the cycle of feeling discouraged and trapped. I know it’s not fun to feel as though you’re working just to earn a paycheck, like you’re putting in your time at a place you don’t love instead of pursuing the things that really make you tick. At the same time, for most of us that paycheck isn’t just a nice side effect of our jobs, it’s the thing that helps pay the bills, save money for our children’s college funds, provide medical care for our families, and makes it possible to acquire a few of life’s luxuries such as food.

If financial circumstances are forcing you into a situation you’d rather not be in, hey, I get that. It sucks. But just think how many thousands of people would LOVE to be working for The Man right now. I try and keep this in mind, because it sure makes me think about what I could be doing instead of complaining. Like standing in line at the unemployment office.

In other news, Riley and I are leaving on Saturday for the DC trip I mentioned earlier (sponsored by THE MAN! Well, Hershey’s), and I am crossing every finger and toe that he gets over the last of this virus that’s been affecting him with the sort of behavior that I see Heather recently called “the grumples” which is far more kind than the words I’ve been using lately to describe my beloved boy, unless “that whiny asshole” can be considered a term of endearment? No? Well, anyway, wish us luck, and if you’ve got any last-minute travel tips, I’d love to hear them.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
76 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jessamyn
Jessamyn
13 years ago

In many states, you now can register for unemployment online! And then you just call in every so often. No standing in line! Heh. Not so bad! Definitely wishing you lots of luck on your trip – it sounds like it has much potential to be AWESOME. And definitely have JB at the ready to COMPLETELY take over from you when you get home and collapse.

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

I had to work a 16 hour day last week and it almost killed me dead. I didn’t see Theo in the morning and he was fast asleep by the time I came home. I was miserable. But I’m the only one working and we’ll get through this hump hopefully soon. I need to remember that my husband would GLADLY trade places with me if he were able and because of me we DO have food and a roof. Electricity too. OH THE LUXURIES! And dude, The Man supports my family so I’m happy He’s around.

JennB
JennB
13 years ago

“that whiny asshole”… ha. I have one of those living at my house, too. she’s 4. i get to go on a plane with her next week. I am so excited I could shit.

JennB
JennB
13 years ago

but then i get to leave for a week to go to Africa for work, so ha ha you whiny little shit!

Zoot
Zoot
13 years ago

My salvation with my daughter on a long trip: blank small notebook ($1) and pack of stickers. She spent hours putting the stickers in the notebook. (And on my face and in my hair, but as long as she’s quiet – does it matter?)

(For the record? Heather mentioned doing that for Leta on a trip. So, not my idea originally.)

monkey
13 years ago

I’m also confused by the term “the man” and who “the man” is supposed to be.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

I also don’t understand “The Man” thing either.

I am really worried about my job right now, I have worked for the same company for 10 years. We just had a huge lay off in Feb. I wouldn’t know what it is like to HAVE TO get a job because the economy is bad. BOO HOO

As far as input for your trip, we took our son to Florida (about a 3 hour flight) when he was 4. I was so worried about how bad it would be and he slept the whole way. The only crappy thing was just as we were about to land on the way home he said he had to pee. I asked him if he could hold it and he did. I was pretty lucky, as for the other kids on the plane *ugh*

kakaty
kakaty
13 years ago

I assume you have a portable DVD player for the plane. Because hoo-boy – instant TV coma that last for hours. We just did a 16 hour car trip with our 2 1/2 year old (only 3 stops for food and potty breaks the whole day!) thanks to the DVD player and about 15 never-seen-before DVDs from the library. Also, hit the dollar bins at Target for random distractions. We had a bag in the car of never-before-seen toys like a mini slinky, stickers, mini books and even a tiny notepad and tiny markers – each only worked it’s magic for about 10 minutes but they were there when we needed them.
Oh, and EarPlanes for the pressure
http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-EarPlanes-Protection-Pressure-Discomfort/dp/B000FI7DE8

danielle
danielle
13 years ago

So funny you should mention this. I have seen a show recently with a guest who was upset that she had to work and support her daughter b/c her husband had lost his job. I couldn’t believe that she was angry at him because he could no longer provide the life she dreamed of. I also have a friend who was the same. She never even considered getting a job herself. I use these people to remind myself that I don’t want to raise my children to need/depend/expect someone else to solve their problems (financial or otherwise). Or to think that they’re too good to scrub toilets and clean tables. That mindset is the curse of the middle class.

On a happier note, have a great time! I highly recommend a laptop for the trip. You can watch movies or watch youtube videos throughout the flight. Bribery and snacks work too!

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

Fantastic weather in DC this weekend–mid 80s and sunny! ENJOY!!

Stephanie
Stephanie
13 years ago

I work for a Chevrolet dealership, so if you want to talk about a scary time..it’s right now. I just had a baby 5 weeks ago, and decided to work from home and not take maternity leave because of the economy. So many dealership have closed around us, so I am now doing 4 dealerships worth of warranty claims. And while it sucks to not be one of the moms on maternity leave and go hang out at the park (which I really don’t do anyway), I am so grateful to have a job right now. It helps pay the bills, but I need my job for my sanity as well (although sometimes I feel like I’m going insane). I just take it one moment at a time. I don’t remember why I posted..

Carrie
Carrie
13 years ago

Great post, Linda! I work full time in a job that does not bring me much joy, but it is a job and it provides for us and I am grateful to have it! I hope you and Riley have a great time in DC this weekend!

Christ
13 years ago

I agree on this post entirely. I am glad that the economy has cooled some of that sahm vs working mommy discussion. I am also glad I did not jump on the stay at home band wagon ’cause dude that would be sucky right now.

Hang in there through the flights. Lots of fun and easy snacks, enjoy something yummy if you have a layover somewhere (Caribou has the best muffins that are full of sugar and shit… Riley will be heaven!), buy some special fun toys/books/coloring books that Riley has never seen (take them out one at time if he seems to be getting bored) and bring along a portable DVD/iPod filled to the brim with his favorite shows. Do not forget some Tylenol in case the take off or landings hurt his ears and bring an empty sippy cup and ask to have them fill it with water once you are on the plane so he can suck on it if need be. It can help take the edge off if need be.

We are travelling on Sunday as well but with a 4 yr old and an 8 month old. If you happen to be Minn/St Paul and see a woman looking wild eyed to the left and right like she’s going to make a break for that line of traffic outside? That will be me! LOL.

Pete
Pete
13 years ago

You no doubt already have, but just in case, you might want to get something to open up his ears cuz being on a plane with stuffed up sinuses just sucks.

Jill
Jill
13 years ago

When my SIL and I took our three (combined) children (7m, 6m, and 4 years) on a flight from Phoenix to Detroit, we bought my nephew (the 4 year old) an airplane from the airport gift shop. They had miniatures of all of the major airlines’ planes so we bought the one that looked like the one we were flying in. Kept him occupied for awhile. I would imagine that a small bag filled with new stuff would also do the trick.

I don’t know if this has already been mentioned, but if you haven’t already done so, you might want to prep Riley for security questions (since he won’t have ID.) When we flew, they stopped us and wouldn’t let us go through until my nephew confirmed that my SIL was his mother and that we were going to “Mitch-i-gan.” We were there for 20 minutes because he wouldn’t talk. Now I don’t know if the guy was just being an a** or what, but it might help to warn him that they may ask him questions.

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Good luck on the DC trip! I have no advice but will wait patiently for you to tell us how it goes since come August I’m somehow supposed to fly from LA to Vermont (that would be a 6 hour flight followed by a 2 hour flight for anyone keeping track OMG) by myself with a 3 month old and a 3 year old.

Tranquilizers? For all three of us??

BellyGirl
13 years ago

I got excited when I saw the title of your post because I thought you were finally going to start giving us a weekly critique of American Idol. Maybe next week? :)

I honestly don’t know how one income families do it. We aren’t scraping by, but we have a pretty strict budget. You know who I feel sorry for? The guy or gal who has to get the 2nd or 3rd job to pay the bills. But you do what you gotta do to be a responsible bill payer/parent/home owner.

vague
13 years ago

I am right there with you on the working issue. In my profession (teaching college English), you get a lot of people resentful about having to teach (god forbid, teach the children) instead of being able to devote all their time to research or writing. The worst, though, are the students who’ve been complaining to me that their parents are making them get part-time jobs for the summer. Oh, woe, and also suck on it.

Ahem. Sorry for the mini rant there.

Anyway, I can’t offer any great travel tips for I am kidless and thus know nothing helpful at all in this scenario, but I will wish you a healthy boy and a lovely trip! I know you two will have a great time!

Katie
Katie
13 years ago

I got the same blather about how could I leave my little guy at daycare and go to work so many times I wanted to grab someone’s Coach purse and hurl in it! When I’m the parent with insurance coverage from my employer, it was a no-brainer! And now, even though I’ll be a certified teacher in a few months, which is a crap-shoot when school budgets are slashed and they’re not hiring any more teachers, I know I’m ready for a new and more fullfilling job when the openings are there! I am very glad that I live in an area where the recession has not affected our economy drastically and I still have a job and our family-owned business is still thriving (thanks to everyone who is painting their house because other renovation isn’t affordable right now). Things will swing back to the norm, and then a whole new generation of mom’s will be getting the lecture of staying home versus working! Joyous times!

And definately take a dvd player for the flight. It was a God-send when we had a 4 hour flight to Delaware from Salt Lake last year with my two boys. And if Rylie has any tendancies towards motion-sickness, give him 1/4 to 1/2 of a Dramamine, it’ll knock him out and he won’t puke if there’s turbulance! The joys of motion-sick prone 3 year olds! Fun!

Brenna
13 years ago

Wow, I think about this subject EVERY DAY. In fact, today I have been throwing a pity party for myself in regards as to why I have to go to stupid work everyday when I would rather be home with my son and doing other things I love (or pursuing my dreams of DOING what I love as a career). If any of my SAHM friends said that to me, I really don’t think I would come back with something nice.

Another thing I cannot stand is when SAHMs complain about how broke they are or just in general how hard it is to stay at home. Um, seriously? You made the choice to stay at home. Maybe you should have thought about your bill situation prior to making this decision.

And yes, I would stay at home in a heartbeat if my family income level allowed such a luxury. And no, I am not bitter. And yes, my full time job brings some happiness, sometimes. I am very grateful that I work for nice, understanding people that pay me well. I like being able to provide for my family monetarily.

Have fun in DC!!! I suggest lollypops! Messy, yes, but they help with the ear popping! Plus what kid doesn’t like sugar?

Tony
13 years ago

The people that chastised you are in the minority, so I don’t know where that’s coming from.

I don’t have any close friends who are stay at home moms. They ALL work.

What bugs me more than that (granted I wouldn’t get the “leaving my baby” comments as I am “THE MAN”) is people who say “Oh, I could never send my baby to daycare”.

I don’t know about the rest of those who are forced to send their children to daycare, but I like the fact that my children get some “social education” by spending their weekdays among their peers. Also, I’m a proponent of the “get ’em sick when they’re younger to build immunity” theory. There is no bigger melting pot of germs than daycare or school.

Amanda
13 years ago

I totally hear you on the sentiment that we should just be happy to have jobs. And I am happy to have a job. And I actually like my job – although there have been certainly frustrations lately. But I am finding it hard to be super happy about it when I get the “wage freeze/no bonus/no raise/no 403b contribution” notice – and, I KNOW, I KNOW, I’m lucky I have anything – but I work at a non-profit and when everything else costs so much (hey, it’s not like there is a rate-freeze at daycare or anything) it just gets so frustrating, particularly when the staff keeps shrinking and the workload keeps piling up. But, at the end of the day, the “at least I have a job” mantra always wins.

jonniker
13 years ago

I agree that it brought the whole issue to a close, although I’ll say that in my real life, the issue really doesn’t ever come up. I wonder if that’s true for everyone? I’m a hybrid (or will be) so I am kind of living both sides of the “debate,” but among my real-life friends and acquaintances — who are a mix of SAHMs and working moms — no one says anything about it, and no one really cares. I have never heard anyone judge anyone in my actual life, but that could be just me.

I think that’s why the discussion bothers me so much — it seems so MANUFACTURED from my vantage point, by the mommy pundits and online asswipes who just want to feel better about their own situation by slamming another’s.

And man, do I wish that for once, we could all talk about it and acknowledge that BOTH choices are hard and valid without slamming the other position. Everyone has the right to complain about their decision, no matter what it is.

Brenna, I’m kind of very kindly glancing in your direction here — dude, not all choices are perfect, and while the SAHMs may have decided that the financial trade-offs are worth it, that doesn’t mean they can’t bitch about it, right? I mean, I chose to have a baby, but that doesn’t mean I can’t complain when she’s screaming for seven hours, you know?

Just like some people (not all) DO decide to work when they could afford to stay at home because of the benefits it brings them personally — that doesn’t mean they can’t complain that they miss their kid. I would never tell a working mom who chose to work that she should have thought of that before she made the decision to have a career. Never.

We all make the best choices we can, and I firmly believe that they are all valid and they’re all really, really hard with their own rewards and drawbacks. The only, and I mean, the ONLY, people I really have no sympathy for are those who stay home AND have a full-time nanny/au pair, and I know three of those, if you can believe it. Those people should be counting their blessings every waking moment, and I say that out of nothing but bald envy.

Korinna
13 years ago

I second the recommendations of the dollar bin at Target and a crapload of stickers. A friend also recommends hitting the dollar store for a bunch of cheapy, but new-to-me! trinkets.

I’m 33 and that would probably keep me occupied on a flight.

Have a lovely time in D.C.!

maris
13 years ago

It was so, so refreshing to hear this post. I’m not a mom but I work for “The Man” and first of all, I agree, what does that MEAN? I don’t like that term either.

Secondly, the fact that I am employed means that “the man” has been pretty good to me the way the economy has been these days and I’m certainly not complaining.

I think to a certain extent, we’d all love spend days playing with the kids, going to the gym when it’s nice and empty around 2PM, toiling away on the internet and making a 5:00 happy hour but you can’t do any of that without a paycheck. Those days, for most of us, are called weekends!

And have fun on the trip with Riley!

Emily
13 years ago

I’ve been looking for a job for a year and would love to work for the man. I mean, I’m glad that my husband still has his job but I hate feeling like I’m not contributing. Plus I would love to start paying off some debt.

Come here Man!!

Have fun on your trip!

Claudia
13 years ago

Thank you. I agree. Hope you enjoy DC. My daughter (who is eight) and I went there during her spring break and saw as much as we could in 3 days – had a blast. Hope your “night in the museum” is worth the long plane ride.

Nicole
13 years ago

I work for a “Wall Street” firm and though I don’t wake-up every morning wetting myself with excitement for the promise each new day brings, I am GRATEFUL to still have a job and to be able to pay for such luxuries as shelter, health insurance, sustenance, diapers and wine. My husband, a Chef, was laid off and is at home with the baby until he finds another job. If we could swing it financially, I would trade places with him in a heartbeat, but you can’t always get what you want. I’ve always believed that only a precious few are fortunate enough to make a livable living pursuing their passion. The rest of us are lucky to make do with a job that affords us the money and time to pursue our passions during our “off” time.

I have yet to brave the terrifyingly unpredictable world of air travel with a child. But when I was young, before the advent of portable DVD players (or DVDs or CDs for that matter) my parents took us on a road trip from Los Angeles to Indiana in mid summer with no air conditioning. To keep my brother and me from killing each other, my mom told us if we behaved, we would get a present each day of the trip. We mostly held it together strictly for the promise of a new toy. I’d suggest a combination of hourly gifts and back-to-back DVDs. Better to be over prepared than arrested by the Air Marshal for gratuitous child doping.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Hell ya, sister! Those attitudes are so annoying. Everyone’s story is different and people need to learn a little tolerance or just get the hell out of my airspace.

Have a blast in DC!!! Let Riley pack a bag with some of his favorites and then sneak one or two new things into it….if that fails, drug him.

Stacy
Stacy
13 years ago

It’s going to be 80 degrees in DC this weekend… pack a hat and sunscreen and have a great time!!!

Emily
13 years ago

No travel advice, just wanted to tell you we are expecting AMAZING weather in DC this weekend, so enjoy it! Are you going to be able to visit the Natural History Museum? If you do, make sure you drag Riley to the Insect Zoo on the second floor near the butterfly exhibit. It’s awesome for little kids. Have a great time!

Lise
Lise
13 years ago

I’d do whatever possible to decongest Riley before flying. Even if his nose isn’t dripping, there may be congestion that will cause nasty ear pain when flying. If he’s big enough to take mucinex, it can do wonders to thin the mucus and make it drain out. I’d use sudafed too. . . but is it recommended for preschoolers these days? Sorry, my youngest is 14 and all the rules have changed.

Christine
13 years ago

It’s possible to download episodes of Blues Clues to your i-Pod. Just sayin’. Might come in handy.

Have fun in DC. If you need a break from the heat, take Riley to the Construction Zone in the Building Museum. Giant legos, etc.

g~
g~
13 years ago

Yeah, I second whoever mentioned allergy season on the East Coast. Possibly pack some benadryl or your medication of choice for both you and Riley. I’m in Georgia and it’s that crazy time of year.
Also, I agree with Jonniker that we should all be able to bitch about the choices we have made regardless of what they are or why we’re there.

Maria
13 years ago

I’m one of those people who never really had a great passion about what I do for a career. I work full time, and I enjoy it, but was it life goal to become a call center engineer (i.e. program phones)…um, no. But I enjoy my job, and I bring home the bacon. Work to live, not live to work has long been my philosophy…oh, and capitalism rules. I bless my lucky stars every day that I’m not one of those people waiting in line to find employment.

Have a great trip! It’s bit of a more expensive suggestion (I love the stickers/pad idea), but if you happen to have (or the desire to go out and spend $30+) a LeapFrog Tag Reading System, my 3 year old LOVES it and spends hours pouring over the books.

claire
13 years ago

Actually, i’d like to thank you for pointing this out. Currently, i’m the money-maker for our household; my fiance has been out of work for close to 6 months. And it sucks. I don’t make nearly enough to support all of our bills and it’s been pretty rough.

I’d really like to wish those ladies luck out there who now feel like they’ll HAVE to get a job. Cause they’re not going to find one. Without any experience or job-training, they’re going to be overlooked in the huge pool of experienced, qualified people out there that have been laid off and still haven’t been able to land one of the few open jobs. Seriously. Good luck.

Sadie
Sadie
13 years ago

What I’d like to know is who the fuck are these people who expect to NEVER work in their lives? I mean, that is the most ALIEN concept to me, and I truly, truly do not understand women who have that expectation. Life costs money and job = money.

But I also agree with Jonniker, the grass is always greener on somebody else’s side, judge not lest ye be yada yada…and I am grateful to be employed and decently paid even if my work is not ideal or passion-inspiring. First world problems et cetera et cetera and such and such.

Kristin
Kristin
13 years ago

Jonniker, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Kim
Kim
13 years ago

Haven’t read all the comments…”The Man” = “the boss man”/slavery? Forgive my ignorance, if not…

deannagabriel
13 years ago

the title of this post gave me a flashback to wednesday’s idol. seriously…how good is kris allen?!?! LOVE him.

when it comes to my job, i consider myself lucky. for the most part, i love it. im a nurse in a very busy, high acuity, pediatric icu in nyc. truth be told, i deal with dying kids a lot of days. not many people can do what i do and enjoy it. i consider it a calling and im happy to have found my place where i can not only make a living for myself, but feel like im contributing to the good of society and others, but also enjoying a sense of personal fulfillment as well.

sure i have my good days and bad days. some days i morally object to so much of what i do at my job. some days i would DIE to work for “the man” at a 9-5 job at desk, in a cubicle, with a phone and computer and a generic name plate and not have to deal with so much life and death. some days i come home and cry and cry and cry and hafta work really heard to justify my career choice to myself and other days i couldnt imagine doing anything else.

in the end, i think it all comes down to finding something that makes you happy in the long run. every job has their pros and cons, ups and downs, good days and bad days. its all how you look at it.

i dont have any kids myself, so i dont really have any tips to offer, but i cant wait to hear about everything when you guys get back! :)

Swistle
13 years ago

For me, the stress would be in CHANGING things. I don’t like to change things. It wouldn’t be that I found stay-at-home motherhood to be so perfectly rewarding every minute of the day—ahem, not that it isn’t, ahem ahem ahem—and woe-is-me had to WORK for a change.

Swistle
13 years ago

Also, reading through the comments, I don’t notice any cooling of the home/work mom thing. In fact–isn’t it getting stirred up a little more?

Brit
Brit
13 years ago

It bothers me too when people complain about having to get a job. A lady recently came and put in an application where I work and snottily informed us she didn’t really care that we weren’t hiring she just wanted someone to sign off on her DFCS paper saying she tried getting a job.

Traci
Traci
13 years ago

This is probably completely irrelevant since you have so many options to do there, but if you take the metro to the National Zoo, get off at the Cleveland Park metro stop, not the Woodley Park/Zoo stop. That way you won’t have to walk uphill the ENTIRE way there.

Have a great trip!!

Sundry
Sundry
13 years ago

Swistle: my nit has more to do with someone complaining because working an office job or whatever is Beneath Their Station in Life. And Claire, to your point, I think you’re absolutely right — those folks are probably in for a wakeup call in the current economy with regards to whether or not The Man in fact would even consider hiring them.

wordygirl
13 years ago

Linda – thanks for the perspective today. I am heading back to work on Monday after a year of maternity leave (yeah, that’s what you get in Canada – please don’t stone me) and have been feeling awfully sorry for myself. Boo, whine, unrewarding job, truly obnoxious office mates, Dilbert-like boss, sob. Your post reminded me that I should be grateful to have a job, especially one with medical benefits, job security, and a pension plan. I also needed the reminder that most of the population dislikes or even hates their jobs – ummm, that’s why they pay us MONEY – so I should just shut up, put in my eight hours, and suck it up like the rest of the world.
So thanks. Keep on rockin in the free world.

Michele
13 years ago

Wow, I like reading your posts. This has gone thru my mind a lot lately. I have always been the more lucrative bread winner. And I have been laid off several times due to company buyouts. My current job is quiet and dull but at this point in my life it works because it is close to home and it is just 9 to 5 with hardly any travel. But the worry that it too will be lost is always there. Anyway I actually feel bad for all those kids who hardly have their dads in their life because he is gone a lot making all the money.

mixette
mixette
13 years ago

All this of this recent piece in the NY times written by a freelance writer about the perspective that her other “less status-y” job gives her:

http://tinyurl.com/cyt67s

Have a great trip!

mixette
mixette
13 years ago

Umm…let that read above, “All of this *reminds me of* this recent piece…”

Not drunk commenting!

Leah
13 years ago

I think I’ve found a way for you to get inspired about going to your less-than-inspiring office job: look at it as a chance to dress up and look awesome. Because you always do, and that’s inspiring.