Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Girl Heads to OT & My Salary Ain't Enough to Sacrifice my Kids

Girl, her best friend, S., and PC left for Michigan early this morning. Before all of that, however, she had a Girl & GR night last night with my mom. Mom picked her up from SmallBoy's OT session, so they both got to see what he does. When LargeBoy went, he was interested, but Girl, WOW - she was FLOORED. She went into his sessions and watched as SmallBoy slid down a zipline carrying one of those gigantic exercise balls between his knees until he reached a very specific point where he was to release it. She watched as he was squished under all of the cushions and marveled at how he begged to be squished over and over. She was enthralled with his journey through J's sensory tunnel, which is 3x longer than ours, and at how he was able to turn himself around within the tunnel. She watched him balance on top of an exercise ball, using his biceps to hold himself up while kicking away a ball that was swung at him on a bungee cord. She went into the other OT room (pictured) and checked out all of the equipment, saw what he does there, asked about each piece: what SmallBoy does with it, why he uses it, can she play with it? It was so exciting. It seems that each day, and with each new exposure to the World Of SmallBoy, Girl & LargeBoy understand SO much more about him.

Today, while Girl & PC are in Michigan, SmallBoy and Princess are taking a day at the zoo with Meem. He called me at work when he got up this morning to tell me how excited he was and that (are you sitting down?) he was going to make sure he got his chore du jour done right away. If that doesn't shock you enough, the chore was scooping the dog poop from the yard so that LargeBoy can mow today. Yeah. WOW! I know he'll have a great time at the zoo. Maybe the three of us - Mom & the Boys - can have a wall-sit contest tonight!

Ok, now it's time for bitching about the job again. I have said in previous posts that the company I work for deals with children with learning disorders to help to develop the sensory cognitive functioning necessary to gain the skills needed to process and use the information they are learning. Translated, we help kids learn to decode, read, comprehend, etc. To get the maximum benefit from our program, we like our students to work the program intensively, 5days a week for a half day. As you can imagine, our peak season is the summer, therefore, it is company policy that no one takes time off during the summer, to assure that all of our students receive the maximum instruction for which they registered. Unfortunately, this means, even though I'm a manager and not an instructor, I can't take a vacation with my family. Per my divorce agreement from Ex, neither of us may take the kids out of school for vacation - which means the only available time is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break (and with kids in two different schools, Spring breaks usually don't coincide).

Are you screaming "THIS SUCKS!" as loudly as I am? Wait, it gets even MORE fun. One hears lots of tales of parents who never spend any time with their family because they're married to their job. Most often, those parents are bringing in six figure incomes. I'm not trying to justify the time away from their children, and in no way saying that money will take the place of family time. I'm trying to point out a huge disparity. My salary is not six figures. It's not even high five figures, not even middle of the road. I'm having a great deal of difficulty understanding how this company can justify paying their employees so little (ALL of their employees, including the semi-big wigs), yet asking them to sacrifice so much. We work on July 4 (for straight pay because our company deemed that July 4 is not a recognized holiday by our company)to benefit those who are trying to maximize their summer instruction (out of 30 students we usually end up with 2 on 7/4). In my office, I am the only employee with children. I am, therefore, the only employee with a child on the spectrum who doesn't always "get" why mom just can't go to the zoo with them.

Should it have surprised me, and unfortunately those fabulous people I love so dearly who live in my house, when I melted down yesterday at the fact that PC, Girl, & S. were going to Michigan today? Well, it did. And boy did I melt. Poor PC thought I was angry at him - probably because that's exactly how my words and tone of voice came out. I'm so sorry, My Love. I wasn't angry at any of them. I was heartbroken. Heartbroken because I couldn't do like PC & Largeboy and have some fun bonding time. Heartbroken because while they get to go off and do family things, I have to go to a job that pays me a ridiculously low amount of money, has cut off overtime, and expects me to not spend time with my children in the only time they have free.

I am THRILLED that PC is able to take the girls up there. I am ecstatic that we've been so lucky to have Michigan in our lives to escape to. I am overjoyed at the prospect that, perhaps, one day, my children will be bringing their children to this paradise. I know this all sounds trite and petty, but I really really really wanted some Mom/Girl time. She was gone for 2wks this summer with S., she'll be gone again next week with S (back to a different spot in Michigan), and then school starts. I'm trying to find time that we can get SmallBoy up there before it's too cold to go swimming in the lake - now that I've discovered that it's really really awesome. I'm trying to find time to take the kids up there as a FAMILY, even if it means I have to call in sick - but I can't.

Oh good grief, I am whining SO. I'll leave you be. If you have any ideas, other than find a new job, which I've been trying to do since last year, I'm more than open to suggestion. Am I being too selfish? SmallBoy keeps asking when he gets to go. They get home tomorrow night, probably 9:30 or 10:00. I didn't sleep more than an hour last night (and of course it was an intermittent hour between when they left this morning and my alarm went off). I'm going home, feeding the boys, taking a shower, and going to bed.


Lora said...

Wow that really really sucks! I wouldn't say that it is petty that you want to spend time with your family. I would say that is a very important facet of your life and I would be extremely upset too. Gosh, I hope that somehow things work out for you and I wish that I had a suggestion or better yet, a solution. Until then I wish you some kind of solace from this miserable situation that you are in at work. May you find peace and be able to spend time with your loved ones when you want to. It's too bad that you can't sing full time with the band 'cause you guys ROCK!!!!!Sending you all big big HUGS!!and lots of LOVE too :)

gretchen said...

Oh, it's just not FAIR! On a smaller scale, I am thinking about something similar today- parents are invited to have lunch with the kids at Henry's summer program next Wednesday. We also have a queer picnic/staff appreciation thing for lunch at work next Wednesday. One of those things that no one likes, but everyone is expected to attend. Do I do the thing I will enjoy, and my son will enjoy also? Or do I do the right thing for the job?

No time off in the summer is really cruel. I appreciate the reasoning behind it, and would especially if I had a child in your program, but I think it's time for someone to re-think the policy. Surely everyone could get 5 days off in the summer, requested in advance and making sure not too many were off on the same day?!

Working fulltime out of the home is so rough. I know how you feel, and I'm sorry.

mommyguilt said...

Thanks Ladies! Sometimes I feel like I whine and complain too much about it, but I suppose if I DON'T, I'll just explode. PC & the girls will be home late tonight and life should return to our funky state of normalcy once again. Even though I can't spend the time with them, I am so glad that PC is willing and able to do so! A lot of step dads aren't willing or comfortable enough with their stepchildren to spend that kind of time with them. I am so thankful that I've got a truly wonderful man for a husband and stepdad (I consider him "dad") for my children.

Kristina Chew said...

Maybe you have a future OT in your household!

That's great PC can take the girls to Michigan----any way you can have a bit of "vacation time at home" perhaps? Keep at the job search...... and, now that horrible 3-digit heat wave is over, I have to say, that candle photo was the funniest.....

mommyguilt said...

Thanks, Kristina! I nearly wet myself when I saw the candles sitting there...and it took a day after or two after we got home to discover it. I was dusting off the piano, and just started cracking up when I saw it!

I think Girl would make a great OT. She's got tons of spunk & energy, she's starting to really get a grasp on her brother and what the autistic spectrum entails, and she LOVES and adores kids. She would be perfect! Perhaps I should bring her with more often and have J work her in a little!

Katie said...

MG you are way too talented, intelligent and just an overall awesome person to put up with the s*** and you deserve more.

I wish I could find you a new job that paid you what you deserve and are most definitely worth or convince the idiots who run the company that the people who work for them are important and in order to keep talented, intelligent workers they need to give a little. For the length of time they've been in business and for what they ask of their employees, they should know better.

It is not petty at all that you want to spend time with your family. Your family is so important and your time together is so important. PC is awesome !!!

Hang in there - DJ is back so all is well !! :)

mommyguilt said...

Thanks Katie! I knew you'd understand! I'm so proud of you for fleeing like the wind, though I TOTALLY understand your teary eyes, too. I think more than anything, I'd feel bad leaving EK. I know that I can help the kids through helping to raise autism awareness, and I would continue to plug the company as the BEST place to send your child for help with what we do, so at least that way, I wouldn't feel sad, but I REALLY think I'd feel bad leaving EK.

But we'll wait and worry about that if I get a call back on the millions of resumes I've sent. In the meantime, it's smallboy time!

KR said...

OT looks like fun to me!!! Missing you and visualizing you in MI...does it help? Lots of love.