On preview: I’ve kind of rambled here. Most of this is just aimless self-pity, and I normally don’t do self-pity. But I had to put this all out there somewhere, and I sure as hell can’t post this all on Facebook for my friends and colleagues to see. Read at your own risk - if you don’t like self-pity (I know I don’t), you’ve been warned. But whatever you do, please don’t read it and then just tell me to STFU and man up - I don’t need that shit right now.
As I’ve mentioned before on the boards, my wife and I have three kids now, and are expecting a fourth in a few weeks. And for some reason, this time around, I’m a fucking wreck.
Maybe it has to do with my age (I’m 39), and the fact that I’m not getting any younger. My body just doesn’t feel up to the rigors of fatherhood - I’ve got bad knees, I’m on Prilosec for gastritis, and I’m about 40 lbs overweight. I threw my goddamn back out just playing with my 4 year old son on the floor today. I’m terrified I’ll come down with some debilitating condition that will leave my wife and kids without a husband and father. The irony is that at my last physical, all indicators say that I’m fine, except for my weight. But I can’t shake this sense of dread that comes over me that something’s going to go wrong.
Maybe it’s our finances. I mean, damn - I’m making so much more money than I thought I ever would have in my life. Twice as much as my dad ever made before he retired. And it goes right out the fucking door. Who’d have thought I could spend this much money? And it’s not like I’m going out buying crap all the time. While my wife and I have newish cars (and the loans to go with them), that’s about it - we don’t spend extravagantly on ourselves or our kids. Maybe you can chalk it up to the fact that I haven’t gotten a raise in three years, while the cost of groceries, gas, insurance, utilities, and just about every other expense except our mortgage has gone significantly.
Speaking of which, my job has me stressed out too - I still love my job, but I’ve taken on a lot of disparate projects and I’m feeling stretched thin as onion paper. But there’s really no one else yet equipped to take these projects, and I know my boss is working at least as hard as me, so I can’t ask her. There’s some light at the end of the tunnel, since we just hired a couple folks and hopefully I can offload some of the work, but most likely the work I’ll be offloading will be parts of my job that I originally signed on for, which I’ve really enjoyed - there are very valid reasons for this, since the new folks have some formal domain area expertise while I’m informally trained. What I’ll be left with are the parts of my job I really don’t get much satisfaction from (but am good at). After a long run of having a job that I look forward to doing every day, I’m afraid of becoming another office drone, working for a paycheck and nothing else. And worse, I’m afraid I’ll suddenly become just another name on a payroll spreadsheet, ready for termination should the need arise. And did I mention I haven’t gotten a raise in three years? There’s been some talk about a promotion, but it’s been very slow going.
Then there’s the house - like most folks, we’re not in a position to sell any time soon, and we have a 1500-sq.ft. three bedroom house. The girls share a room, and the boy will soon be sharing a room with his baby brother - I’m not sure how well that will work out, but my daughters are constantly at each others’ throats over every little inch of space, and my 11-year old (who’s on the razor’s edge of puberty) really, really needs her space. But I can’t give it to her, and I feel awful - what the hell am I doing bringing another kid into the house when I can’t get our other kids to get along for an hour straight? I really need about twice the space we have now, and I honestly have no fucking clue how that can happen. Not to mention, our deck is in bad repair, our furnace is getting old, and there’s a hairline crack running up the living room wall, and halfway across the ceiling, and I just know it’s a sympton of something much bigger. But I’ll be goddamned if I can afford to get it looked at now.
And oh yeah - another baby! What. The. Fuck. My wife and I discussed our options when we found out we were pregnant again, because, seriously - we’re in our late thirties, and we can barely keep up with the kids we have. But looking at our other beautiful children, we couldn’t bear to end the pregnancy knowing the joy our kids have given us. It’s not like we’re morally opposed to it, we just couldn’t make that decision.
But now, with the due date 5 weeks away, I’m shitting myself. I am seriously unprepared for this. I didn’t freak out this much with any of my other kids - and we got pregnant with our oldest daughter a week after I had quit a crappy retail job with no other employment lined up. No money, living in a shitty apartment and taking the bus everywhere. But we made the decision and didn’t look back. Somehow, back then, at 27, I knew everything would work itself out. But now, at 39, having gone through this three times, and making 10 times more than I did back then, I am wondering just how the fuck I’m going to cope.
It’s like a perfect storm of stress, and I’m realizing now that I’ve never really had to deal with this much stress. Sure, I’ve gone through stressful times - emergencies with the kids, shitty jobs, 10 years in sales jobs, etc. But I’ve always been able to compartmentalize, put the stress away until I could deal with it in its own way. But I feel like I’ve run out of compartments, and the stress and the pressure is piling up around my feet, and running out the door.
I know everyone has problems, and compared to a lot of folks, my family is very lucky - we have a roof over our heads, I have a good-paying job, and we all have our health. I know that. But I’m still freaking the fuck out, and this is my way of dealing with that. If you’ve read through all this bullshit, thanks for indulging me.