Oh. My. Gosh. You really did survive the Mommy Olympics! 6 kids under 5?! Ha, I’m not sure I could even attempt such a thing. I have a pretty low tolerance for crazy, so just POTENTIAL for chaos stresses me. When I think about it, my heart pounds– actually, someone get me a paper bag; I can’t breathe; please don’t make me try this!
Okay, all joking aside, I’m encouraged by your story, it is a good reminder that if we get out of the way (our own and their’s) the payoff is great: a fun play date full of sharing and problem solving for them, a few moments of peace for you. Maybe I’ll give it a try after all. I don’t think I have any war stories quite so triumphant, but I am rather proud that I managed to host Thanksgiving dinner when L was just two colicky months old. Here is a picture; everyone always thinks she’s smiling, but she wasn’t, she was winding up to start a marathon crying jag. How is it that I miss those days?
Courtney, I want to clarify something. As you know, I took a long leave from work because T had Chronic Neutropenia . I don’t want you to think I would consider a return to work unless he was healthy! At this point, I’m pleased to report, his tests are all normal, and his hematologist has cleared him to be “treated like a normal kid”. Daycare is now an option. This decision, to return to work or not, wouldn’t be a “decision” if he was still ill.
With that said, I checked the box. I mean, we all knew I was going to; I just needed some time to really get my head around it. Here’s the thing, I have a little problem with control– meaning, I like to be in it, all the time. It is probably some of why I became a teacher; every day I got to be queen in my own small universe. I’m a planner; plans make me feel calm and sane; I like knowing where my life is going and how I’m going to get there. So when The Plan changes unexpectedly, I kind of freak. It is silly and selfish, but true.
The past year was really hard. No one wants a sick kid, and I resented the illness, the way it changed our life, the way we didn’t know if and when it would end. It was like T was born and we hit the pause button; he was sick, of course I was going to stay home. After my maternity ended I took a year of family sick leave (and yes, I do know how VERY lucky I was to have such generous leave!); I guess in my head The Plan never changed, it just delayed; The Plan was on leave with me. When people ask what I do, until last week, I said, “I’m a teacher, but I’m on leave right now.” In my head I hadn’t quit yet. But now that I have, a huge weight is off my shoulders; we hit unpause; we made a new plan. It’s kind of exciting! We’re leaving the “hard year”: T is healthy, we are financially stable (I was really, really anxious about giving up my income), our family is closer than ever before; our life feels abundant– ironically that was the whole point of The Plan!
Recently someone said this to me, “you get maybe 85 or 90 years on Earth; of those years you only get your kids at home for 18; and of those you only get to be the light of their universe for 7 or 8. ” For now, I think I’m over my “resign or return” panic; I’m happy to hit pause on my career and live this new life.
(But I fully reserve the right to regress the next time I’m up at 2am covered in another person’s bodily fluids!)
PS: What do you count when you count your blessings?