Friday, February 17, 2012

There is No Team in Me

The problem with staying home every day with children is that there is often no period at the end of the work week sentence. No Friday. There is nothing in place to let one know that she has reached a time of reprieve from the daily grind- a reminder to reset her clock to allow for a shift in routine, rewarding herself some free and flexible time. When you are the primary care giver of little (or big) children, you often find yourself swimming upstream in weeks that run on, spilling into each other, colliding with the weight of excess baggage from the weeks before.

For me this feeling is most pronounced when there is a sick kid at home throwing illnesses like RSV and a double ear infection into the mix of daily variables. I am fortunate to be able to stay home with The Baby when her health demands attention and her little spirit needs soothing that only her mother can give. But, during those snot dappled days, when  germs  victoriously dance around the loathsome chores piling up around me, and it seems that I will never be released from my station on the couch with the sicky, I entertain the idea of joining a workforce.  Any workforce which is outside of the home.

Illustration based on this image

As I rub circles on a little feverish back, I daydream of belonging to an ethnically and culturally diverse team, an intellectual powerhouse to which I am a tidy, productive, skilled and respected member. My imaginary boss, Bill Williams, a 30 year veteran in the field who has a remarkably thick chestnut colored mustache and a fatherly way about him-stern yet gentle, will praise me daily for completing my tasks in a timely manner with exceedingly fabulous results. I will rise to all of the challenges thrown at me because my day will be devoid of interruptions beseeching my service for “More chocolate milk!” or “More Yo Gabba Gabba!” “More Love! More Love!” Come Friday at 5:00, I will know that I deserved the free pace of the weekend because I worked diligently and accomplished so much during the work week.

My daydream bubble bursts when The Mr. returns home from his corporate job where he holds a position which he takes very seriously, but which he seldom gets the opportunity to tend to in the way he wants to because teamwork gets in the way. With his shoulders slouching from the dejection of the reality of belonging to a team, phrases like ‘micromanagement,’ ‘team building workshops’, ‘daily scrum’ 'Agile workplace' 'mentally unstable boss lady' hover around his folded body. He tells me stories of team spirit with an eerie vacant look in his eyes. There was the 6 hour mandatory sadistic conference disguised as a team building exercise where employees were instructed to skip around the conference room high fiving each other. Then there was another time when his company was  forced to get in touch with the emotional side of corporate culture and write letters of appreciation to one or more members of the team- which they had to share out loud. No one is calling out for 'More chocolate milk!' But in one of his former places of employment, the work day was punctuated randomly with the ding of a cow bell calling all workers to drop what they were doing and join the scrum master in the conference room for a spontaneous calisthenics workout- which resembled the hokey pokey.  In a 9 hour day, The Mr. manages to get two solid hours of work completed because, in an effort to raise productivity, the CEO spent millions of dollars on team spirit leadership initiatives. The Mr. climbed the corporate ladder and all he got was a lousy card table which he had to share with 8 other people. They were seated elbow to elbow- their work issued laptops and a single legal pad and pencil as their only possessions-all in the name of equality and teamwork.

After listening to The Mr.'s stories I realize that there is no team in me. I am too easily humiliated. I would not have made it past the high-fives. I don't really mind working alone and I'd rather chose daily snot over daily scrums. As for Fridays and weekends, I still get them. With four other people around to entertain and distract The Baby, my break comes in the form of being able to use the bathroom without the banging of little fists threatening to tear down the door because she's afraid that in the two minutes I've been out of sight, I've disappeared to the Ozarks. This week the kids are on February recess. So, you can bet I am going to be taking advantage of my bathroom breaks.

Happy Friday, Team!


  1. Replies
    1. I should be marking Friday with a homemade something- as Fridays typically are pressure free days- no rush to get four kids showered before bedtime, no lunches to get ready etc. But, Fridays are usually marked with homemade take out:-)

  2. Your writing is wonderful, and I can't tell you how perfectly you captured thoughts I've had myself. I've been in and out of office life in my 10 years of motherhood, and although I haven't been a SAHM again quite long enough this time around to wish myself back into commutes and "intellectually stimulating" meetings yet, I do sometimes envy the Friday sigh of relief everyone else in the house seems to feel - until I get to take an uninterrupted shower, and I feel like I'm on vacation, too.

    I'm your newest follower - found you on Studio 30 Plus!

    1. Robyn, thank you so much for following and for sharing your Friday/weekend experience with me.
      My best friend's name is Robyn (and, she spells it the same way :-) Robyns are good people:-)

  3. When my kids were little, every day at 4:00PM was HAPPY HOUR!!!!! I never could have made it without Mommy's little helper. That daily glass of vino while Dora the Explora entertained my boys helped me keep my sanity.

    1. Some days I wish so badly that I was a drinker. I think it would really solve a lot of the anxiety and stress I have faced in life. But, due to being prone to chronic migraines- I've had to cut out alcohol and chocolate. It's a lonely existence without chocolate.