I was hired for a job a few weeks ago and had my first official shift last week. The job involves taking care of a sweet elderly woman in her home.
For the first few days, I loved it. The two-hour break from my own life was refreshing and I came home feeling energized and appreciated. I love doing work that is important–work that means something and helps people. And I like making money, even if it’s just a little bit. There is a magical power that comes with earning money that I have not felt in a long time.
But today was different. Mia cried at the window as I drove off. Anna didn’t finish her morning nursing session and I didn’t finish breakfast.
Then shortly after I got to my client’s house, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Suddenly I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t like that my kids’ needs are being put on the back burner on the mornings I work. I don’t like the risk of becoming attached to someone just to have her die.
In the early years of our marriage, I worked at a nurse’s aide in two nursing homes. I loved the work; it was the most gratifying work I have ever done (other than parenting!). But it was also the hardest. I lost many people that I loved. The losses traumatized me to the point where I always felt like I was going to lose someone or that something awful was about to happen. So I quit. I took the good things with me and left the bad things behind. I donated all of my scrubs in a vow to not do that line of work again.
Yet here I am. This time it is different, but also much the same. The same attachment, the same inevitable loss. And on top of that, the feeling that I must neglect my kids’ needs a little bit.
What to do.