As I sit here in my quiet windowless office at the very end of the hallway, I can’t help but feel conflicted. My previous job, as a case manager for a child welfare agency, was the hardest job known to man….literally. Being responsible for every aspect of a child’s life is beyond overwhelming and when you multiply that by the 33 children I had….well…there are no words. I had no time for my family, no time to eat, no time to sleep without my work phone literally in my hand every night, no time for my kids….nothing! Having to leave in the morning before your child wakes up and coming home after they are in bed is the epitome of a nightmare. Technically I have missed days of my kids’ life because of that job and the false promises that one day mommy will get a better job and this will all be over. It doesn’t exactly make me mother of the year. And not to mention the pay sucked. Half the time I felt jealous of sweat shop workers, it felt like even they had it better than a case manager. The life of a case manager is beyond hard, but the emotional turmoil is just as bad….all you think about, when you do have a chance to think, is how wonderful life will be when you get out of this job. You then go home and you tell your family not to worry because you are so close to quitting. Then you go to work the next day and tell your co-workers that today is the day, your just going to do it, your going to put in your 2 weeks and figure the rest out later because you just can’t take it anymore! Then the phone rings, you get 18 more emails all of a sudden regarding some emergency that you just have to fix right this second; your boss comes in and starts talking to you and asking you “How much longer until you finish the Judicial Review? When are you going to get little Johnny’s medical records and submit them to court? And by the way your late for court so hurry up!”….Ahhhh!! Obviously there isn’t even time to finish your original thought about wanting to quit. I mean these kids need help right? And if not you then who…? That is the basis of this job.
Well, it did get too much for me and after 3 years a new job fell in my lap. I submitted my resume and figured I would just go for it….more money, supposedly less stress, and no involvement with child welfare, however I still get to work with children. So what do you know I got the job! Totally nailed the interview and I was good to go….It was definitely bittersweet as I had to leave the first real social work job that I had right after graduating. This job taught me everything and then some and I couldn’t believe I was about to say goodbye. I told my family and it seemed as if was Christmas in my house that day! They were so incredibly thrilled because they knew this meant no more going to bed without mommy, no more work phone attached to mommy’s ear until 11pm, no more mommy having to go to the office every other Saturday or Sunday because there is just too much work to do…..none of that. The pay was more and the hours were actually normal full time 40 hour work weeks with waayyyy less stress. My new position would be that of a developmental consultant….oooh fancy.
Those last 2 weeks at work went faster than I could have imagined and before I knew it I was loading the last 3 years of being a case manager into a box and bringing it to my car. I said goodbye to everyone I could and left that parking lot with a huge sumo wrestler size weight being lifted off my shoulders. I shed a tear or 2 as I drove home and of course for the first time in forever all I could think about was poor little Johnny, who is going to feel lost without me, and being in court and feeling so good because I totally rocked that case I was working on, and the family that hugged me because they felt like they never would have gotten their kid back without me…..what the hell is going on! Where is all the negativity, and haste, and complete relief that I am never again a case manager?? Maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side….
So now I sit here in my windowless office, which by the way I have all to myself. I definitely didn’t have this as a case manager sharing an office with 4 other people…I didn’t have a window either so I really don’t care about that. The people here are so friendly and so accommodating and the work actually seems manageable! People aren’t cussing up and down the hallways, yelling on their phones, slamming doors, and literally running out of their offices because they are late for court or anything….it’s calm and peaceful and I’m about to fall asleep, if I don’t get some work to do! I knew the transition from case management to this would be rough, but my goodness this is nuts! I have never been on Pinterest and Amazon so much in one day, EVER.
I guess what keeps me going is that I know that at 5pm…or somewhere close to that….I get to go home to my kids who greet me everyday with so much joy because they couldn’t be more ecstatic that I am home and the sun is still out. I have actually been able to make dinner every night and put my kids to bed, which is a great feeling. Not too mention the pay is slightly more so that helps too 😉 I guess when I sit here all alone with so much quiet that I can hear the heart beat of my co-worker across the hall; I start to realize that I miss being in a job where I knew everything and felt comfortable with the chaos. It’s like going from fighting a war to watching paint dry. I am sure things will get better over time once I get a little busier with cases and for now I will do my best to be content with the blessing I was given, because the happiness of my family is worth watching paint dry.
Jackie- The Hot Mess Mom
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