Underutilized: The difficult part of staying at home

Last Monday evening I sat in traffic with my two boys, Wylie (10)and Max (7), and our greyhound. When I say “our” greyhound, I should clarify that we got the dog last year for our kids and definitely NOT for me.

We were all headed home after a glorious weekend in the mountains. My husband, Andy, left for work early Monday morning and I stayed behind to manage the kids and the dog.

It was rush hour. Traffic was at a standstill. The car was packed and I had been chasing the kids and dog all day. After packing up and getting everyone in the car, I could feel the dried sweat all over my neck. It was hot out and all I really wanted to do was take a shower. Did I mention that the dog was stuck under the bed earlier in the morning?  Yes she was and when I tried to get her out, I pulled something in my back. The two hour car ride made me realize just how badly my back was hurt.

And then it happened. I smelled something horrible. Both boys yelled, “EEEEWWWW!” I glanced back to realize the worst case scenario. The dog had just pooped all over the back of my car.  Massive diarrhea.  All over the cooler, the suitcases and the laundry.  The dog – who isn’t that smart – started walking all over it and pacing around with diarrhea paws in the back of the car.

At this point in my day, the proverbial wheels had come off the bus.  I was yelling at the top of my lungs.  I was crying – I don’t even consider myself a crier – I was yelling bad things that a mom shouldn’t say in front of her kids.  All the windows in the car were down, letting in hot air and holding in the stench.  Suddenly I realized that both of my kids were staring at me in horror (not a proud mom moment).

There was nothing I could do at that point. The car smelled, I was going to have to throw half of the stuff away, and who knows if I would ever get the smell out.  I am not sure what my first thought should’ve been but I will tell you what it was:  If I was working, this would’ve never happened.




I am one of those moms that is currently “in between”.  I am “in between” working and staying home.  I am doing lots of work and volunteering my time for several different projects.  I am helping organize a 5K race for my kids elementary school as a fundraiser, I coach 7 year old soccer, and I am working on a novel.  Lets not forget about the responsibilities of “our” new dog.  It is all rewarding in its own way but here is my problem: I feel like I am being underutilized.

Not that long ago, I was a professional woman.  I went to law school and was a prosecutor for many years.  I also did criminal defense work and family law.  I was good at my various jobs.  When my kids came along, my focus switched from work to family (sound familiar?).  I stepped back from my career for my family, convinced it was the right thing to do.  Ever since then, I feel like I have been cast out of the professional world and will be forever looking in and trying to get my place back.

I am good at a lot of things like writing and speaking and organizing.  By trade, I am good at cross examination (which comes in handy with two kids).  Here is a list of things I am not good at:  cooking, baking, crafting, interior design, getting trapped dogs out from under beds and cleaning up after a dog that has just crapped in my car.

Somehow, the fact that I do not bring home a paycheck really bothers me.  I feel like I am not fulfilling my potential somehow, like I am being underutilized.  Late at night, I worry about lots of things such as my husband losing his job, having medical insurance, and sending my kids to college.  The responsible thing to do would be to go back to work fifty hours a week as a lawyer doing what I am good at.  Only there are these two beautiful boys that I told you about.  I literally feel torn.  I want to be with them and be there for them whenever they need me but I want more.  I want to contribute more to my families financial stability and more to my community.

This is my dilemma.  A dilemma that only exists for women.

By Julia Romanow
Chief Editor: ProudWorkingMom.com
Originally posted on July 22, 2013 


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