Wednesday, May 07, 2008

it's not just me

Today was my first real day back to work. Last Thursday didn't really count because I dropped my computer off for updates and then spent the rest of the day at the Long Beach Aquarium.

But today, still computerless, I spent an entire day in a meeting. The first two hours of the meeting were spent on a conference call. Twenty minutes in to it, while my co-workers were going back and forth on an issue that has persisted since before I went on maternity leave (the first time), I shot Charlie - who was at swimming lessons with the children - a text message from my phone.

"How RU?"

The conference call continued. While I sat there, listening to issues that I suspect will never be completely resolved and which will only cause great heartache and headache and pain because as soon as they come close to being resolved, they will evolve in to different issues that will require meetings and e-mails and conference calls, I couldn't help but think that if I wasn't sitting right there at that very moment, I would be with my wonderful, beautiful children - who I missed very much - coercing them to pee in the shower at the Y.

I sent my husband another text message.

"I am ready to turn my cell phone over to my boss and walk out."

When he still didn't respond, I sent another one.

"Why the heck am I doing this again??"

Then seconds later, another one.

"The kids need ME more than they need Montessori school."

A half hour later, I sent another one.

"RU ignoring me?"

Then 10 minutes later...

"This isn't getting any better. Plz call school and get our $$ back."

When I still didn't hear from Charlie, I excused myself from the meeting and called my husband. I told him that I had reservations about being back at work. Why was I doing this to myself?? Why did I have myself convinced that it was so important for the kids to go to school? We could afford for me to stay home. Why was I spending time sitting in a meeting regarding something that was nowhere as important as spending time with my children??


Instead of supporting my immediate decision to quit, Charlie told me that he loved being home. He LOVED it. He wanted to arm wrestle me to stay home because he could seriously see doing this every single day, he loved it so much. He wasn't feeling short tempered with the kids, not even when they wet their pants and two soaked our couch. Unlike me, when they did the same exact thing the day before and I envisioned hurling all three of them over our back fence before calling my husband at work and telling him to bring home lots of wine.

Charlie didn't even think Henry would need to be nursed at lunch time, today, because he was doing so well. Then he told me that the kids are getting older and they need school. They need the structure. They need the time apart from each other. They need that small break during the day away from us. He urged me to give it a little more time. He guaranteed that very soon, I would appreciate my time away.

By the end of the day, I had found my groove. The conference call was finally over and I was discussing all of my projects, that I have worked on for the past 10 years, with excitement and enthusiasm. There is so much to do!! We have meetings with regulators scheduled and more meetings with property owners and attorneys. I get to order new business cards and a new cell phone and a new day planner and a wireless card for my laptop that is illuminated blue!!

At around 4 PM, I called Charlie to check in and see how he was doing. He whispered that Henry had finally fallen asleep five minutes prior and this was the first time, all day, that he had any quiet in the house. In the span of our three minute conversation - when Charlie told me that taking care of the triplets is one full-time job, but taking care of Henry is a full-time job in and of itself ... all four of the children woke up and were crying. When I told him that I was leaving and I'd be home soon, he gave a deep sigh and said "Oh Thank God." Then he urged me to please bring home wine.

Lots of wine.

He is truly amazing. Not only did he talk me down from the ledge of throwing in the towel on my career today, he juggles the morning fruit ... before using it to make fresh juice.

So what if he took the kids to swimming in his pajama bottoms because he never had a spare moment to get dressed? (Oh, but I kid.)


  1. Wow. Excellent post.

    You are so lucky to be able to have your hubby home with the kiddos. I tried to go back to work when Mia was 2, but with both of us working full time jobs, it was so insane I quit after 4 months.

    Congrats on finding your groove!

  2. Nothing like a morning laugh with a knot in your throat:) I wish I could find that balance!

  3. there are parts of me that just need to hear it is hard for someone else to watch/be with/entertain/discipline etc my kids...sometimes i find comfort in that! :) glad you are enjoying work...and this will make charlie appreciate you even more too and you him! :)

  4. i recently returned to work part time from maternity leave.

    i got a good chuckle from your comment about still discussing the same issues from before your first maternity leave.

    same here :)

  5. Wow, your family is entering a new season, which is always hard and a bit scary but exciting too.

    Also? Perhaps your husband loves being home so much because he's newer to it? Because it's all still fresh and fun?

    Just a thought...

  6. Such a good post! Thanks so much for your kind comment the other day. I read through some of your posts and had to laugh out loud when you wrote about taking up running again. Seriously, they just said run 2 miles and we'll stand here and laugh, I mean time you???

    As much as I hate to admit it, when I started running I could actually walk a mile faster than I could run it. Yup, that does wonders for your self esteem!

  7. Whenever I leave town for a couple days and I come home and find my husband has everything in perfect order I have mixed emotions - thankful that he is capable and everything went so well, and frustrated that he thinks it is so easy and still doesn't understand what it is like to be home day in and day out when everyday is not a McDonalds dinner, play at the park, not having to refold the laundry for the 1000th time, relax all afternoon and watch a movie day! (Don't get me wrong, I love being home with my kids. But I'm sure you understand that there are days when they drive me nuts!)

  8. You've taught him well. ;-)