So I mentioned I left my job. Life had gotten so chaotic. I stopped being the mother I know I can be. We all have days when we're 'less than' mothers. Less than we know we could be. Less than we know we should be. Less than we'd hoped and dreamed of being. It's normal. But my 'less than' days were becoming my norm. Something had to give.
We'd wanted me to stay home from the time the boys were born. But god. Life is expensive. So I went back to work. The first six months I was back at work were completely heartbreaking. I hated leaving them. At first I just worked a little. A small position. Eighteen hours. Mostly from home. I got used to it, and it was okay. Within a year, I somehow found myself back in my old position, except instead of doing the job in forty hours, I was trying to cram it into twenty five. It was stressful. I was struggling to maintain balance, but we made it work. Then Anwen was born. My game changer. I had a three month maternity leave. It was Spring and beautiful, and although I was adjusting to three under three, life was peaceful. Near the end of my three months, I started to panic. I didn't want to go back. Anwen wouldn't take a bottle, and I didn't want to leave her. When the day came for me to return, I brought her with me. I promised I'd work to get her to take a bottle. Week after week, she refused, and week after week I showed up at work with my baby wrapped cozily on my chest. When Anwen was five months old, my boss asked me to bump my hours up to thirty per week. I was falling behind. I felt like a 'less than' mother at home and a 'less than' employee at work. Somewhere in between ear infections and twin two year old's who loved to murmur "I wuv you" in my ear, I had lost my passion for the work I was being paid to do. But I was scared to leave. I said yes to the thirty hours. It was the best mistake I've ever made.
For two months, I struggled to work thirty hours a week. My employers were so flexible with me. I was lucky. Although I worked mostly from home, I went in to the office about once a week. Each time, I'd show up with Anwen, who by now was crawling and making her presence known with loud exclamations of "AHHH!" throughout the day. I'd work at home at night when the kids were sleeping. During nap times. Our home life became total chaos. My time home with the kids was spent trying to frantically play catch up. Instead of playing with the boys, I was stripping beds and throwing in loads of laundry. Folding baskets full of clean clothes that had become wrinkled from sitting ignored for days, while the boys sat and watched tv. I was miserable and bitter. I resented everything.
Finally, it was clear Anwen couldn't come in to the office with me any more. She'd outstayed her welcome. I knew this day would come, but I had made no arrangements. She still wouldn't take a bottle. I had no desire to put her in any form of child care.
In the background, Kyle and I had been planning and restructuring our finances. For two and a half years, we chipped away at getting things in order. We sat down and looked at the numbers. It would be tight, but we thought we could make it work.
I gave my notice. Two and a half weeks.
Our house was a revolving door of sickness for those last eighteen days, culminating with my catching pneumonia just in time for my last week. I missed more than half the week, sick at home, feeling depressed and feverish. My last day came. I hobbled into the office, wearing a sick and cranky Anwen. It was completely anti-climatic, overshadowed by my seventh day of totally untreated pneumonia. (Which in itself could be another post entirely, but I'll spare you. Let's just say two doctors who told me "Just a cold!" three days apart were quite off the mark.)
That was Thursday.
Today it's Monday. My system is heavy with antibiotics for which I couldn't be more grateful. But more than that, the relief has set in. I've never felt more complete. I have over ten loads of laundry to fold. Several projects...several...waiting to be finished. All in good time. I took the kids to a nearby park with my mother. We had a picnic lunch. We played on the playground. It was the happiest I've felt since my last days of maternity leave. We came home and I tucked my sleepy boys into their beds. I picked up some toys.
I'm happy. I'm so, so happy.