Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Self-indulgent whining, or figuring out the meaning of life

I think I've caught the dissatisfaction bug going around my little blog world. Today should have been a good day. I had a day off. It was Mr. Geeky's birthday. We had the talent show rehearsal. But right after I posted this morning, it all went wrong.

On Wednesday mornings, Mr. Geeky has an 8:00 meeting. Because we're down to one car, logistically it makes sense for him to take Geeky Girl to the meeting with him and then drop her off on his way to pick me up. She can't be dropped off before 8:40. We don't feel comfortable leaving Geeky Boy to fend for himself for almost 45 minutes before his bus arrives, so I stay home and see him off. (See Dr. B's post about this very problem) This morning, however, he missed the bus. Any other morning, this wouldn't be a huge deal. One of us would simply hop in the car and take him to school. But today, with the logistical nightmare we're dealing with, it's 9:30 before we can take him over. And then, of course, it's all my fault. Which pissed me off.

So, now I'm in a bad mood which tends to highlight the things I'm already dissatisfied about. By all accounts, I should be completely ecstatic. I have a good-paying job with good benefits and flexible-enough work hours that I can leave early when I need to and take plenty of sick days, personal days and vacation time. I have meaningful, interesting work. I enjoy the company of the people I work with. I'm given pretty much free reign to do whatever I want. And yet . . . there's still a nagging dissatisfaction at times.

What I decided was that I wanted things to be easier, that I was really tired of fighting for stuff that is just nit-picky. Often, for political reasons, I am required to get feedback or input from people I know will kill an idea. It is just like the Dilbert strip sometimes I swear. And though I understand local politics and I know another place is going to have its own set of politics, the Lilliputians have got me tied up and I find it frustrating.

Let me give you an example. Blackboard. The decision to choose Blackboard as our course management system happened before I got there. I don't really like it. It is a pedagogically unsound tool in a lot of ways. I think there are lots of faculty out there who are using it quite well and really pushing its limits. But I am not going to be a cheerleader for Blackboard even though I am often encouraged to do so. If I worked for Blackboard, then yes, I'd cheerlead all day and night, but I don't. My job is to assist faculty in using technology and to continue to research and make recommendations about technology that most fits a faculty member's pedagogical goals, not to promote Blackboard just because we spent a lot of money on it.

So I have to go to work and fight all those little battles. Every. Single. Day. Then I get home and there's dinner to make and kids to bathe and bills to pay and I want to read something and maybe write something and maybe just freaking relax already. So I want my home life to be simpler too. I don't want to worry about paying bills or making dinner. It's not that I want someone else to do it. I just don't want to feel like it's one more thing I have to do. That's when I think about staying home. If it were my job to do all of those things or if I did all of those things after I'd been, say, writing all day instead of fighting battles, then maybe I would have a better attitude about it.

Like everyone else out there, I'm thinking, "Why, why am I so anxious about all of this? Why the hell do I do this to myself?" Thing is, if I did quit my job and stay home, money would be tight. In a couple of years, this might be more feasible financially, but right now, my income is necessary. I'd like to find a way to make the home life simpler. I'd like to not be the frazzled mom who turns in forms late and forgets to sign the homework folder and forgets when the hockey games are. Right now, I don't know how to do that. I've tried a lot of things--schedules, notes, e-mails to myself. Nothing has worked completely. I gotta do something though because right now I see no way out and I don't like these ups and downs I'm going through.