Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | By: Tangy

I need a Calgon Moment

If I've learned anything so far in my almost-26-years of living, it is that life cannot be planned. It is constantly surprising you and taking twists and turns that you don't expect and taking you down unmarked paths. I never quite envisioned the journey I've had. I had a 10-year plan. I remember sitting down with Pete while we were still dating and we made out a plan. We had it all figured out. I was going to get my PharmD and we were going to wait until I graduated to get married. Then we were going to buy a house, work and travel for a couple years, then think about having kids. In this plan, I was going to become a mother for the first time at around 27 or 28 years old. We were going to have a big beautiful house in the suburbs and be very rich and very happy and have a big boat in our garage along with our luxury car and our big truck.

Then reality hit. I couldn't afford to go to school. I couldn't get the financial aid and my parents couldn't help me. I was scared of having thousands and thousands of dollars worth of student loans. I did the unthinkable--I enrolled at a community college and majored in something that had a future--nursing. Pete and I both got sick in the same month and had to miss a lot of work. We fell behind in our bills and could no longer afford to live in our apartment. We both had to move back in with our parents. Not wanting to live like this forever, we decided it would be best for Pete to enlist in the Army.

Ahhhh yes, we were going to be living the life. We were going to get stationed in some great, exotic, location, like Iceland or Germany or Hawaii. All of our problems would work themselves out and Pete would somehow dodge getting deployed during his three and a half year contract.

Of course none of that happened. We got stationed in a place no more exotic than home--Fort Hood, Texas. Surrounded by dirt. Hours away from any major cities or the ocean. Two deployments. Two babies. We can't wait til Pete gets out of the Army because nothing good has happened.

We get him out of the Army and look forward once again to the good life. Well, I'm still waiting. In hindsight, we had the good life while in the Army. Yes, there were deployments but at the time we were blindfolded by all of the negatives that we could not see the overwhelming amount of good things that had come to us. The real world doesn't have job security or great-paying jobs to people with no college education. No vacation time, no benefits. Just that cold shiver down your back wondering how you are going to make it another month. Having to decide between kids' clothes or food or bills. Living in constant stress and anxiety.

Having children was something I always wanted to do. In fact, it was part of the plan to have four. We both came from families with four siblings, and we wanted a big happy family. It wasn't going to be a problem because we were going to be rich and have a big house and be able to afford full-time help. We were going to take them on vacation and put them in the best schools and they were going to make us so happy.

Of course, we decided two was plenty. Why people willingly decide to have any more than two is just beyond me. Craziness. I never, ever wanted to stay at home with them. I am a smart woman, I have value to society. I did not belong at home. I hate cleaning and I've never really felt at ease around children. But what can a person do for work who doesn't have a bachelor's degree and who hasn't had steady work experience for the past five years because of moving five times because of the military?! AND be able to pay for daycare for two kids? Yeah, it wasn't gonna happen. So here I am, a stay-at-home mom. Not even just a stay at home mom, but a babysitter. I watch other people's kids to help support my family. I do not even get one-on-one time with my own children and I just absolutely hate that. I hate feeling jealous of people who have all this time to devote to their one child, or who are constantly on the go with their two. I am home-bound during the day and by the time 6 o'clock rolls around, I am DONE. I find myself waiting for someone to come pick up MY kids so I can finally be off of work. But nope, no such luck.

Maybe this sounds horrible to you. Just stop reading and go back to your perfect life. Maybe this sounds like your life as well, and secretly I hope I'm not alone. It's just how I feel. I am constantly fanticising about getting away. Anywhere. I keep thinking about getting a job. I apply for every single one I am qualified to do, and some that are probably out of my reach. I cannot stay home for another month. I am literally pulling my hair out. I leave chunks of it all over the house. I get angry. I yell. I get too consumed by stress and feelings of self-loathing that I cannot bring myself to do any housework, and then I get even more stressed out that I have a messy house. I have short hours of sanity immediately following my workouts but unfortunately I do not have enough time to workout every two or three hours throughout the day to keep up the endorphin high.

I think of that 10-year plan and I wonder, "where did I go wrong?" Is it my fault that I wasn't born to middle-class parents? Nah, I don't blame my parents for being poor. They worked hard to get to the point where they made just enough so I wouldn't qualify for any financial aid. Is it my fault that I live in a small economically depressed town? I suppose so. Although it is the only place I could afford to pay rent. Am I doing everything right or am I doing it all wrong?? I already realize that having kids before finishing school was not a smart decision but I don't regret having them. Are they abnormally rowdy and stubborn? Yes. Is it normal to constantly wish I could be taken away, like those Calgon commercials..."Calgon, Take Me Away!" I don't know.

I can only hope that my life is in the way more capable hands of someone else, and that everything I am going through is all for a reason. That one day I won't dread getting out of bed and living my life, that one day I will finally feel like things have worked out how they are supposed to be. It is the only thing that gives me hope. Until that day happens, I have a new 10-year plan. It isn't mapped out in chronological order and it isn't as specific or as eventful as my first list, since many of my major life changes have already occured. I don't have the same materialistic desires as I once had. I just want a simple, happy life. I want to have a career that I love, I want to be a homeowner, I want to go on a real vacation and finally see the ocean, and I want to be debt-free. I just want to feel "normal" like everyone else and not feel like my world is constantly closing in on me. I just hope it isn't too much to ask.


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