Thursday, September 23, 2010

progress report v.2

Two days ago, I received a call from my former boss in California.


During the course of our conversation, he casually mentioned that it looks like the work they are doing on the west coast will in fact be going on for quite some time, and he will be there for a while. This is in stark contrast to what I heard just a few months ago, when we made the decision to pack up our entire lives and move east on eight weeks notice.

In the midst of everything else we had going on.

Later that night, as I was driving home in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I thought about the job I had in California. A job which I loved and allowed me to work FROM THE HOME so I could be with our children. I never faced traffic, unless I forgot what time it was when I ventured off to the grocery store for wine and chocolate. And all things pleasant.

When I arrived home on Tuesday night, I actually cried myself to sleep.

Not because I dislike my new job, but because I see the kids for half an hour in the morning, and an hour at night, and once they go to sleep, I'm surrounded by a house that needs SO.MUCH.WORK. and I'm so tired, but I can't go to bed, because if I don't do something, it's never going to get done and oh my gosh, how the heck did I get here?

But wait. That's not entirely accurate.

Because I'm genuinely HAPPY to be here.


I'm not sure how to describe my emotions over the past few days, except to say that I feel very confused and fragile. The slightest things will set me off in to tears. Which is probably normal considering I am adjusting to a completely and totally different life.

A life where I work in an office and my children are in school and I'm surrounded by all things new and exciting. And I really think I might be mourning the loss of my pregnancy. Which, I kinda thought that gut wrenching sadness would be over by now?

Lucky for me, and perhaps those within a certain radial distance of me, I have a lot of positive things to focus upon. For instance, I really adore our new neighborhood and house. And for as much as I adore our new neighborhood and house, our children adore it even more.

It makes me so happy to see how happy they are.


They've asked me countless times, "Please Mom, can we stay here forever?" And Henry, the child who kept telling me, as we were bouncing around from one hotel to the next, "I want go HOME, Mom!" will point at our house whenever we are outside and knowingly say, "That HENRY house! That MY home!"

I'm really enjoying my new job and I see so much potential for the good things I will hopefully contribute to the organization. Despite the back and forth debate that I wage with myself everyday about, "Why am I working when I could be home with my children?" and "What is the purpose for a woman to go to college if she ultimately has children and then is faced with the dilemma of career?" and "Am I doing The Right Thing, have I done The Right Thing, and WHAT EXACTLY IS THE RIGHT THING?"

Cheese and Crackers!

Will I figure out "The Right Thing", before our children graduate high school?

Maybe I just need some time to get settled in to our house and a routine and voila I'll find harmony with the work-life balance?


In the meantime, I'll admit that the time I do spend with my family is so much more precious than it has ever been, before. I savor the time that I can spend just sitting reading a book to the children - or scratching their backs - or talking with my husband. I feel so blessed and lucky to have them and to be here, and that we're all healthy and well.

Did I love them this much when I was with them all the time??

Tough to remember...

But on the drive home from work, when I see a helicopter land on top of a hospital and I spot a medical crew waiting on the roof, I break down and cry for the life and lives that have been flipped upside down. Whenever I pull over for an ambulance with it's lights flashing and siren blaring, I cry some more. And when I see the leaves on the trees turn from green...


To brown ...

I cry when I think of the passage of time.


And all the raking we'll soon have to do.


  1. Been there (as in starting life over in a whole new part of the country) several times in recent years and I can definitely confirm that what you're feeling is totally normal. Feeling good about a move does not negate the fact that you miss where you came from. In my experience, it takes about a year to really start to feel like you belong where you are. Try to be patient with yourself.

  2. Hang in there, and don't beat yourself up about feeling like you should be over your pregnancy loss. I found that mourning for my miscarriage happened many times over the course of at least a year, at moments when I least expected it. The due date was especially hard. To help me get through that time, I set up what I hope to be an annual event of donating to a children's charity. It's something I plan to do every year to commemorate the pregnancy, no matter how long it lasted.

    It will get easier -- in the meantime, your body is still going through a lot. Sending you good thoughts!

  3. You guys made the right decision!

  4. Oh Jen. It doesn't get any easier leaving your kids, I've been in your shoes and they hurt - and like all Mums who work hard - you are still doing stuff at home instead of doing the manly thing of just falling on the couch expecting dinner.

    I think it's a pretty cruel thing for your ex boss to tell you. Tell you in 6 months when you have found your feet and aren't as overwhelmed by the changes that have all occured at once.

    Also - since I'm giving my opinion - I don't think a Mother appreciates her family as much when they are at home with them all day as when they are away constantly. This will no doubt incite some women - and frankly I don't care. Stay at home Mums seem to spend all their time trying to fill in the hours, working women tend to spend all their time trying to find more hours - and this goes double with time spent with the kids. Unfortunate fact of life. And more than likely you went to Uni so you could get a job you like.

  5. jen, is there anyway you can apply for flex time? i know it's a new position, but with the same company no?
    when i was still working fulltime, what saved my sanity was changing my hours from 8am-4pm with 2 days a week from home. you'd be amazed at how much less traffic there can be if you leave even an hour earlier (and you WILL learn all the side roads/tricks/etc....for avoiding bumper to bumper). i worked at an office that was located between the lincoln & holland tunnel entrances on the jersey side, and whew, that was some crazy stuff. why someone would put a corporate office there was beyond me (i suspect they got a great deal on rent!).
    you're doing an amazing job already .. it's all going to fall into place.

  6. You remind me so much of my own self, poring over all the pros and cons of a choice, thinking it through and through to the point of exhaustion and then, as if that's not enough, looking for signs that you made the right or wrong decision once you've finally decided. It will truly send you round the bend. I just wish I knew some way of letting it all go and going with the tide. I haven't figured it out yet.

    Now, here's the thing:
    There are a million reasons why you should have stayed in CA and would have been happy if you had. And there are a million reasons why you should have moved and will be happy that you did. You were presented with two wonderful, though very different choices. Sometimes, that is harder than having to choose the lesser of two evils.

    As for miscarriage, for some of us, the pain never really goes away. It just lies dormant and then resurfaces at the least expected moments. I've lost five and in spite of having four kids and in spite of having lost my first baby 15 years ago and the last nearly 7 years ago, the sadness of those losses still comes back from time to time.

  7. Time will take care of it. Just try to focus on the wonderful things that you have and will experience and know that no matter how much you may think you want to go back to the way things were-- you can't. It is never the same. People change, your family grows and changes and where you are is where you are meant to be. ((hugs))

  8. I lost a baby within days of your loss. We also had somewhat of a hectic summer (not as hectic as yours!) and I recovered well. But as my November 3 due date gets closer, I find myself feeling it more and more. It is becoming harder again. I would have a big belly by now. Baby Graham's nursery would be all ready for him. My 7 year-old could stop his nightly prayers (for four years straight now) for a sibling. Instead, I am not pregnant, the room is closed and a mess, and my son still prays every single night for a baby. We're still trying, praying that we can have another before my husband's mom dies from cancer. I think she will make November....I don't know how much longer, though. So, give yourself a break. You have A LOT going on, and it is natural to feel extra emotional as you get closer to your due date. Also, I am a working mom. My husband works, too. I hate it, but it's a financial necessity. I feel the same tug you do and have changed jobs twice to take lower salaries in exchange for more time. I have more earning capacity because of my profession, so it's not like I will ever be able to quit. I feel it, too, though. I have managed to get my boss to allow me to do four 10 hour days. Much faster commute in the mornings since I get in early, and I spend three days in a row with my family every weekend. Maybe in time your job could offer some flexibility in schedule? Sorry for the long comment...just want you to know you are not alone in how you feel.

  9. "Why am I working when I could be home with my children?" and "What is the purpose for a woman to go to college if she ultimately has children and then is faced with the dilemma of career?" and "Am I doing The Right Thing, have I done The Right Thing, and WHAT EXACTLY IS THE RIGHT THING?"
    If you can figure out the answers to these questions, you won't need to work because every woman will PAY you for the answers. In the meantime, know that you are not alone in asking these questions, even though it will feel as though you are, because you are too busy to actually go talk to other women who have the same questions.

  10. Jen: Two words... LEAF BLOWER!!

  11. maybe you could get a talking book to listen to in your car to help pass the time and make it less boring
    Hope that helps
    Donna (uk)

  12. Hi Jen; Will you please calm down.
    Passing of time is a good thing, your children are growing so fast, the best is really yet to come. Think of the school years the new things they will learn the happiness you and Charlie provide for them, feel bad when they start to drive, go out on a date,how about the first prom that no one askes them to, your in a great place, what adventure your going to have, you will look back and remember all of this, so BE HAPPY, the leaves are just changing their clothes, your not in that helicopter, that person will survive. Get back to the positive and forget the negitive. think girl think.

  13. Auntie: Are you serious? I need to think and calm down? Really??

    Do you remember the day that you were visiting us in the hotel room and Henry fell asleep on my lap and you said, "Oh my goodness, I'd never believe the bond between you two if I hadn't seen it for myself." And then, you said, "How could you ever leave this baby? He is so attached to you. You can't leave this child. He needs you!"

    Don't think for a minute I don't feel that exact same way every single day.

  14. PS: I'm not being negative. Or, at least, I'm not trying to be negative. I think the leaves changing colors are wonderful ... but it's just another sign of the passage of time.

    Time is clipping past so fast. Our terrific trio will be SIX in less than three weeks. They'll soon be telling their age on TWO hands. Yes, I know the best is yet to come. But I'm enjoying THIS time with them so much, and darn it - I want them to be little forever.

    So there.

    I said it!

  15. So you take the leaves you rake, make a pile and jump in! Isn't that what life is about.

    If you spend your time analyzing your past you take energy and time away from the here and now.

    You are SO lucky you SEE the time passing, so many don't see it and truly regret later that they were not able to cherish the small moments.

    I have a long drive to work too. It can be stressful but it is the time of day that is ALL MINE! I appreciate it for what it is.

    Aunt Grace is right about relaxing. Enjoy each moment as though it's the last and enjoy each day as each day presents its offerings.

    We all want our children to never grow up...but each age brings great challenges, surprises and satisfactions. Ones that you will anticipate and hold on to. It's all a part of the journey and as parents we know they are coming and have to accept it.

    Keep smilin'

  16. OK I know this sounds trite but the big kids are in school at least part of the time you're at work.
    Henry gets to develop a very special Henry Dad relationship.

    Hopefully at some point the powers that think they are will realize that you can work from home just as well as you can sitting in a cube.

    And last but not least yes you should still be grieving the loss of your pregnancy. It was another Henry miracle, it's just that this one didn't work out. I KNOW there's another Henry miracle lurking in you life. You and Charlie deserve it SO MUCH. Please give yourself a break and think about seeing a therapist for one or two sessions to help you move past the pain and grief that you have every right to still be dealing with.

  17. I am a stay at home mom to a sixteen year old daughter (and a nineteen year old son at Marine Corps boot camp) Yes, I am one of those moms who chose not to return to work as long as I had a child at home (except for a 2 year stint when I went back part time). I can't remember the last time I strggled to fill my day. I volunteer in the high scool and the grade school (where I have no children but I am the art lady). I give time to charity work and my church each week.
    Of course there have been days when I did not enjoy every minute with my kids (a working mother has NEVER had a moment like that?) but I cherish and enjoy them and thank God every night for the privilege of having a front row seat to watch my kids enjoy this journey of life.

    Motherhood is hard. And when stay at home moms and working moms can't support each others' choices, it just adds struggles that don't need to be there. Support from each other is vital.
    Oh, the stereotypes we give each other.....

    As for the college degree, I have one. I have not considered it a waste. It will serve me when I choose to go back to work or, God forbid, if my husband can't work and I need to go back. My choice works for me.

    I encourage you to be kind to yourself on the housework and projects; at least until you regain your footing.

  18. It's normal to take a while for adjusting after a major move - a year and then some. Plus you have had so much else going on. Hang in there.