ALL the Anxiety

I applied for a job on Monday. Well, that’s not exactly true. I applied more than two weeks ago, but when I sent a follow-up email, discovered that my application had not been received. Cue mild panic attack followed by an entire afternoon and evening of frantically re-applying, using an application form I didn’t even know existed the first time. (Thanks a lot, “universal” job finding-and-applying website.)

And this afternoon, I received an invitation for an interview.

I really want this job. I think I’d be good at it, and it fits my “in my field/part time/no driving/personally and professionally fulfilling” checklist. But the more I think about how perfect it could be, the more the anxiety sets in. My heart pounds, my breathing becomes shallow, my thoughts race.

None of this is new. The older I get, the more I realize just how long I’ve been living with anxiety. But since our move to Wales, it’s been more intense than ever. To the point where I am considering asking for medication, something I have always insisted I could do without. (Not that I’ve even gotten as far as making an appointment to talk about this yet.)

When I was seeing Dr. N, she suggested writing out all the things I was anxious about. So, in no particular order, here goes:

The job. The interview is in a week and a half, which gives me plenty of time to research and prepare. And stress the fuck out. What if I don’t get it? That doesn’t bode well for other job opportunities (or the lack there of) for me here. Without either a car or Welsh language skills, I’m pretty much screwed.

What if I do? And I have to put my daughter in daycare two days a week, after being home with her nearly every minute of every day for over two years? Is it even going to be worth paying for child care when I’m going to be making so little to begin with?

If I answer “yes,” I have to immediately talk myself out of feeling guilty for the following reasons: a) now that she’s two, she really needs to spend some time with other kids, and b) I need to spend some time with other adults talking about something other than my daughter. I need to contribute, if not to our bank account, then to the community we now call home.

Ugh, money. I’m stressed out about it all the time. When we moved, we didn’t really know what we’d be able to afford, housing-wise, and erred on the side of having room for all our shit (and for potential future children) rather than squeezing into a tiny-but-affordable flat. I agonize over this decision almost daily. Because not only do we have to pay rent (which, on its own, isn’t terrible), but we have to pay council taxes, which are based on the value of the property (or the number of windows facing the street, depending on who you ask).

We get by, month after month, but just barely. And if we ever want to see our families, we need to save some money. Flights in and out of here (not to mention the three-hour train ride to and from the airport) are not cheap. My sister cries on Skype when we’re discussing things like birthday parties and my daughter says, “Aunt Zappa coming.” Sorry, baby, no she isn’t.

Same goes for fertility treatments. Before we can even think about doing our next FET, we have to figure out how to get our embryos here, where we’re going to store them, and how much it’s all going to cost. I mentally calculate the age gap between my first and possible second child. And it’s already larger than I had hoped for.

Yeah. What else? Oh, how about friendships. I’ve been trying, but it’s so hard. And I overanalyze every interaction I have, wondering just how much of a weirdo other people think I am. Half the time, I can’t believe I’ve just had a 20 minute conversation about breastfeeding, and the other half, I literally can’t think of a single thing to talk about.

And my husband? Sometimes I’m envious of how smoothly he seems to have made this transition, at least professionally. There are times it feels like we’re going in two different directions. Nothing makes me crazier than when I’ve spent all day chasing after Missy, and he comes home only to sit in front of his computer or the TV while I continue to try to juggle cooking dinner and managing a hungry, tired, and cranky two-year-old. And when I’ve talked to him about it, he insists we’re on the same team. It just doesn’t feel that way. And in the next few months, he has a bunch of work things coming up, which are going to leave me to solo parent for one to four days at a time.

There’s probably more, but Missy just woke up.

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11 thoughts on “ALL the Anxiety

  1. So, first and foremost, I hope you get the job. Deep breathe. You will be awesome.

    Two, the transition has to be easier for your husband because he is working within a framework. He steps into the job, and the job comes with people (and, by extension, conversations). He may not make best friends with everyone at work, but he knows on any given day that he will have social interactions without trying too hard. Whereas you are working without a framework. You have to build every interaction you get.

    So THAT is the reason you need the job and shouldn’t feel guilty about daycare et al. It will give you a framework, and building other things off that framework (such as friendships) will be easier because you’ll have that springboard into society.

    • Thanks, Mel. I think you’re right about my husband’s job. He sees the same people every day, and they have lots of interesting things to talk about. There are quite a few groups and activities for young children (and their parents) here, but that means that even if I’m seeing the same people at each one, it’s only once a week, and I feel like it’s taking forever to really get to know people that way. The one person I hit it off with right away (because of our shared history of infertility, among other things) has been MIA since going back to work, selling her house, and moving. Hopefully now that things have calmed down for her, we’ll get to hang out more often!

  2. Mel said it perfectly. Transitions are hard and it’s harder when you’re trying to balance more than yourself. I’m hoping you get this position (its a good sign that you got an invite to interview so quickly) and will be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  3. Moving to another country (TWICE in a rather short time frame!) is a huge transition, so it’s no wonder that your anxiety has been exacerbated. But it sounds like this job you’ll be interviewing for could be really good for you, for your mental health if nothing else, because as Mel pointed out,it will allow you to meet other people and give you a starting point for social interactions and building a place for yourself in your new city. I really hope you get it! And that you can welcome the change with no guilt at all. (Though, as a fellow mom, I know that’s nearly impossible.) Thinking of you!

    • Oh, the guilt! And it’s not just mommy guilt either. Every time I spend money I feel guilty because I’m not contributing to our income. It’s a vicious cycle.

  4. I love that you shared this. I can relate to all of it for different reasons. I’m constantly teetering between feeling guilty for wanting to work on my own projects and not spend time with my kiddos, and then feeling lame/loser like if I don’t. And the weirdo thing. I come in and out of a state of total self consciousness, convinced everyone can see through to my inner weirdo core. The hardest thing about being a mom, is being a mom (the guilt, all of it). it’s awesome but hard. And as for someone who’s reconsidering entering the work force, I get that too. It would be so good for both of you! I will cross my fingers that you get it!

    • Yes, awesome but hard. I love that I get to spend so much time with my daughter, and I worry about the things I might miss when she spends her day with someone else. But at the same time, the thought if getting this job makes me positively giddy (you know, when I’m not hyperventilating)! I hope we can find a good balance eventually.

  5. I hope you get this job! I’ll be going back to work in August when my girl is 1yr 4mo. While I am totally lucky to be home this long, I’d love more time at home, but know I need to go back to work.
    Getting out of the house for a job will definitely be beneficial for you. Social adult interaction does wonders. And Missy will do just fine in a daycare.

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