Over the weekend, and almost all of this week, I have been in a stupor regarding what I "should" be doing. This most recent seizure and subsequent, immobilization of my psyche was prompted by two managers who cornered me on the last day of my meeting in Palm Springs, and asked point blank, "What do you want to do? You know you'll need to make a decision, soon. Right?"
My peaceful world wobbled and fell off it's axis.
Career. Opportunity. Relocation. A Decision.
I've known that I need to make a Decision soon. But this is the first time that I've been TOLD that I need to make a Decision soon.
I stink at making Decisions.
One of my bosses, the more senior of the two said, "You are very talented. We could really use you in a number of locations within our corporation. In fact, I think we could use Charlie, too. For the past several years, you have been leading a very eclectic life. And while that is admirable, you are living a mainstream life - while being out of the mainstream. Right now, you have the opportunity to give your family more stability."
Then for the swift kick that sent my peaceful world rolling out the door where it was run over by a semi-truck, "Do you want to move? Yes or no? Do you want to work full-time? Yes or no?"
I couldn't make eye contact.
I was fixated on a bird sitting on the top frond of a palm tree outside of the pool. In a span of five seconds I tried to dig deep in to my soul and come up with the right answer.
What do I want to do?
What is the right choice for my family?
When it became clear that he wasn't going to move until I provided an answer, I blurted out, "Can I use one of my life lines? Uh. Maybe call a friend?"
It seems that there is a potential opportunity for me in Virginia in the middle of next year. Management wants me to consider this job. I have no idea what I want, even though the idea of living closer to family and in an area with changing seasons is appealing. My mind changes throughout the day. I ponder and pray at night and wake up with one decision, only to have my mind change five times before I've even climbed out of bed.
Add to that, the children's Montessori teacher pulled me aside today and said that they have three spaces available in the nap room. The option is available for us to leave the children at school for six hours a day as opposed to three. I can't believe I'm even considering this but the part-time schedule is pure torture.
The delusion I had of having three hours of "free" time to myself in the morning has yet to come to fruition. Not once have I jaunted off to the store - or to the gym. Usually, I'm trying to clean up from breakfast and lunch preparation, take the baby down from the table, make beds, get myself and the baby dressed, take the baby down from the table, play with the baby, throw in a load of laundry, take the baby down from the table, tidy up miscellaneous piles, and get Henry settled in for a nap.
I hardly have time to get anything else accomplished in those three hours during the morning, before it's time to go pick up the kids. And even then, I'm usually five minutes late. Twice in the past week, I've had to wake up a (finally) sleeping baby so I could go get his siblings from school. I'm sure it would be less painful to stab myself in the hand with dull scissors.
Was my life easier before school or is it easier now?
I really can't tell. It feels like I am constantly running around trying to get things accomplished. And even though I'm moving nonstop and sleeping very little - I'm not getting half the things done that need to get done.
Grocery shopping? If I'm lucky.
Laundry? Maybe but probably not.
My list for thank you notes is a mile long.
And the resulting guilt when I do something like blog or sit and stare at dirty grout, when I should be working or playing with the children or talking to my husband about "Oh my God, what should we DO?!" is debilitating.
People have been telling me that when the kids go to school, life will be easier. When I hire help and have people come clean the house, life will be easier. Currently, I have our children in school AND I have someone coming to clean the house. And thus far, life is not any easier. If anything, it is more complicated and I feel more driven to work so that we can afford all of these "conveniences."
Now, the option is there to send the kids to school full-time.
I feel like I'm on a slippery slope.
This isn't what I wanted to have happen, I think they're too young, but it seems so tempting.
Six hours a day.
The additional cost of full time school is so marginal, it's not even worth discussion. But since our children's energy stores are exploding, I've enrolled them in gymnastics one day a week and swimming lessons twice a week. At this point, our children's education and extracurricular activities is equivalent to our mortgage.
It's a fact.
Financially, I can't stay home and send our children to school. I also can't send our children to school full time on some days, and not on others. This particular program is five days a week so it's all or nothing. And although there are other preschool programs, I've already invested a lot in this particular one, so I don't want to make a change. Unless, that change is to terminate school altogether. But that seems wrong.
What really bothers me is that my patience with the children seems so slim.
Why is that? Wouldn't it make sense that if I was gone for them for longer stretches during the day, I would embrace them and all of their completely irrational four-year-old behavior when we were reunited? Why do they annoy me? I feel like I am spread so thin and the best that I have to give is subdivided upon far too many entities.
Although one might think that with all of my "free" time, the time I have with the children is focused. But it's not. I'm distracted by the next thing that needs to be done. Dinner preparation. Baths. Putting the mail away so that the kids don't open random bills, and cover them with scribbles from a purple crayon and pumpkin stickers.
Yet even though just one of our children, let alone all three, has the ability to drive fruit flies from a rotting banana, I really miss them. I miss our outings to the zoo and the library and play dates and various parks with picnics at random times throughout the day. Is it possible that the small window of opportunity for unstructured free time, before they were pulled away from me and in to a rigorous daily routine has already
On our current schedule - or proposed schedule - it certainly seems that way.
I feel like I have very little time with them anymore. Except for those days when they are home sick from the most recent virus they picked up at school. I have a bit of time in the morning during breakfast. A bit of time in the afternoon before I wrestle with them to take a nap. A bit of time in the evening when I'm trying to prepare dinner and keep them away from the hot stove because yes!! it! is! hot!! must you burn yourself again to know that your mother speaks the truth?!
I really want to be one of those women who have a passion about their career - or know in their heart that absolutely, they could give their children everything that they could learn at school and more. I want to be one of those women who knows the best and right thing to do. I want conviction. I am so afraid that if I stop working and pull the children out of school, the visions I have for success will not match our reality.
And then what?
I'll be unemployed during a dire economic time and the children under my tutelage will have glued their eyes closed with an adhesive stick that they thought was sunscreen.