In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Where is my life taking me?

I am thinking seriously about changing jobs...I am thinking that I might want to get out of the childcare field. Not because I don't like children or because I don't like my job running the daycare at the school. I feel like I don't have enough to give anyone and I don't want to do a less than ideal job. I think part of my burning out right now might have something to do with needing a change.

For most of my adult life I have done daycare. The first nineteen years were spent running a daycare out of my home which enabled me to stay at home with my children. I went through a divorce and lost my home in the process. At that time I was needing a change so for the first time I got a job working outside the home.

I worked at a group home taking care of low functioning non verbal children. Then they moved me up to a lead position in running a group home for high functioning young adults. Plus I worked with clients that lived on their own. I loved it! There were more opportunities for me to move up and they were going to pay for me to take more schooling in order to do this. I loved my job and I was in it for the long haul. I thought I had found my calling...until I got brutally attacked by one of my clients.

I have a skull,neck and partial brain injury because of this attack. I also got post traumatic stress disorder which was just as bad as the others, if not worse to deal with. I spent 2 years having surgeries, getting intense therapy, and being on very strong narcotics for the pain. During this time, I did not leave my home out of fear, unless I had to go for medical care. After 2 years of this, I went into the hospital for 5 weeks for a pain program which took me off all the medications the various doctors had me on. I was told that I was on enough pain medication for a 300 lb man and I was 115 lbs! I was very glad to get off all that in spite of still being in pain. I was taught pain management while I was there and basically they helped me to accept that I will be in pain for the rest of my life. I am in pain 24/7...some days are worse than others...some days are pure hell and in weak moments I want drugs to take this pain away but deep down I know I can't live like that ever again.

After my hospital stay I was okayed by the doctors to work 20 hours a more than 5 hours at a time and with some pretty high restrictions. Try to find a job under all that and it felt impossible. I did find one...running the daycare at an alternative high school and I have now worked there for 4 years. I mainly care for the children of young moms but we also have classes for adults wanting to get their diploma and an English second language class so I care for those children as well. They also allow me to bring my 2 little people with me to work. Although the pay is significantly lower than my other job, I have been just thankful to have a job. I have loved this job in the sense that I love it's purpose. I have a passion for young people...young moms, kids in trouble...most likely because I was one of those kids at one time.

I love my moms like they are my daughters...for some of these girls I am the only "mom" in their lives that they can talk to or depend is my passion to see them graduate and go to college and make a life for themselves and their little ones. My goal is for them to believe in themselves just as I believe in them. I love the little ones like they are my grandchildren...sadly for some of these little ones, I am the only grandma in their lives. I get to witness a lot of success stories but there are many sad stories too and these are the ones that break my heart. Sometimes I have to report these moms to social services because no matter what we are trying to do for them at our school, some of these moms just don't get "it" and their children suffer because of it. I cannot stand for even one child to suffer so sometimes I have to use tough love.

This is my dilemma...even though I am working in the area of my passion for young people, I am starting to not like it in the sense that I am drained...I feel like I don't have anything to give to all these needy young moms and their very needy children. But, the thing is I can't just quit because in order for me to be compensated by worker compensation I have to be working the 20 hours and under the restrictions I have from the doctors. I live in rural Minnesota so the job market is not overflowing with jobs that fit under all that. I am awaiting approval to go to another pain management program and then my case worker says we will go from there once I have completed that. I do have a lawyer but have been told that it takes a long time for everything to be settled and done with the workers compensation company.

My heart is torn between my wanting to do something I am passionate about, not wanting to let anyone down even though I know someone else could do my job just as well, being exhausted and not knowing what I could possibly do for work if I am not doing daycare and of what my future holds. I also don't think it's fair to those I work with if I am not able to give in the way they deserve. I would love some outside suggestions. I know that my thoughts and feelings are filtered through the lens of pain right now but also through my fears. This is exhausting for me...writing it all out does help but really all I want is to figure this all out...I just want to know where my life is going next?


SciFi Dad said...

Honestly, it sounds like you have a lot of restrictions (geography, limited hours, kids to watch) and finding something else that meets all those needs will be a challenge.

The only one you can easily remedy is to place your little ones in some other care besides your own. Would that be economically feasible for you at the present time?

If so, perhaps you have a hobby or an interest that you could parlay into a job? For example, my FIL is retired, but wants part time work to keep busy. He's reasonably handy around the house, so we suggested PT work at the local Home Depot. He'd get to talk to other people, give advice, etc. (Note I'm not suggesting you work at HD, but if you're into crafts, you could try Michael's or something.)

I don't really know what else to suggest.

Bina said...

Oh honey. What happened to you is just awful. I am so sorry about that. But you made great decisions in your life and you should be so proud of yourself for that.

Is it possible to just take a break? Maybe take a month's leave and THEN see how you feel about it? You are drained because you have been giving your entire life. Now your little man is gone from you so you are depressed as well. You went from what, 6 or 7 people in the house and now there is 4? That is such a dramatic change is a person's life, because although he was your grandson, he was your baby. I'm sure you loved as much as if you gave birth to him yourself.

My job has no satisfcation to me, but I get paid some darn good money so I guess maybe there IS some satisfaction. But now I feel trapped. I could never make this much money doing anything else, and this time in my life (with my husband paying about $2000 a month to his ex), I can't afford not to work here. So basically, I'm saying I am no help to you at all aside from the taking a leave of absense thing. Is that possible at all?

Kristen Andrews said...

working w/ kiddos is really hard, can you believe my Mom has been running a childcare program at a school for over 20 years! She does have the summers off though. She gets burned out but I just don't see her quiting any time soon. Take a vacation and try to recharge!

Meg said...

After your sweet comment on my blog, I had to come check you out! You have a wonderful way with words and you have such honest emotion. I could feel your conflict and I'm so sorry that you're experiencing this right now. I commend you for being there for so many other people, but at some point you have to take care of your own needs! I know it's limited, but I wish you the best of luck! My sister has done childcare for 13 years and I can see how fast it can wear on someone. Don't feel guilty for wanting out.

I'll definitely be coming back to visit!

Sugar said...

Oh my... I am so touched that you shared this... all the pain and fear came out very clearly. You have done an excellent job of conveying your reality to us as readers. And I am just so sorry that you were attacked. It must have been all the more painful coming from someone you were trying to help. I am so sorry.

I was a teen mom. I had my first child at 18, which is an adult, but still relatively stupid. I graduated high school, but my path after that was a lot trickier than it should have been. I had more support than the young moms you talk about, but I was still emotionally off course. But I knew well enough to do my best. Sounds like some of the moms you work with don't care enough and may only be going through the motions. Because of my past, I tried to help other young moms out, too. It's sometimes rewarding... other times just frustrating. I finally just started focusing on moms that cared enough to seek me out. I have a mom that I've been assigned to at church. I keep in touch with her but she's sort of non-responsive right now. If she comes around, great. If not, I can't do anything more...

I wish I had an answer for you, but that would be pretty arrogant of me. Those answers only comes to the one asking the questions through time, prayer, and meditation. The only thing I can think of is going in the direction of a "hobby" that you might have used to destress.