SMRT

Here’s the thing. I am thinking about quitting my job and staying home for awhile – basically hanging out with Anika and really trying to focus on my family. I mean, I think it’s true that you can’t go through something like losing a child without getting a big old reality check slap in the face – “hey lady, make sure you are doing what’s important eh?”

Now, first off let me just say that we are incredibly blessed. We’ve been lucky with our jobs and money and stuff and I don’t actually need to work. I know that is not something that a lot of people, especially in this economy, can say and I am *profoundly* grateful to have this as a choice.

We’d always more or less planned that when Oliver was born, I’d take my year of mat leave and then would stop working and be home for awhile. When I went back to work after Anika was born it was pretty clear that maintaining life (cooking, cleaning, etc.) while working incredibly stressful and busy jobs, not to mention taking care of the toddler = WAY TOO BUSY. It wasn’t fun – we made it harder on ourselves then we should have, I think, but it wasn’t fun. Anika is in a school that’s a bit of a commute away – that was a lack of daycare thing more than a conscious decision to plant her half an hour away from where we live/work, but anyway. And we decided not to get a cleaning service or anything like that. All of this amounted to us spending way too much time driving, eating dinner at ten o’clock at night, spending our weekends cleaning and trying to cram in quality time with Anika (“Ani! Help mama clean the boot trays!”).

The result was a big old fail, I think. We were stressed; we were busy; we had no time for each other. It wasn’t what we wanted; we knew that and we had a plan for when it would stop.

So anyway, we lived with it because we “knew” it would be for a shortish time. Oliver would be born; I’d stay home; life would get better.

Then the world blew up. And now here I am on the other side with a rather large decision to make and a whole new perspective on the situation.

On the one hand, we could simply revise some of the things we were doing before. Move Ani to a closer daycare (possible now that she’s a toddler – there’s more programs for older kids). Hire a cleaning service so that our weekends aren’t absorbed with trying to stay on top of the house. And it’s possible that this would make things easier.

But on the other hand….my gosh is life ever short. And I adore my daughter. And I miss her so much, and soon she’ll be at school and these aren’t years I’ll get back. And my job is so stressful. It’s rewarding too, but it’s stressful. And long hours. And also I still feel so very broken in some ways – I can’t quite imagine caring about it anymore, you know?

People keep saying not to make “snap decisions”. But it isn’t a snap decision, not really. I mean, we were planning to do it before Oliver died. Is the old decision invalid because he isn’t here anymore?

Part of it too is that I think I’m afraid of what people will think. That people will think “Oh, she used to be so smart, such a good manager, but then this happened and she couldn’t hack it so she faded out.” Does it matter what other people think? Do I care really? Does choosing to put my family first and step back from a career I worked really hard for make me stupid? Is choosing not to use my degree right now something that falls into the not smart category?

I mean, I know it doesn’t really but I’m worried that I’ll feel that way.

I just don’t know – I feel at a total loss to know how to make smart decisions about this. I know that if I’m home I will absolutely be able to take better care of my family. I think that families need a caretaker – someone to organize things, keep the house running smoothly, make sure everyone gets to eat, etc. When there’s two of you these things kind of just happen. In the very very best situations the spouses are evenly matched and make things tick perfectly together. In the more real situations, when two parents are swamped with work and life there are things that just do get dropped – best intentions aside. And I’m not saying at all that this means that one person needs to be a stay at home type. I’m just saying that collectively, the family needs to figure out how they are going to get all the bits and pieces taken care of – a flight plan or something that covers the bases.

Is wanting to try to step back from the rat race and just focus on my family a bad idea? Is it a bad idea to make that decision now, given what we’ve just been through? Is quitting my job an artificial means of saying “the world needs to be different now because my son died, and hey, here’s a good way to make sure life looks NOTHING like it did before?”

I find I’m working through a lot of what’s happened pretty well….but this one I’m having a really hard time with.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. When we got pregnant, I finally thought-phew. No more decisions for a while. Once we picked a daycare I thought, we can’t move or get new jobs or any of that with a newborn, so we get to just.plain.be. Then we lost the twins and all of the sudden i wanted to change everything-new job, new house-whatever I could get my hands on.
    If I could-I would do the same thing as you-I would totally stay home!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Catherine on May 24, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Me too Christy. It’s hard. I wish I could afford to stay at home all the time. Like you, I am not entirely clear about my motivations for wanting to stay at home. Perhaps I also want to draw a line after my daughter’s death and ensure that nothing about my life is the same in the ‘after’. Perhaps I have simply ‘lost my nerve’. I know that I no longer care about my job the way that I used to, it seems very futile in the light of what has happened to me and my family. I dread having to face all my colleagues.

    I hope you come to the right decision for you and your family.

    Reply

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