Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Work vs. Life

A coworker of mine made an observation yesterday about Americans and work. She said, "You know, in Europe they have a saying: Americans live to work, while Europeans work to live." Not an hour later this same coworker was trying to guilt trip me into staying for an extra 1-2 hours to do another case.

Guess she sides with the Americans.

While in most scenarios I agree with Americans and their values, I heartily side with the Europeans on this one. I have spent 11 years in the work force, 9 of those years searching for a job that fits my specific needs. See, I have this ethical flaw...I want to spend time with my family. Unfortunately, our budget doesn't allow for me to be a stay-at-home mom. I have often said that being a stay-at-home mom would drive me crazy, that I wouldn't be as good a parent because I would be terminally stressed. I was kidding myself; creating justification for the choices I have made. I have come to the realization that stay-at-home moms find things to do. They also find other stay-at-home moms.

But I digress. The point of this rant is that I have chosen my current job primarily because I can leave it at work. I can work a normal workday (I worked night shift for 6 years...blech!). When the workday is done, I can go home. I don't have homeowork. I don't have to plan for the next day. I do not have to carry a pager and be preoccupied that it might go off and I have to drop everything and go save a life. I don't need the overtime pay, and it doesn't compensate for my time away from my family anyway.

After 10 hours away from my kids, is it wrong to be possessive of those precious 2 hours I get before they need to be in bed? My coworkers without children seem to think so...even some who HAVE children seem to think so. THEY live to work. I work to live.

I didn't fall for the guilt trip, by the way. I went home, had dinner with my kids, tucked them into bed, and got to hear both my kids tell me they love me and I am the best. $60 in overtime couldn't compensate for that, baby.

And hey, if I hadn't been home, I would have missed this:

Dinner Table Conversation 3/26/07

Plato is thinking.

Uh oh...Wait for it...wait for it...

He swallows his meatloaf and says "Mom?..."

"What's Uranus?"


Monnik said...

Plato cracks me up!

I am totally with you on this one. Tomorrow night our team is having a 'team building event' after work. This means drinks and dinner, with everyone staying until 8-9 p.m.

I declined the outing, and will catch some ribbing for not going, but so what? I never go to those things, and for good reason. #1, I don't get paid for a team builder, #2, I spend all day with these people, why would I want to spend an evening with them too? and #3, I am one of those poor suckers who has to carry a pager, so that's enough commitment to my job after-hours, thankyverymuch.

And your thoughts on rationalizing your decision to work instead of be a SAHM... I'm totally with you there too. I've heard myself tell people that I would make a bad SAHM. Truth is, I'd be AWESOME at it, but it's not an option for us. So the best I can do is stick with the job I have, which is mostly the perfect job because I can decline outings, and I can be extremely flexible.

Wow. That's quite a comment for you! I wrote a novel!

krobzoo said...

I agree too - I have said that I would go crazy being a stay-at-home mom. And I might, but I would love it. I love doing stuff with the kids, crafts, reading, playing at the park.
Work sucks, an 8 hour day is really 10+ hours with a lunch break (and I rarely take it) and drive time!
Of course, I am working from home today with a sick kid - so that is nice that they are flexible (Katie has strep - 3rd time since Christmas!!)

Monnik said...

I'm looking forward to Saturday, ladies! G$, are we doing anything for your sis since her bday is Sunday?

At least I think it's Sunday... Unless my memory has completely gone to pieces.

Mom In Scrubs said...

I can't WAIT for Saturday...I so need a night out!

We should do something for Tiff's birthday (besides get her really drunk). I'll have to think about that one. And no, Monnik, your memory is NOT going to pieces.=)