I got back from Chicago yesterday afternoon. I had three whole days away, from Friday night until early Tuesday morning. I thought it would be just what I needed to crawl out of this winter funk I’ve been in since December — not because the weather is any better in Chicago, because of course it’s not, but because I could get a change of scenery and step away from my daily grind and re-connect with some important people in my life. And it was good for me. I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the company of my friends as well as spending entire days doing whatever I wanted and not running around after a two-year-old.
But the thing is, when you’re a parent you can’t ever truly escape. Even when you’re hundreds of miles from your child(ren), they still need you. Before I left, I made sure every piece of clothing was freshly washed and I cooked a few meals for Drew and Jackson to heat up while I was away and I bought some new books and wrapped them up for him to open when he was missing me (Jackson, that is). I called on FaceTime a couple times a day, and, while we were talking on Saturday evening, Jackson threw up. And there was nothing I could do because he was in New York and I was in Chicago, and I felt guilty and terrible. I called Drew an hour later to check in and he said it was really bad — that Jackson was throwing up a lot. And what could I do? Even if I caught a plane first thing in the morning, I wouldn’t be home until afternoon, and I knew if he had the same bug I had two weeks ago, he would likely be fine in 24-36 hours. I told Drew to just hang on tight and try to get him to drink water. But he called a couple times that night, increasingly worried. I told him to call the doctor. What else could I do?
I spent the next 36 hours trying to relax and get the most bang out of my weekend away, but I was also feeling guilty and worried for my guys back home. Jackson was getting better, as I predicted, but Drew was getting sick. And on top of that, DW crashed a couple times, as it has been doing almost daily for the last month. I got an email from my website host that I need to upgrade to a bigger server — that traffic size was getting to be more than my current server can handle. “How much will the larger server cost?” I asked. Oh, only about $12,000 a year.
I just wanted to get away.
I have two jobs that don’t pay anything. Motherhood, of course, is my top priority, but I invest quite a lot into DW, too. And now I’m faced with the dilemma of how to keep it going. It was one thing breaking even. But I can’t afford $12,000 on top of childcare costs. (Just to be clear, I’m not asking for help at this moment. I may, eventually. I might do another donation drive, but the truth is I don’t think I could even get enough in donations to offset the increasing costs of maintaining this site, so I don’t know. I don’t know what to do, and I’m not asking for help; I’m just venting. I guess I’m also preemptively warning that there could be changes down the road, possibly in the form of membership-only access to the forums… or, worst-case scenario, no more DW, though I am really hoping to avoid that).
I wanted to get a break and come home refreshed and ready to take on the second half of Jack’s Terrible Twos and I wanted to have a clear head so I could think about what to do with this site and how to keep it going and not feel like it was a total lost cause. I wanted to feel creative again. But I walked in the front door feeling as tired as I always do. I walked in the door and Jack was sitting in front of the TV and Drew was in bed groaning and the litter box was overflowing and there were toys everywhere and the counters were dirty and the clothes were piled up and there were dishes in the sink and the fridge needed to be stocked and the guys needed to be fed and cared for and I felt immediately exhausted and guilty. Maybe that served me right for trying to get away for a few days.
So, to those of you feeling the winter doldrums: I hear you. I feel blue, too. And I feel guilty for feeling blue. Because feeling blue and having March Malaise is kind of a luxury. It’s what bored housewives feel. And I guess that’s what I am. And I need to figure out how to change that. Because this isn’t good for me and I know it isn’t good for my family.
I used to get so much joy from running this site. It used to provide me exactly the outlet I needed while I stayed home and raised my baby. But he’s not a baby anymore and things change. I still find joy and personal fulfillment here, but more and more often, it feels like work. And it’s work that doesn’t have the financial rewards one should have from work that feels like work. Maybe it’s just been a rough winter. Maybe it’s just been a challenging stretch of tech malfunctions and weirdoes threatening to hack the site and various other things that pile up and demand attention I can’t always spare when I have a rambunctious 2-year-old also requiring so much.
Anyway, as I said, I’m just venting. Maybe I won’t even feel like this tomorrow. But I like to be transparent with you and keep you abreast with my life and what’s going on in my head. I’m going to turn comments off on this one because I don’t really need a response to any of this. I just needed to share. And maybe now I will feel a little better. Thanks for listening.