Tuesday, February 17, 2009

M&Ms Do Not Ultimately Make You Feel Less Anxious About Anything

Help! I can't stop eating peanut butter M&Ms. No, I mean it. CANNOT STOP EATING THEM. Seriously, have you ever tried to eat them and then stop? Impossible. Hey, did you know that if you eat enough peanut butter M&Ms, you can magically re-gain the four pounds you lost from giving up evening snacking? Hmmm.

Kittens, I'm an anxious little bundle these days. (I just started reading a new blog, Already Pretty, and the oh-so-fabulous Sally McGraw says "kittens" like that sometimes. So, you know, I'm stealing it today.) Why am I such a ball of nerves? I don't know. The economy. The fact that more than 50% of my retirement account disappeared into thin air in 2008. My bay-beee (as another fave blogger, Susan Wagner, would say) going off to big old kindergarten in mere months. Tax season, which reminds me that I still owe nearly $35,000 on a graduate education I'M NOT EVEN USING ANYMORE, which I will be paying off until I'm SIXTY YEARS OLD (because that's how long it takes when you've got so little income that you need your monthly payment to be as small as possible). Do you know what sixty years old is? Almost retirement. Retirement from a career I'm no longer doing. But will still be paying for.

Is your heartbeat becoming irregular yet? Or is that just me?

Is that enough to explain my chronic nerves? (I feel like I belong in a different era, one in which women suffered attacks of nerves and needed things like vapors.) What about the volunteering, and the decision to delay my other bay-beeee's entrance into nursery school, and the second-guessing that decision, and the endless back-and-forthing of Do I or don't I send Vivi to preschool in the fall? and the What if I regret it and want to put her in at the last minute next August and there aren't any spots open? and the But we need the money and if we skip preschool this year we'll save a thousand dollars and the stories about friends losing jobs and homes and coming down with (though beating! hurrah!) cancer and.... Did I mention the economy?

Sometimes I think I have too much going on, and that if next year I just quit absolutely everything else I do or try to do--abstain from all volunteering (forget it, new kindergarten! I have LEARNED MY LESSON) and just stop all frantic attempts to find freelance work and give up completely the evening writing and the submitting and the hustling for any kind of writing gig that will pay, take a break from all of it and just be a mom, that maybe then my nurse practitioner wouldn't need to monitor my blood pressure and pulse rate and give me funny looks when I tell her about my hair falling out in giant clumps. But then I remember how it is very, very difficult to support four people on one modest salary these days and Good Lord above, would it kill someone to pay me fifty dollars to write something for them? So I could use it to order my contact lenses and pay for toddler gymnastics class?

THANK GOODNESS my dear friend Mnmom is launching a new blog, The Endurance Diva, which is going to be all about how to hold it together when the stresses of real life threaten to shake up your heartbeat and raise your blood pressure. I'm hoping to find out how to stop stressing about preschool, my student loan debt, and the fact that no one is paying me to be a mom, despite serious financial need and a damn good job performance.

Stay strong, kittens.


Christopher Tassava said...

You know better than I do that I don't subscribe to that "god will provide" B.S., but something similar to that is getting me through this giant mess everyone's in. We are a good family, I have a good job, everybody is healthy and happy, we can meet all our needs on my salary, and things will get better. I can't make myself worry about it, because that way is the path to madness.

Endurance Diva said...

Thanks for the shout out! Go read my latest installment. now. go.

Elise said...

"I'm hoping to find out how to stop stressing about preschool, my student loan debt, and the fact that no one is paying me to be a mom, despite serious financial need and a damn good job performance."

Lord, if you learn the secret, let me know. I mean, except for Zoloft. I already know that one. :-) But I hear you on the stress. I'd rather have the option to just ("Just." HA!) be a mom next year, what with the extra kid and all, but then there would be no money for preschool, and then I might actually lose my mind. So I'm picking up some courses. Of course, I kind of still plan on using my graduate degrees, so at least I can think of it as more than a mere money making endeavor. But I'd still prefer to be paid for the mom gig.

Maybe you could cut out ONE of those stressors? Like, either take a break from the freelance hustling OR the volunteering. Every little bit helps!

Question said...

Mouse (Hamster, Dog, Ocelot, insert animal here), I'm with you. My stress comes from different places, but I'm feelin' it.

I'm the one coordinating this whole move thing - along with the painters, electrician, repairmen - including finding an apartment for J, negotiating with the Realtor, blah, blah, blah.

And then I got my 401K statement from a job I had before I got married. This was my first "big" job. I ran a large department. I made real money. I managed to leave that job with $60,000 in an account. Now it is $29,000. :(

I know the stress isn't good for me. I have to take care of myself right now so I'm doing what I did in grad school. I only focus on the present and the immediate future. No worrying about whether or not the house sells. No worrying about the actual move. Just get J to Chicago and get the house on the market. That's it. Nothing more. It generally helps. Sometimes I have to focus only on one hour at a time. Like, what am I going to do today between 1 and 2?

And it it makes you feel any better, if I ran the world, I'd pay you to be a mom.

Tricia said...

I can beat ALL your stresses...student loans at more than $60K (actually it might be $70K now because it's on deferment), credit card debt (not from frivolous spending, but simply having to pay for expenses like car insurance, my stupid moves to MN and back to PA, etc.) at more than $20K. Although single and childless, self-employed and lucky if I make $700 per week. No retirement because I drained it years ago when I decided I couldn't work for "the Man" anymore. And to add to it all...being 38 and wishing I had a mate. SO...my point is you are NOT alone. You are not in the worst situation. You are simply living life. I panic A LOT these days and wonder what the hell I'm doing, but can't imagine doing anything else. [Insert tired, yet true cliches here:] It's only money. When you die, you can't take it with you. You will not be on your deathbed wishing you worked more hours. Your self-worth and significance in this life is not based on how much you make, how much debt you have or don't have, or what you do for a living. If nothing else, this current economic situation should teach us all what really matters...which in my humble opinion is living the life you truly want to live regardless of finances, prestige, or what other people think. And besides, worry has NEVER helped a situation. It only makes you miserable. So go ahead, eat cake...er, peanut M&Ms.

Shan said...

Tricia's and Question's comments are invaluable, b/c they remind me I'm not alone in my stress and anxiety! And Trish, I so appreciate your reminders about what really matters in life, something that can be tough to remember when facing yet another bill (and not enough paycheck). Thanks everyone! It's comforting to know many of us are in the same boat these days.

Mom and Kiddo said...

I totally know about the preschool $$ issue. They are so incredibly expensive in the city and I can't possibly justify going into debt for preschool even though it has been really hard having NO BREAK WHATSOVEVER for 4 years. And now I stress because if my son does not get a spot in the pubic pre-K (which is not guaranteed) I will DIE.

donna said...

No matter our choices, I think we all question them at one time or another. When you have panic attacks from feeling like you don't have enough money, just remember that a big reason you made the decision to stay at home (and be frugal) is because you don't feel being a working mother works for you right now.