It’s been over a year…

It’s been over a year since we moved here… And I hate to say this, but I still strongly dislike it here. I’m bored. Really bored. Yes, even with two kids. Maybe because I have two little kids, but still. I’ve made a few friends through MOPs here, and they are wonderful, but we don’t always have the opportunity to meet up, being SAHMs without regular childcare. I miss where we used to live, the cute little restaurants, the shopping, the pretty places to take walks, but most of all, my friends and family there. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m not good at making friends, although personally I see myself as a fairly outgoing person who will talk to anyone. Maybe I haven’t truly given in to the idea of this being home. I don’t know. There is so much here that makes me unhappy, so little that excites me. I love my girls so much, but I realize that any good mom needs some time to herself. And I get some, little, but still some, when our sitter is here at least once a week for a few hours, but having that time alone does me no good when there is nowhere to go here. I mean, literally nowhere to go, except perhaps Target. And frankly, shopping is getting old. (Yes, I did just say that!) I feel like people keep telling me that a million mothers would love to trade places with me, insinuating that my life is wonderful. Well, no one really knows your life unless they are living it. I acknowledge that having the opportunity to stay home with my girls is truly a blessing, but… it’s not for everyone. And I fear it’s not for me. I never dreamt of staying home with my kids, I got my MBA for a reason, to have a career.

Everyday feels the same. Especially now that its cold here, and pretty much all outside activities are out of the question. And worse, our house is set up as an extremely open floor plan, the kitchen, upstairs living room, and dining area are all one, so I literally spend 15 hours a day in one room with two children. Granted, they take naps in their own rooms, but still. I feel like I might slowly be going crazy. Our lower level is finished, and the living room area down there has more toys and a TV and such, but we rarely head down there, as it seems when we do, I’m constantly needing something up here for one of the girls. Nora screams if I leave her down there alone for even 30 seconds to grab something, and I can’t leave Nadia in the same room alone with Nora, so it’s just easier to stay upstairs.

The extend of child related activities in Cedar Falls is EXTREMLY limited, especially in the winter. Even the library here is tiny and only offers story time once a week, from what I’ve been told. There are possibly a few more activities in Waterloo, but we live on the outskirts of Cedar Falls, so believe it or not, it’s a 30 minute trip each way to Waterloo. There is nothing within walking distance from our house.

I miss my family and friends. I long for a random night when my mom can stop over and have dinner with me and the girls, or a friend can bring her kids over for a playdate, or meet out for a cup of coffee. There are so many amazing women who used to be in my life. I miss them all. I’m terrible at keeping in touch, I’ll admit that. Mainly because I feel so limited. Texting is good, but it only goes so far.

Eric’s work schedule is still crazy, and I assume always will be. It’s 7 days a week. There are no truly ff days. Rarely is there a day he doesn’t go into the hospital, if even just to see a patient in the ER or do rounds on his in-patients. When he’s home he’s dictating, signing notes, answering calls from nurses, prepping for the next days surgeries, reviewing test results, etc. The work never ends. His days off, even vacation days, usually still involve him getting a few hours of work in from home. Eric is rarely home in time to have dinner with me and the girls. I do sometimes leave Nora up later so she can see him, as he likes to read her stories before bed, but as soon as she’s down, it’s to his home office to work. Case in point, it’s Sunday and he’s at the hospital. He was there yesterday as well.

So being I see Eric so rarely and feel like a single mom, I’m beginning to wonder why I’m here. In Cedar Falls I mean. This is certainly not where I wanted to live! And for what, to see Eric an hour a day, maybe? Yes, some days I see him more, but still.

When I mentioned these feelings to family I was left with some things to consider…

  • How can both Eric and I be happy?
  • Should I really forego my happiness to support his career?
  • How can the time we do have together feel more meaningful?
  • Would getting more help with the children and me working provide enough stimulation to make living here better for me?
  • Is there a way to just decide to be happy and thankful for everything Eric’s career affords our family?

I haven’t really answered any of these questions yet. I’m not sure how to answer them. I considered compromises…

  • Me and the girls primarily living closer to where we used to live, still having a house or condo here for Eric.
  • If I give up living where we used to live and instead live somewhere in-between, the drive for Eric would be 45 mins to an hour each way.
  • When Eric is on-call he’d need to be here, and it would make his late nights even later for the drive home. Winter weather would suck.
  • I’d have less help from Eric with the girls than I have now…
  • But I’d see family more.
  • And I’d see friends more.
  • But it would be hard on our marriage.
  • But would me being happier actually make Eric and I better together?
  • Is the idea of sometimes living apart completely nuts?
  • Is having two houses confusing to the girls as they grow up?
  • Is the in-between location where I want my girls to grow up, or would I still miss our old location?
  • How much time could Eric really spend with us at the in-between location? Enough to make it a viable option? I wish Eric had more time with the kids, not less.

I’m really at a loss for what to do and have to make myself happier. I just feel like I’ve given up so much by moving here, I’m really not happy here. How much does/should my happiness matter? How do other couples make such a situation work for both partners?

Oh, something I forgot to mention… I might feel differently if we had couple friends here who we regularly spent time with, but we don’t. Eric has two partners, and will have a third partner starting in August. One partner still lives in Iowa City and commutes, as his wife still works in Iowa City. He stays in a hotel here when he’s on-call. Another partner is divorced, his wife and daughter moved north where they are from. Eric and he go out sometimes, but I’m rarely included and left to watch the girls. The third partner that is joining next year is engaged to a woman who plans to stay living/working in Iowa City for the time being. Not sure how that will pan out long-term. I feel like I was the only one who was forced to uproot and move here… Isn’t it telling that no one else was willing?

8 thoughts on “It’s been over a year…

  1. Would you be happier if you found a job there, even part-time? Then you could get out of the house and talk to adults, stimulate your brain and hopefully make new friends. You don’t have to hang out just with other moms.

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    1. Well, I actually made an attempt to look for a job, but even quality employment is rather limited here. Lots of restaurant server positions. Otherwise all I found was manual labor work. Nothing posted for anything with my finance background.

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  2. I would lose my mind and be a sh**ty parent if I had my 2 boys at home every day especially in the current tundra climate we are enduring where we live. But working full time with 2 young children with an often absent co-parent is also resulting in a lot of anger and raised voices and candidacy for the world’s worst parent ever award. I don’t know what the right answer might be to your situation but I’m empathizing with you and hoping you figure something out that will give you more peace and connection.

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  3. Would it be possible to do a trial period of living back where you lived before and Eric coming back on his ‘off’ days. I appreciate that it could make you feel like more of a single mum but it sounds like you’re pretty much there already and a support network would make it so much easier. It would require compromise from both of you as Eric would need to be stricter about his off work days (no popping into the hospital) but he could work even longer hours on his working days to make up for it. I know quite a few people who live apart on week days and whilst it’s hard it means both of them are happier.

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    1. Honestly, I feel like we just have to really do it to see if it works. I think part of my problem here is that I never really made it home. And at this point I’m not really willing to invest more time and effort when I’m already unhappy here. I know, maybe that seems unfair, like I didn’t give it a chance… I don’t know, I’m confused. And the only thing I know for sure is that I don’t want this city to be my home.

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