Track; Rob’s Job; The Good Wife

I am feeling a bit grim today. Part of it is that Elizabeth decided to do track. I am glad that when she told me yes she DID want to do it, I had a genuinely glad feeling: I think that kind of thing SHOWS. But as soon as I started filling out the forms (I’d waited: I knew they’d be bad, and I didn’t want to do them if it was going to turn out I didn’t have to), my despair returned. You know how pretty much every year I complain about the summer-camp forms: they ask for things they shouldn’t need to ask for; they say contradictory things; they ask for the same information on multiple different pages; they try to act as if they can force you to sign the “I’m totally fine with it if you kill my child, and in fact it will be my own fault!” section. The school athletic forms are similar. And then there was this long list of things to put onto the calendar, after several paragraphs of rather aggressive language about how they MUST not miss ANY events, and how ANY missed practices MUST be explained IN WRITING (OH I’M SO SORRY SHE ALSO TAKES TRUMPET LESSONS AND CAN’T DEVOTE HER LIFE EXCLUSIVELY TO TRACK). Well, I had many good years of no one doing sports.

Also, Rob quit his part-time job. He did so with my FULL SUPPORT: the company was being crappy. (Rob, with damp eyes: “What would you say if I said I wanted to quit?” Me: “I’d say DO IT.”) But I’ll be feeling a little under the weather for awhile as I mentally attempt to fight his battles for him and also apparently take this opportunity to relive all my own bad work experiences. When he quit, they gave him a hard time about it, saying things like, “Life lesson for you: this is not okay.” I feel like MURDERING. Paul is taking a turn at playing the role of Chill Parent here, saying that speaking of life lessons this is a really good set of them for Rob. Some companies suck: you don’t have to believe them when they tell you YOU are the one that sucks for not giving into their sucky demands. And sometimes you DO have to work for a sucky company for one or more various reasons, but this is not one of those times.

Also, and it took me awhile to put a finger on this, but watching The Good Wife is making me feel a little icky. She is so BUSY and PRODUCTIVE and VALUABLE. She works so hard, while looking so pretty and fashionable! She’s so calm and pleasant with her children, and so tough and unflinching in court confrontations! She gets so much DONE! She fights for justice from dawn to dusk, and often through the night! And I am sitting on the couch, eating Easter candy and watching her do it, feeling burdened if I have to make a single slightly-uncomfortable phone call.

Well. Enough pity party. (Though feel free to use the comments section to keep the party going.) I am going to go drop off Elizabeth’s forms at the pediatrician’s office so they can handle their annoying part of this process, and then I am going to assemble a sweet little drawered cart I got this weekend on a great mark-down (it looks kind of like this one, but it cost less), and then I am going to try that idea of setting a timer for 20 minutes and see how much stuff I can get rid of in that amount of time.

45 thoughts on “Track; Rob’s Job; The Good Wife

  1. StephLove

    Beth and I came to an agreement this year that she would take on the hellish Girl Scout sleep away camp online registration process and I’d do the purgatorial 11-page form. I think I got the better end of the deal. More time to think and no time is running out, your kid won’t get into camp if you can’t get this balky system to work right this instant feeling.

    I didn’t know Elizabeth played trumpet. Cool. Good luck with track. We haven’t done middle school sports yet, as only my younger one is interested in athletics.

  2. Jill

    A good friend was over the other day and we were chatting about one of HER friends and she was going on and on about how everything she does is 180% and she’s on this board and that board and volunteers here and there and also has a business she runs while staying home with her kids and I could feel myself starting to get defensive and then wondered why. I stay home with my kids and DON’T have a business and AM NOT on any boards and decided NOT to volunteer this year and there are STILL days when I feel like I am overwhelmed with 4 kids and too many directions to go. Why this woman who likes to keep busy made me feel defensive for NOT liking to keep busy is still bothering me.

    1. Mandy

      I can promise you that if this woman is running her life that way, she is NOT home with her kids in the same way that you are. I speak as someone who is at home working with a one-year-old, with a nanny. Without the nanny or daycare or some sort of childcare option, I would get nothing done for work at all. As it is, there are days when I only manage about 30% of what I would have easily accomplished in a day pre-baby. I know that kids get more independent as they get bigger, but– if someone is on multiple boards, volunteer, and run a business, then I’m dead certain that she is not present with her kids in the same way as someone who’s a SAHM. I’m not present with my daughter in the same way as someone who’s a SAHM. (Though, God knows, I’m extremely present when I’m not working and sometimes extremely present even when I should be working.)

      Sometimes I think we prioritize “doing things” too much in our culture. I would love to have some time every week where I had nothing to do. Being productive all the time is a surefire path to burnout.

      1. Maureen

        I haven’t read all the comments, but I absolutely agree with Mandy, who said,
        “Sometimes I think we prioritize “doing things” too much in our culture.”. I’m coming to the realization that our need to cross things off a list is kind of bull. I’m really into hygge lately, which basically is about happiness, comfort and security. Denmark one of the happiest countries in the world, and they prioritize this.

        Americans seem driven to accomplish things, where other countries place value on being content, spending time with family, feeling comfort in all things. Believe me, I love crossing things off lists, but even more I love pulling on warm socks, sitting down and reading a book. I think Americans need a real wake up call-and decide what is important. We don’t have a scorecard at the end of our lives, listing WHAT WE DID. I’d much rather die knowing I was content, and enjoyed my life, and loved and spent time with my family. Time is something you never get back and you can never make up.

        The big problem is, we don’t live in a county that supports family time. I really am stymied by this, we are a young country, why don’t we keep up with the times?? Why can’t we lead the way?

  3. heidi

    I have had huge amounts of guilt lately about not doing enough. I only have 2 kids at home now and one is an adult, I work full time but it is a job I can leave at the office, I don’t volunteer or see friends or leave the house unless forced (by work mostly). I watch entirely too much tv and I never look put together or fashionable. I’m working on a graduate degree but again, watch too much tv, play games on my tablet, and read. I don’t ACCOMPLISH much of anything. I really don’t think I contribute to society at all and I need to remedy that but I just don’t want to because I am LAZY. (I will take suggestions. Please.)

    1. Ann

      That’s very similar to how I’m feeling right now. My kids are old enough to drive themselves everywhere, my husband opened a business and is working every evening. I have a full time job as a teacher, so I do take work home, but there is no earthly reason I can’t start working out like I’ve been planning to for the last 2 years. I. just. don’t. want. to! I hate exercise! I appreciate Swistle’s previous posts on exercise, and I’m trying to add it in little by little (I went to the gym twice- yay me!). I’m hiking with my son once in awhile. Baby steps.

    2. Meg

      I think you contribute to society because you care for and love your family, and you work. And because you’re doing what YOU need! You’re society too!

      (At least, that’s what I tell myself when I feel lazy!!)

    3. sarah

      Wow, You sound just like me. Even down to the working on a graduate degree! However, I have only one kid. I have come to terms with my reluctance to do anything/go anywhere. I think have come to terms that I am a introvert and between working, school and child care. I have spent all my “being with people time”, and really need to recharge. I find that if I am not able to have much “lazy time” I am actually not as productive during the work week. It is ok to feel like you are not getting things done, most of us need that down time.

  4. JMV

    Thank you for this information about The Good Wife; I won’t be watching it. My three year old asked me to pick her up today and carry her down the stairs. I’m fighting cancer and just didn’t have the strength to do it today. I sat cuddling her at the top of the stairs, trying not to cry. When I offered to take her out for a bagel, she told me, “No, thanks, mama. I want to go to school (daycare) and see my friends.” Stab me in the heart.
    Thanks for the Easter Candy idea, too. That’s what I need today. After my bagel and fruit smoothie.

    1. Rachel

      i’m sorry you’re going through this. :(

      What Swistle says about The Good Wife is true, but don’t let that deter you from watching! It is one of the best shows EVER.

      1. Swistle Post author

        AGREE with Rachel: I LOVE the show! I really do! It’s only now toward the end of the 5th season that I feeling this way, and I think it is more due to Cadbury Egg Overdose than anything else. It’s an excellent Distraction Show when I’m not taking it inappropriately personally. Plus: cute people.

  5. Slim

    I am sorry about the cancer and the heart-stabbingness of her reply, but think of this: She likes the daycare you found for her! She is able to tell you what she needs (at 3! instead of just emitting a car-alarm wail to let you know that something is UNACCEPTABLE!), and it is an actual doable thing. And doable because it’s a choice you made on her behalf.

  6. Kirsty

    I find Mondays particularly challenging – everyone posts fabulous, beautiful, artistic photo essays on Facebook of ALL. THE. THINGS they did over the weekend, whereas in my home it’s a miracle if anyone’s up before midday. My daughter (nearly 13) rarely even bothers to get dressed, and the most activity Iachieve is usually a quick trip to a very nearby (5 minutes on foot) supermarket late afternoon. I feel loathesome and a total failure, yet strangely unable to do anything about it (much less force everyone up in the morning…).
    For The Good WIfe, I found it OK, but not great, and much prefer other shows I have binge-watched to death (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, True Detectives, Glee, House of Cards to name but a few). I did like it much more than The West Wing though, which I’d heard great things about but just cannot get into…

    1. Anne

      My fourteen year old son considers a day he does not have to get out of his pajamas a complete success while I see it as a failure in my parenting. Even though I know we all like different things. Why do I think him reading in bed all day would be fine while him playing computer games all day is not? Yes, I get the intrinsic value in reading (I GET IT, I love to read, it is valuable, but games have value, too).
      My father used to say to us as he left for work “Have a happy, productive day!” and I have definitely internalized that. I say it to my kids, too, but one recently told me he really did not appreciate the sentiment.

  7. Jenny

    How dare Rob’s job say something like that to a teenager. A teenager. It would be rude enough to an adult making a personal choice to give notice, but a teenager?? I have two words for them, and they are not happy birthday.

    1. Holly

      HAAAA. I’m going to use that someday “I have two words for them and they are not happy birthday”. Love it.

  8. Stimey

    I LOVE filling out forms. It is one of my autistic special interests. It’s weird, I know, but there are all these boxes and there is a correct answer for each box and sometimes you get to fill out every box on the page and if you’ve used the right pen or the right font, it looks awesome and is extremely satisfying. That said, I HATE filling out school forms for my kids. Too many, “Tell us about…” and “In your opinion…”

    1. MelissaC

      And does anyone ever actually read that “important things we should know about your child” section? I think not.

      1. Ann

        I’m a preschool teacher, and I do! Haha! But we’re desperately searching for anything to latch onto in those first few days of school, when it’s like herding cats and juggling oranges at the same time!

      2. melissa

        i think not either! My 4 yo had hand surgery last year – a major deal involving pins and therapy and nerve repair and restricted hand movement. I detailed carefully all that had happened.

        At the parent teacher conference, the teacher expressed frustration with her scissor skills.

        I started talking about the surgery and she was totally unaware.

  9. Sian

    I do really think that sometimes, one needs to take a break from things that make one feel bad about oneself. It doesn’t need to be forever, but for example, I started watching the most excellent Catastrophe (British) but had to watch as I had just gotten pregnant and it was too much for me to watch a family with a new baby have the kind of challenges they were having. Plus, I felt we were coming up to a cliffhanger at the end of season 2 and I wanted to wait until I could flow straight into season 3 to resolve the conflict. I fully anticipate I’ll return to it and enjoy it.

    1. Alex

      Catastrophe is the best! So smart and SO funny! I can’t wait for the next season – I heard the last scene Carrie Fisher filmed was in her role on that show.

  10. HereWeGoAJen

    Your sweet little cart makes me very happy. I would like an update when you are finished making it. Where are you going to put it? And also more importantly, what are you going to put inside it?

  11. Elsk

    Alicia Florrick always struck me as rather icy and closed off — there’s gotta be a price for all that perfection! I feel like if the show were realistic, her kids would be acting out more and getting into trouble in a bid for any quality time at all with her, since she seems to be working *constantly*. That said, I do enjoy the show and am slowly making my way through Season 3. I find Alan Cumming magnetic as Eli Gold.

  12. Shawna

    I am lucky in that my Sports Kid is taken to her hockey by my Sports Husband. I get to sleep in with my Non-sports kid, then when we roll out of bed we share a decaf latte while perusing our tablets.

    I, in case you couldn’t tell, am a Non-sports Mom, though I will take the kids to the odd warm activity such as swimming lessons.

  13. Buttercup

    I work for the federal government, which is…not great at the moment. While I want to believe it’ll get better, I still have a lot of anxiety about my job, my agency, and–you know–every other American and every other citizen of the world and also many endangered species and public spaces and natural resources. And on top of that constant bad feeling, my job has felt particularly crappy yesterday, which I can sum up with this vignette: something was due Friday that couldn’t be done by close of business, for several legitimate reasons. And so, when quitting time came, I left. Yes, I could’ve stuck around and hoped that someone whose input I needed would miraculously come back from a late lunch and give me all the answers, but I didn’t. So, Monday morning, I had a voicemail waiting for me from a woman who had once before called me to b*tch at me about something, and in this voicemail she said I should call her back so we could “discuss how to process failed.” And you know what? No, thank you. In a rare moment of clarity, I realized I don’t have to call people so they can yell at me. She can call my boss if she has a problem with my work products. Sheesh.

    But I really commented to say thank you for posting so much the last several days; I really needed it.

  14. Tessie

    It’s truly unfortunate that I am nearly 40 years old and JUST NOW learning that quitting is, in fact, allowed. Too bad I didn’t learn at Rob’s age, before I spent FIFTEEN YEARS at a job I didn’t like. It sounds like Rob was agonizing over it, and for that sort of person quitting is often WILDLY UNDERRATED.

    I’m not working right now (BECAUSE I QUIT), and even though I planned for literally YEARS and have money saved and blah blah blah I feel guilty as hell. I should be doing ALL THE THINGS! “So, Tessie, what did you DO with your time off?” Well, I’m caught up on laundry?

  15. Emily

    Thanks, guys! I also don’t do all of the things, and can’t figure out what’s wrong with me, so it’s nice to read that there are many of us. Pass the cadburys.

  16. Rebecca

    The Good Wife is a fictional tv show. Alicia Florrick could no more endure your day than you hers. You are a real person. End of comparison. Let yourself off the hook now.

  17. Mommyattorney

    I do a lot of things, and I never feel like I do enough things. Ever. I work FT, lead a GS troop, volunteer at church, drive my kids to EC activities. I don’t exercise enough or see friends enough. Enough seems very difficult to attain.

    1. Tori

      I love that. “Enough seems very difficult to attain.” That is it exactly. Everyone does more and does it better. Except for those times when no one else does anything at all and what the do do is done wrong.

  18. Ruby

    Oh man, I am so angry on Rob’s behalf now. It’s so frustrating when people get exactly what they deserve but then fail to see how it’s their fault (i.e. treating a person badly, having that person no longer want to work with them, and then blaming that person for being unreasonable). I’m sure he’ll learn plenty of life lessons from this experience, but probably not the one the company is trying to teach him.

  19. Delia

    I have a friend that has 3 kids (the eldest is 22 but on the autism spectrum, so struggles a bit with life in general; middle one is studying at college and the youngest is in his final year of high school). She is the busiest person I know. She is a good mom to her kids, helps her husband with his hardware business, they also run a guest farm together, she is on every school parent committee, neighbourhood committee, rate payers committee etc that you can think of. This woman is run off her feet and almost always on the verge of a breakdown, but she does it out of a genuine desire to help people (even if she just met you 30 seconds ago). I love her to bits. I, on the other hand, have one 6 year old, I work full time and that is enough for me. I don’t volunteer, I am not on any committees, I’m hardly fashionable (and hate shopping), and some days just keeping my head above water feels like an achievement. My husband and I both work full time, we have no nanny or maid, and we have generally got long, hard days. I learned long ago not to compare myself to other people or other moms. I do not want to “compete” with anyone. How they choose to live and how much they are involved with is entirely up to them and their personal choice. If it works for them, great. It is just not who I am. I am happy with my ‘lack of involvement’ so to speak. I would rather choose to spend my time with my family at home than running around committing myself to dozens of things and never being home. In fact most weekends we are all at home and only venture out if we absolutely have to be somewhere or if we are taking our son to some kind of activity (e.g. aquarium etc). I don’t really care what other people think about it – it’s my choice and my journey. And the minute I realised that, it stopped bothering me how much other people do in their lives compared to me – it’s their journey, their choice. Each to our own. :-)

  20. Swistlefan

    My dearest Swistle! While you may spend some (extremely well-deserved and appropriately restorative) time on the couch snacking, you also are raising 5 kids (who sound amazingly well-adjusted and well-parented) AND you find time to write a thoughtful blog that brings joy and perspective to your many readers. I really, really value this blog and your wise musings, your sharing of your life and insights with all of us means a lot. I’d MUCH hear/read your thoughts than Alicia’s. (She seems cold to me too.)

  21. Rah

    It probably doesn’t provide me a legal leg to stand on, but I edit the legal disclaimers and mark out things, or add to them. So far, no one has EVER questioned me or even commented on it! For example, at a weight loss clinic, I just marked out “permission to use before-and-after photos for purposes selected by us.” I crossed through that and wrote in the margin “permission not granted for marked area” and my initials.
    Once I wrote something like “to be negotiated by incident-specific joint consideration between [you] and me” and my initials, in a section where a firm was trying to say we are not liable for any possible thing that could ever possibly occur.
    I do share your frustration, though, at those forms! I will fill in information once, then on subsequent requests for the same thing, I just write “see information provided on previous page.”
    My Inner Bad Ass at work!

    1. Britni

      SO father does this all the time and according to him it does make it legal (source: he’s a lawyer).

    2. Maggie

      I’m an attorney and I do this on every form for my kids all the time. I decline to relieve them from liability if my kid dies, I don’t permit them to use my kids’ photos for marketing, etc. I cross it all out. No one taking the forms ever cares and I know I’m not waiving certain things that I doubt would stand up in court anyway, but this way I won’t have to fight about it if (god forbid) they happen.

  22. Laura

    My 18-year-old just quit his restaurant server position. It was a good thing for so many reasons. I told him that some day he MAY have to continue to work a crappy job to pay the bills, but today is not that day (disclaimer – he is an incredibly hard worker and rarely quits any commitment.) As an aside, I find parenting an older child so much fun. I think every parent has their “phase” where they shine, and I’ve decided 4- 8 and 15 – 18 years old are really the years when my talents, patience and skills seem to come together.

    1. Missy

      YES! I totally agree. I thought my shining parenting phase was over because I love and do well with the baby/toddler/preschool phases. Then elementary school/middle school ages hit and I thought “what the hell have I done?”, much in the way people say about newborns. Then I panicked at the realization I had already peaked as a mom with the shortest parenting phase. Imagine my relief when I discovered I REALLY enjoy the teenage years!

    2. Jenny

      I sincerely hope this is true of me, too! I did well in 4-8, but I am not doing so hot at 11-12.

      1. Maggie

        Same. I really enjoyed 4-10 with Oldest and am again enjoying it with Youngest, but whoo boy, ages 11-14 have not been my best hour.

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