Chasing Contentment

Tuesday, September 18

First, to get the big news of the day out of the way, as Eliza and I were on our way home this evening, we were in an accident. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and everything is going to be fine with the van. And for the record, that van is cursed.

We've had three accidents in the van in the 14 months we've owned it. And in our married driving history prior to that, we had not had a single accident with any of the five vehicles we've owned. Cursed! There's this big black cloud over the van.

But it is a black cloud with a silver lining, as in two of those three accidents at least one of the kids was with me, and no one has been hurt yet. We are certainly blessed.

So, that's my excitement, and here's my insight for the week.

At work, the administration (actually some idiot management intern, but that's probably beside the point) has implemented a new system which has taken something that takes a fair amount of time from our days and made it so that it takes about three times as much time (sounds like a Dilbert strip, doesn't it?). So it's not been a good week thus far.

And everyone's upset by the changes, and the atmosphere isn't good. And this is not just the best work environment anyway. And at some point along the way, I realized that I'm probably never going to manage this job in a way that will get me promoted. I will most likely never really excel at this.

And I think that may be the point. I think the point of my being there may not be for me to be really good at my job. I think it may be for me to have a calm and gentle spirit in the process. (I'll wait a moment for those who know me well to stop laughing after the 'calm' comment.)

For the first time ever, I am the odd girl out... because I've only been married to one man, have kids who live with me, have two jobs, a house... I'm a walking model family stereotype and didn't know it. But I know people are watching me. I can feel it. I can sense it. I can hear it in the things they say to me and about me.

And it seems that, thus far, I'm coming off well. I say that not to brag because I'm really not a bragging girl but to point out that God is in this. Because these are really hard days, and I rarely feel like I'm doing very well, and yet, people are pleased with me.

And so I think that my task for the moment is to be able to maintain a joyful (or at least not pissy) attitude in the midst of this. And that feels more manageable to me than, say, having to get a good rating.

I do worry, though, that my refusal to do the extra work required to get that good rating will lead to less than kind opinions of me by my supervisor and/or team. I'm the only one in our team of six who doesn't go in early or stay late or work weekends routinely.

I hate feeling torn between doing a good job and being a good employee (which I have historially been) and doing what I need to do to be a good wife and mother. I always pick the wife/mama choice, and I don't apologize for that.

A co-worker recently asked me why I didn't just come in at 6 a few mornings a week to get those extra hours. "Eliza's daycare is open then, right?" For me, the issue isn't whether or not the daycare is open at that time of the morning. And I have no problem with families who are in positions where they don't have a choice about leaving children that early.

But I do have a choice. And my choice is for Eliza (and me!) to still be in bed asleep at 6 a.m. My choice is for her to not be penalized in any way by the demands of my job. And I'm not quite sure my co-worker understood my answer or my reasoning. But I stated my reasons, and I left it at that.

And I pray that by making these choices, by making these decisions the way I do and by explaining them simply and without apologies, people will see me choosing the priorities that are best. And I hope that will factor into who people see me to be.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, September 18, 2007  ]


Chel, I'm so sorry to hear about the accident but thankful you're both okay.... The van isn't the best, but probably because it's not a Pontiac. :) When I see people driving your make and color of van, I cringe. :)

By Blogger Aleece, at 2:46 PM  

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