Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Work Becomes Work

I woke up this morning knowing it would rain the entire day. I dressed for it because I knew I'd be in and out of my car all day as I made my rounds. To say the least, I wasn't excited. I have to work and only one person's gonna do it. Me.

I had eleven patients lined up to see today. Count them...eleven! That's a HUGE amount of patients for one day and even under the best of circumstances, I would have been hard-pressed to see them all. I managed to fit 8 into my day and I dragged one tired, and soggy girl through the door at around 4:45 pm. Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I doing this to my girls?

We neeeeed the money. It's that simple but it is more complicated than that. I really only need to see 5 patients per day in order to make my modest budget. Why then am I trying to shove 11 into my day? At the end of today I'm really wondering.

Every SINGLE morning, Bugs asks me if I have to work and her sign of disappointment on days when I just am not going to be there when she gets home literally tears my heart out. And then my babysitter posts pictures of my kids on Facebook while she's tending, and makes status posts about what they're up to and I want to cry in frustration that it's not ME that's seeing them do this or that. And now summer's coming and I see it disappearing into a huge vat of home exercise programs, arthritis counseling, pain management and blah blah blah...stuff that is important but NOTHING compared to how my kids are going to spend their summer with someone else. It is killing me!

You see, in my profession it's totally feast or famine. It wasn't long ago that I left my house only to see 3 or maybe 4 patients per day stressing the fact that I'm not meeting the minimum. And only a few short weeks later I'm pushing the envelope with what one sane person can accomplish in a single day. I could get help or tell my agencies that I can't take on this or that particular patient right now. I don't because they WILL find someone who can take them. They won't cancel my contract but there will be another somebody there hoping for patients and the agencies will be obligated to split my caseload with the new person which means in the end, I'll end up with less even during the famine times. I just can't have that! I need exclusive access to my agencies so that I get first rights of refusal. Without that, I might as well go get a regular job.

But days like today (which have become more than norm) are awful. I remember when I first negotiated with my awesome babysitter to come when I very first went back to work after Tink was born. My schedule had me leaving my house at 8:45 am and back at 11:30 when Bugs got home from school. It was only a few months and I pushed it back to noon, then one, then two, three and now it's regularly 4:00 when I come through the door - TWICE A WEEK. That's two full days, two times a week! How can I even consider myself a stay at home mom with that schedule? What's weird is that when Bugs was Tinkerpot's age, I worked that schedule all the time and thought nothing of it at all.

Now, it's all different. I've had it. I don't want to do it. I don't NEED to do it. I enjoy it but not as much as being home. I've got to change it. I have no idea what to do but I'm even thinking of employing an OT assistant to take on my caseload when I have too much. I don't know the ramifications of having an employee and it makes my head ache but I'd still be making money if I did that, AND I'd still have access to all patients coming down the pike which is by far the most important aspect at this point. I just don't want competition at all. I feel my job's too lucrative to allow another therapist even their toe in the door. I hate this. There has to be a solution.

3 backward glances:

Tiffany said...

Amy, I'm sorry. I can totally feel where you are coming from on both sides of the issue, and it is such a hard spot to be in! You are an amazing mom, and do enough in those 5.6 days that you are home than I do in my whole week. And you have a desire to do the right thing, whatever that is for your sweet little family, so I have NO DOUBTS whatsoever that you will know what needs to happen, and it will all work out...whatever that ends up meaning. Loves...and thank you, again :)

Rachel said...

I totally know what your feeling. Every day when Jake was little and asked me if I would be home for dinner and I knew I wouldn't be, I'd be planning some lame marketing campaign that no one would remember. A couple of times I've thought about picking up a side job, but I can't do anything part time. Its either all or nothing. So I guess my all is a mom (without any money) and that is ok. You're doing what you are doing to help pay the bills. Make sure you're working to maintain, not to buy more stuff. Keep it balanced. And be grateful for a babysitter that adores your girls :) it doesn't change things, but it does help.

kelly said...

I feel your pain. But, go with your gut and you'll never go wrong.