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The un-Christ-mas program is over. The only detail worthy of mention was that this year's theme was "wild wild west".

There is an intra-company job transfer available that would involve a long commute, a scramble for extra child care, and the necessity of a better vehicle. I have to apply for it by tomorrow. It would mean considerably more income for the family.

Every day I get all the kids dressed, fed, and off to their various schools. I feed the animals, wash dishes and clothes every morning before going to work full time. I race from work to various sites to pick up kids before going home to cook supper and get ready for my night class. I make sure everyone gets to job interviews, job sites, music lessons, parties, and after school activities. I oversee homework and make sure it gets into the proper folders. I do the teacher conferences. I pay all the bills, do almost all of the shopping, and all of the yard work. I maintain my vehicle(s), and often have to switch vehicles in mid-dash due to break downs. I work at my job days, nights, weekends, and holidays -- that's the paid job. My days off are spent cleaning house and running elderly people and kids to appointments and volunteering in the community and the school. I make sure the kids get to church regularly.

Tonight I took the kids to the program alone because their father decided not to go and with no consideration for helping me with it.

Would it be selfish of me to skip the job transfer and quit my paying job? I can't see where commuting several hours a week is going to fit into my schedule. And Mike Mule doesn't do dishes.

Gotta decide by tomorrow afternoon.

-- helen (totally@wiped.out), December 18, 2001



What choice would make YOU the happiest?

-- Stephen M. Poole (, December 18, 2001.

Dearest Helen,

Make a pros and cons list of the present job, and the proposed one. See what fits the best for your lifestyle. Money is not always the easy answer. Only you can decide! Best wishes on your decision making and let us know the outcome, won't you?

-- Aunt Bee (, December 18, 2001.

Got one word for you.


-- Dr. Laura (now go do @ the. right thing), December 18, 2001.

You know the answer, you just aren't listening to yourself hard enough. Let us know your choice.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, December 18, 2001.

The kids. After them everything would be a poor second to you but the paycheck figures into all that. Every confidence in your choices.

BTW the next get together MUST include you. Got room?

-- Carlos (, December 19, 2001.

Helen, It would be the rational and healthy thing if you skipped the job transfer and quit the paying job.

You have enough unpaid jobs to justify this choice.

Or you could quit the unpaid jobs and just do the paid one. If financial rewards are more important than the satisfaction of doing what is important and needed and you can live with yourself for putting money ahead of people you know need your help.

Seriously, if you feel the "unpaid" care you provide gives you more satisfaction and feels right to you than the drag of transportation and work, I suggest you do what you feel is right for you. Don't worry what others think about your choice, you have to live with your self and that is what matters in the long run. What others think abut your choice is none of their business, they don't have t live your life.

-- Cherri (, December 19, 2001.

Not at all Helen, Fuck It.

-- capnfun (, December 19, 2001.


Sounds to me like the 'kid's father' needs to start helping out a LOT MORE. You're going to have an emotional/physical breakdown at some point if you don't slow down a little and take care of YOUR needs too.

-- Pammy (, December 19, 2001.

Helen, as was already pointed out, this is something only you can decide -- as much as I'd love to help you. It's very complicated and only you have the full context -- including your desires, hopes and dreams.

It's very disheartening to me, though, that just from this post, the father (your husband, I assume?) seems to play almost no role in anything.

-- Eve (, December 19, 2001.

Hey Helen. Sheesh it sounds like you need a break.

I could have taken a better paying (this part is debatable) job in management, where I could work sometimes six days a week, 10-12 hour days, and be more stressed out. Gee let me think....NOT!

I too am busy mom, but I have to make a little time for myself. Sounds like you should too. **hugz**

-- (cin@cin.cin), December 19, 2001.

I love you, helen. Take care.

-- Little Nipper (, December 19, 2001.


No offense, but it sounds like you need to boot that SO of yours in the butt a little, and remove his ass root from the couch...

my .02

Draggin' a stone around the yard...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, December 19, 2001.

You're missing something here. Helen has kids who are old enough for music lessons and after school activities (therefore, old enough to DO CHORES!). Helen has a husband. According to Helen, she is the ONLY one cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing clothes, doing the yardwork, feeding the animals, maintaining the vehicles, paying the bills, chauffeuring the kids, etc. etc. etc. Can you say codependant enabler? A divorce won't fix this. A job change won't fix this.

It's no different than a woman who stays for decades with a man who beats her. Yes, the man is a jerk!! But, why did the woman marry him, and why does she stay? Sounds like Helen is training her kids to be lazy bums, too. Why does she CHOOSE to work herself to death at a fulltime job, be the ONLY caretaker for kids and a husband who might as well be disabled, and in her spare time volunteer to transport the elderly? This is sad. Helen needs help she isn't going to find from people on the internet.

-- Well, you asked... (, December 19, 2001.

You asked: It seems that everyone has different opinions on child- rearing, etc. Personally, I agree with YOU, but that doesn't mean that Helen's philosophy is any better than mine. I've watched SO's brother's kids lay around the house all day at age 25, springing to life when it's time to go "partying" at night. I couldn't have handled that.

I worked full-time while raising my kids. They started doing chores at age 2 or 3. I'd fill the kitchen sink with soapy water and they'd all watch their dishes after each meal and place them in the rack to dry. If they were too lazy, it wasn't my concern. They each got only one plate, glass, fork, etc., so if THEY wanted to eat the next meal off a scummy plate, that wasn't MY problem. They alternated doing the cooking dishes each day. Yeah, sometimes they broke dishes, but my theory was that I wasn't raising children...I was raising grown-ups.

They were all taught to use the washer and dryer around the age of six or eight. They dressed themselves from the time they were maybe 3 or 4. Big buttons on clothing, velcro, etc. helped a LOT in this endeavor. They cleaned their own rooms [which was VERY humorous, in that I'd see used tissues lined up neatly on dressers, etc.] I won't say that military discipline was used. It wasn't. I was very lenient about the whole thing, but made it clear that they were a part of the household and everyone needed to chip in. We had [and still have] a "shoes off at the door" rule to keep the floors clean of outside dirt. Everyone shared in the dusting, vacuuming, cooking, etc. My ex handled care of the vehicles, cleaning the gutters, and general house maintenance. He also cooked when his turn came, did his own laundry, etc. This "sharing of the chores" gave us all time to attend to the homework, tutoring in subjects that required it, with plenty of time left over just to have fun together and attend the music lessons, gymnastics, scouts, etc.

-- Anita (, December 19, 2001.

Um...make that WASH the dishes. The occasions were rare when they WATCHED the dishes.

-- Anita (, December 19, 2001.

So do you convince a 17 year old to get a job and do his own laundry? No I'm serious, cause I have no clue. Amazing how they will wear clothes until they positively REAK rather than wash something. Gross

-- (cin@cin.cin), December 19, 2001.

Ah, Cin...the teen years. The job thing only requires NOT giving him ANY money for what he wants to do. The clothes thing is none of your concern. He'll find out quickly enough that if he smells bad folks will avoid him. Just let the natural consequences run their course, and NEVER, EVER, feel that other people are judging YOU based on the "condition" of your son. I felt really guilty about #1 dressing herself for preschool because she chose the same dress EVERY day. It was comfortable, easy to get in and out of, etc. I talked to the preschool teacher about my guilt and she said, "Don't even think about feeling guilty about that."

-- Anita (, December 19, 2001.

Appreciate all the input.

About the kids helping, they do. We wait for the bus every morning before dawn and they get off the bus after dark. They're exhausted too. They have homework every night.

I was raised to do heavy labor every weekend and holiday on the farm. You know what I got? A bad back. I'm not interested in teaching the kids to be farm workers, so the music lessons. They are willing little helpers when I ask.

(You guys are free therapists, so drag up a couch...)

Hubby could do more, but he's usually fixing broken equipment on his time off. He's the main bread winner, so I don't have him do as much as he could. I think there's some testosterone-based impairment rendering him unable to recognize laundry in need of folding. He's a guy, but a nice guy. And he's tired too.

Divorce is the easy option on the surface, but not with kids involved. They like having both of us around, and most of the time we get along. And then my schedule would get even more hectic trying to make visitation and custody arrangements. And I'd have to commute to make all the extra child support necessary to keep separate households. :)

Income is a real problem in rural areas. You trade the quiet and the clean air for breaking down at midnight on a back road with no cell phone tower within reach, if you can afford a cell phone. The only way the kids can have music or camp is if I work too, so that isn't really a problem.

I think what's bugging me is always being on the edge of disaster ... not just financial disaster either. If I have a flat tire, the kids could be left in the middle of nowhere in winter. Almost every minute is scheduled with their individual schedules meshing, and my schedule is built around all of theirs.

There isn't actually a helen with a separate life, other than class. That's my "real life" peer group and only individual outlet, and maybe it will lead to a better paying job.

We're going to have to move to a large city. That's the pink elephant we mention once in a while but never look at closely. I thought the commute might preserve the clean air for the kids a little longer, but realistically I can't do it. So I told them no today. I don't know what will happen to the mule. I think I can find a petting zoo that will take him, but it won't be for several months at least. Long enough for his hair to grow back in again.

This morning I asked the little ones to remember when they are ninety that they waited for a school bus in the middle of nowhere with their momma, all of us wrapped in one blanket, and watched the sun rising over the fog coming off the river. If we have to, we could take the blanket to the city with us and watch the city lights too.

Thanks for listening.

-- helen (lost@in.nowhere), December 19, 2001.


We're going to have to move to a large city.

The times they are a'changing.

Twenty-seven years ago, I took the job here because I could live in a rural area. I gave up the bay area and Cambridge; both of which would have been better on a professional level. I have had 27 good years. I still can't see another house. You need at least 10 acres to build. I am in the middle of 30, surrounded by heavy forest. I have a very large pond. I have oak trees that were here before Columbus and cedar trees that were here before Christ. It is a Civil War battle site. When you plow, you dig up things. Tends to humble you.

I am sure that will change. The city is coming to me. The new interstate bypass will be within a mile from me. I'm sure that the zoning will change. But that is 10 y away. By then, I probably won't know what is going on anyway. ;o))))

Have a good Christmas.

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, December 19, 2001.

Anita gave the best possible advice to cin. Takes a tough mom to stick with that stuff. Maternal instincts lean backwards after the kid hits the emancipation age of choice. Normal. What isn't normal is that a kid's natural maturity doesn't have squat to do with societal maturity and moms that pay attention know the difference.

-- Carlos (, December 20, 2001.

Z, I would love to see trees that old. They say the oak trees around here may be much older than anyone thought, because they grow slowly on poor ground. When a bypass was built about a mile from my folks' place, we could hear the traffic. Perhaps your trees will muffle the sound.

Sorry about the personal whine, folks. What we were doing was boiling a frog, only I had to put it into words to see it. All that's the matter is that I'm doing everything I did before I went back to work and it's not feasible. The job assignment list goes up tonight.

We've decided to get rid of all but three goats tomorrow, give ourselves another six months here while finishing school, and look at relocation (economy, war, level of pay) later. The mule was unusually polite this morning. :)

-- helen returns to normal silliness (, December 20, 2001.

Oh helen, I wish I could take Mike for you. He would be loved and spoiled rotten around me.

My dream is to some day have a bit of land where I can take in all kind of God's creatures, and give them love and safety and care. One day....*sigh*

-- (cin@cin.cin), December 20, 2001.

Helen: I don't think there's anything you can do about being a co- dependant enabler at this point in your life. It's who you are. I noticed it on the thread I started about Lucky, and you've never failed to respond in a different way on ANY thread.

I'll never be a co-dependant enabler, but I WILL always remain the "guilty one", as Cornboy pointed out on Unk's other forum. It's too late to change.

-- Anita (, December 20, 2001.

cin, sweetie...animals...they'll maul you, kick you, bite you, and tromp on your feet when they can't reach your face. But today, Mike stood still as a stone mule gargoyle and let me do whatever I needed to do to get him ready for his day. He must be able to read.

-- helen (, December 20, 2001.

Can I put "codependent enabler" on my resume?

-- enabler version helen (and@smart.too), December 20, 2001.

It makes no difference to me WHAT you put on your resume, Helen. I just hope that our differences don't create a chasm between us. I REALLY like you. I just couldn't live like you.

-- Anita (, December 20, 2001.

I like you too, Anita. I just couldn't yell at my momma like you do.

-- helen (horrify@each.other), December 20, 2001.

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