It is a long story, but I’m technically still on leave from teaching. My life was sort of the perfect storm, all the exact wrong things happened at all the exact right times, and the bottom line is I was on leave for 1.5 school years, but now I have to decide. Return? Resign?
When I showed J the paperwork he asked, “So,what are you going to do?” but it wasn’t a real question, he wants me to resign. He wants me to stay home. Indefinitely. He thinks our family works better with me home, that it is better for our kids.He’s right; it does, it is. And I’m so fortunate because somehow we’re making ends meet—and it is what I always wanted. Full time mom. Except on Friday it isn’t what I wanted at all.
Friday was horrible, but not as horrible as Thursday night. Thursday night was the pit of hell. J had a late work dinner, so he missed the start of the fun, but by the time he walked in, clutching his stomach and complaining that maybe he’d overdone it with the crab cake and the 10oz filet and the crème brulee, I’d already been elbow deep in puke for 3 hours. I assured him, perhaps a little too unsympathetically, that the discomfort probably wasn’t the megameal but the stomach flu. Then I handed him the rag as I dashed past him to the bathroom, gasping, “We’ve all got it.” One of the four of us puked every 15 minutes for the rest of the night. I’m not exaggerating. There should be a law against BOTH parents being sick at the same time—especially when the kids are sick too. Needless to say J and I didn’t sleep. We puked. We cried. We cleaned up puke. We cried. We changed diapers. We didn’t sleep. So when morning dawned, bringing with it two perky, playful children (how do they do that?) I was feeling a little “done” with full time mommyhood. I wasn’t prepared to open the mailbox and find the question staring me in the face. Return? Resign?
I think I know the answer. It took us all weekend, and there is still some cleaning and laundry to do, but we’re all recovered now. Despite that, the baby is teething, so even though he’s well, he didn’t sleep last night, and I have to be honest: I didn’t envy J as he left for work with bags under his eyes, rushing to catch a bus and gut through a day filled with meetings and demands—and no sleep. My day will be full too, with a different sort of meetings and demands, but I rather like that my meetings can be held in my yoga pants!
Regardless, I’m also not ready to check the “I am RESIGNING box”. For years, I wanted to stay home, but when it happened, when we extended my leave for another year, it wasn’t a choice, it was need. It was thrust on me by my son’s illness. I’m happy I’m able to be home for him, but I spent 12 years building a career; I guess there is just something a little defeating about undoing it all with a little X. Do I sound ungrateful? I’m REALLY not. The past year has been many wonderful things, and I wouldn’t change one second (except Thursday, I’d change that!). But it feels tricky, complicated– making my stay-at-homeness a permanent arrangement.