As I write this, I am working on a Saturday morning, or rather, waiting for someone else to do his job so that I can finish working. We have on-call rotations at work and this is my week. It used to not be a big deal. It was usually a matter of logging in, working for 15 – 30 minutes, and logging off. You maybe got five calls during the whole week. Now, it is a nightmare. We all dread it. Just because of the organization of the company, being on-call has become a thing that we all hate. I think the company should start giving a week’s worth of valium to each person as she rolls into on-call.
Surprisingly, Ben is the one who got the 4 AM wakeup call this morning. He’s not on-call; he’s backup on-call. For his company and his team, that really means that he’s on-call. So, he got up this morning and went into the office at home to work. Needless to say, he wanted to sleep in more than me this morning.
Oh, and the kids. They’re not on-call, but they are busy little buggers. Dora is in cheer. Lego is in basketball. Minecraft is in football. Normally, I’d be excited about this, but since they live so far away, our weekends have been eaten up with driving them to all of their games. Let me remind you that they live over an hour away from us. So, some of the games they have at other school are even further than that. Today, we have a football game from 2 PM – 4 PM and then we have a basketball game at 5 PM. So, we’ll be spending the entire day driving out to Nowheresville, shuttling 3 kids between two games. Then we have to drive exhausted and sweaty kids back home. We also need to make sure they do homework at some point this weekend.
Ben and I are also on-call during all of this. *STRESS*
Also, per the divorce papers, the kids’ mom can decide that she doesn’t want to take them to games or practices if, for example, she decides to plan one of the kid’s birthday parties at the same time. We do not have that choice. Per the papers, we have to take the kids to every practice and game, even if the kid is so sick that he can barely stand. This was decided after Ben tried to appeal a few times. This is what the courts think is best for the kids, I guess.
It’s really difficult to make any plans when you have no idea what will be going on. They changed the times of Minecraft’s game at least five times in the past two weeks. Lego knows he has a game today, but had no idea what time it was or where it was. Once again, since we’re not the primary caregivers and we live so far away, it’s harder for us to stay in the loop on the kids’ schedules. We end up being the annoying parents who text coaches constantly to verify the information. Then, we have to bring phones and laptops to the games in case we get calls. Lately, because of the weather in North Texas, we also have to deal with whatever last minute crazy weather is thrown at us. The other day, we had to flee from a pending tornado, and thankfully missed the tornado that we were driving towards.
I wish we could just take the kids up the street to the local schools and enjoy a weekend in our neighborhood with the kids. I wish that most of our time with the kids wasn’t spent driving. I wish that I didn’t have to hear comments from the kids like, “Oh, you’re working again? You’re always working.” If I did hear comments like that, it’d be nice if I actually had a comeback like, “Well, if you want to live in this big house and wear designer clothes and have your stepmom be one of the only female CEOs in the tech industry, then I’m going to have to continue to work and I wish you would be more patient and understanding with me.” No, no. I have to say, “Yes, I’m sorry, and by the way, we can’t afford to do anything else since all of this driving is eating up money on fuel. So, I’m sorry that I have to work again and your dad and I still can’t afford to get you a new desk that won’t collapse on you or new clothes to keep up with your growth spurts.” It makes you feel like a terrible parent, a bad person, and a horrible employee all in one go. Ben and I both feel completely hopeless in so many regards when it comes to the kids.
Still, I’m glad the kids have found activities that they enjoy, even if I wonder how much they enjoy them with some of the lack of interest they show the day of the games. I’m glad that I do have a job that allows me to drive across the state to go to the kids’ games. I’m glad that I don’t have to drive into work if I get a call, which is what my dad always had to do when I was a kid. I’m grateful for any time I do get with the kids. Not having much say over how we spend time with the kids makes me grateful for any bit of freedom we do get. I’m thankful that Ben understands my work situation and doesn’t make me feel any more guilty any time I have to choose work over the kids. We just have to take what we can get sometimes.