Saturday, September 24, 2011

On Trying To Do It All

After my son was born, I went back to work.  (I thought that it was my responsibility to work and provide for my family since my husband was going to school, but that's another story)

From time to time, someone reflects on this year of working outside my home and comments, "I don't know how you did it."  To be frank, I didn't.  Our house was a disaster.  Our clothes were stained and wrinkled, if not lying in heaps about the floor.  My dishes piled up so much on the counter I would spend hours (hours!) on the weekends handwashing them.  My husband cleaned the bathroom when we expected company, which was rarely. I cried at least once a day- before leaving for school, after dropping off my son at the sitter's, while sitting in the nurse's room pumping during lunch, upon reentering the mess of my house at the end of the school day, after burning dinner because I needed to nurse my son, before going to bed- I cried about anything, and everything.

I spent my weekends trying to play catch-up.  At times, we cooked all weekend and froze meals to last a month.  I lesson planned two weeks in advance. My husband helped me grade the papers I ignored during the school days.  We washed loads and loads of clothes, and loads and loads of dishes.  I nursed on demand to increase my supply, but still, I felt myself slipping further and further behind.  So many days, I wanted to walk into the principal's office and quit.    By the end of the school year, I had composed an apology letter to the parents of my students because I felt so guilty about everything I had done poorly at school, and was relieved that we were moving away and I wouldn't have to face any of them anymore at church and pretend my life was okay.

Since I've been staying home, I've had a much different experience.  I'm not going to say that my house is never untidy, or that I never make poor parenting decisions, or that I never burn dinner.  Those things still happen from time to time.  But I'm happier here, and therefore, so is my family.  I have fewer jobs to do, and I can do them better than I could when I was working.  I can't imagine ever going back to that lifestyle, no matter how old my son gets, or how bored  and lonely I get.  I can do this,and often, I can do it well. That's a reality I'm not willing to compromise.

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