When the triplets were born, and after I took off a year for maternity leave, I returned to work part-time. Because the thought of having someone come in and look after the babies made my throat dry and my eyes wet, Charlie reduced his schedule to part-time, also.
The decision that we would both work part-time wasn't something we had concocted while I was pregnant or during that year off. It was something that we came up with when our only other option was for me to quit my job. Which, I wasn't prepared to do for a plethora of reasons I'll write about some other time.
I've been on maternity leave since June 25 of last year.
I'm scheduled to return to work again, part-time, on May 1st.
I was supposed to return in October of 2007, but decided that I would opt for six months of leave without pay. I was then supposed to return to work on April 1st, but because I'd be required to attend a meeting out of state - the very next week - and my father and sister would be flying out to visit around the same time, I petitioned management to grant me another month off, which they graciously did.
Since I've been home, Charlie has dived in to a new job. He opened an office for a company in San Diego and is doing a stellar job. Whereas he once was home with me a large portion of the day, he is now in the office - working hard.
Since Charlie has been gone during the day, I have become the house master. Everything is done my way. A way that has slowly evolved to an exact science.
A way that is precise and accurate and if
Since Charlie has been working full-time, I've become more control-freakish about things in the house (and car and all things kid-related) then I ever have before. I feel like when things are where they are supposed to be and done when they are supposed to be, I am better prepared to have a day with flawless execution.
The last thing that I want is to be out somewhere and it gets chilly and I reach for the sweatshirts I packed for the children - only to find that they were removed from the car because of some asinine reason that makes absolutely no sense.
How! DARE! Anyone! Move! The! Sweatshirts! I! Packed! For! The! Children!
With all this time that I have been spending at home, running the show, I have become a lot more critical of Charlie. The poor guy can hardly do anything without me jumping down his throat or all over his back.
The night before I left for Florida, we were planning to have our Wills notarized and then grab dinner at a local restaurant. While I was meeting with the notary, I suggested that Charlie go buy a bottle of water - or some kind of drink - for the children. It was hot, they were thirsty and I wouldn't be finished up for another 10 or so minutes.
My husband left and returned 30 minutes later.
When I got in to the car, only slightly annoyed that he was gone for so long - especially when I still had packing to do - I became extremely annoyed when I saw that each of the children were holding 48-ounce cups full of lemonade from Wendy's. And when he told me that he had spent $8.00 on these drinks, there isn't an adjective in the English language to adequately characterize just how annoyed I became.
The kids were completely full on drinks. Charlie drove home while I chastised him from the passenger seat, and I wound up going to bed famished because I never did eat dinner. As I dozed off, I was thinking to myself "That'll show him! I'm hungry and it's all his fault!!"
Today, Carolyn and William didn't receive their morning dosage of amoxocillin.
I had asked Charlie to give William Tylenol. Somewhere in my mind, I was also thinking "Give him his amoxocillin, too." And if he was giving William his antibiotic, he should also give it to Carolyn. Because that's what I would do. I am perfect and extremely good at reading people's minds.
In retrospect, I didn't make it crystal clear that Charlie needed to give this particular medication to the children. But when I found out at 2 PM that the kids didn't receive their 7 AM dosage, I called my husband at work and threw out words like "Blinding incompetence."
If I had been on the other end of that conversation, I would have shot back words like "Unending bitchiness" but Charlie is far too respectful to say something like that.
It's all about control.
It's about wanting things to be done a certain way.
It's about wanting someone to drive the way I drive.
Clean the way I clean.
Discipline the way I discipline.
Shop the way I shop.
Fold the way I fold.
Spend money the way I spend money. Or not.
There are seven children in my family. Five of them are girls. Of those girls, three of them have been divorced. One of them twice. My mother has been divorced once, and my father has just completed his second divorce. One of my brothers has been with the same wonderful woman for the past - 25? years - they have three children together - and he won't get married because he is so jaded over the whole "nuptial" thing.
Even though divorce is common - and sometimes it is necessary - I strongly believe in marriage. I believe that in order for a marriage to work (or any relationship for that matter), there has to be - first and foremost - respect. There has to be time spent, everyday, talking to each other (as opposed to "at" each other), and there has to be common interests and laughter. There also has to be time for ones own self.
It can be very difficult at times.
It can become even more difficult when you have children. Whether there is one offspring, or twenty, marriage evolves in a way that you never imagined it would. There are new expectations and demands on each person when the couple-centered roll of "wife" and "husband" evolve to "mommy" and "daddy." Or, "Jenny" and "Charlie" as our children have taken to calling us.
Truth be told, I am apprehensive about returning to work part-time. I am apprehensive about the possibility of traveling on business, I am apprehensive about being gone from the children, I am apprehensive about Charlie's ability to do "this" everyday.
But I am also looking forward to the prospect of traveling on business and being gone, just a little bit, from the kids. Mostly, I am looking forward to sharing the responsibilities of running this house more equally with my husband, once again. I am looking forward to giving up some of this control, if only in my mind. I suspect it will be good for me, but even better for our marriage.
And if it isn't, I've heard good things about electric shock therapy.