If Something’s Gotta Give, Let It

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Need a good scream? Go ahead. Need to let something go? That’s ok, too.

“Something’s gotta give. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m at my breaking pount… AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

When I saw this status update from a dear friend today, my heart ached. Not only because I care about her, but because that could have easily been me a mere six months ago. I feel ya sister!

Not very long ago, I was at my breaking point. Friends were worried about me. Family was worried about me. My boss was worried about me. I was an empty shell, floating back and forth between work and home, the hours, days, weeks and months passing me by. I was physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted. Something had to give. And not just something minor (those things had already been given up). Something major. 

I was faced with three choices. With the flames roaring and threatening my soul, I had to turn off the burner to one of the three biggest irons in my fire. Work. Marriage. Children. Although the choice was difficult because I loved all three, it was obvious. 

My marriage wasn’t going anywhere, and neither were my children. I tried to slowly let go of my career by choosing to step down from my director position. But turning the heat from “high” to “medium high” doesn’t do much for you if the pot’s boiling over. 

So, I turned it off. Let it cool down, and removed it from the range. And contrary to what I expected, the world didn’t end. Life went on. Things weren’t the same, but that’s ok. And you know what? Guess what I was able to move to the front burners? My marriage and children. Right where they should have been. And the back burners have been opened up for some new opportunities, ones that will bring in a little income, but won’t be all-consuming.

Sometimes, I miss my coworkers, my fast-paced career and the sense of fulfillment. At times, when I’m going through the motions of mundane domestic tasks, I even miss the heat, the pressure of keeping so many irons in that fire. But looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. 

So, if something’s gotta give, let it. It may not be as major as what I relinquished, but even a minor change might make a big difference. When your hands are full, how can God bless you with anything new? 

 

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Outsourced: Paying For Childcare When You’re An At-Home Parent

Our budding WNBA star.

At 4 a.m., I saw my husband off to work. I made him a cup of coffee to go, and watched him drive away on a 1.5 hour commute to his job site. A job site where he would be outdoors nearly all day in 100 plus degree heat, only to take short breaks in the air conditioned job trailer before heading back out into the blistering sun. He’s a hard worker, as hard as they come. I’m sure he would have loved to outsource part of his job today…like I did.

That’s right. I took my toddler to her old daycare, and kept the baby home with me. So technically, I outsourced half of my job. Why? Because I felt it was the best thing for my family, to give her much-needed social time, give me a little breathing room to work on a few projects, and give the baby some one-on-one time with momma.

When my former (amazing) childcare provider notified me of a temporary part-time opening, I jumped on it. It’s probably only going to be one day a week, and that’s just about right. She misses her friends there, and thrives on interaction with other kids her age. Besides, when you’re seven miles from any community, opportunities for regular play dates don’t always work out.

Even though our provider is very affordable, and I’m doing what I can to make up the difference, I still feel a bit guilty. My husband tells me he’s okay with this arrangement, but my wifey senses tell me he struggles with it, too. We’re on a tight budget, and can we really afford to pay for supplemental childcare?

I feel like I need to justify this decision to anyone and everyone who’ll listen. But why? If the girls are happy, I’m happy, and the bills are paid, what does it matter? If it all works out, I think I’ll be quite happy with this arrangement.

One-on-one time with a good book. Well worth it.

Why I’m okay with outsourcing my job once in awhile:

1. I loved the one-on-one time with Erica. She thoroughly enjoyed playing with any toy she wanted without fear of repercussion from big sister. I was able to watch and observe her without any distractions. Anna doesn’t really nap anymore, so I really can’t remember the last time I spent quality time with Erica like this. Bonus, I found out she loves playing basketball (and she’s quite good).

2. I actually got some things done. Now, instead of piles of paper and other oddities spilling out when you open the computer desk, things are neat and arranged. And there were five loads of laundry done, some freelance projects completed, dinner was cooked, and I even got to watch some daytime TV! (Watched while sorting paperwork. I’m not missing much.)

3. I miss my daughter. Now, I look forward to spending the entire day together tomorrow, and going about our “normal ” routine. She’s a hoot, and I have a blast with her (despite her toddler mood swings).

4. Anna is no doubt having an awesome day with friends. She’s reunited with her beloved Micah and Ian, and it’s like old times again. I’ve explained to her it won’t be every day like before, and she’s okay with that. I only had to ask her once to put on her shoes and brush her hair and teeth this morning. Once I told her we were going to Nelle’s, she was up and at ’em!

A Stinky Turn of Events:

I wrote most of this post (up to this point) before I went to pick up Anna today (dare I say while it was “quiet”). She was happy to see me, and had all sorts of stories to tell about her adventures. Once we got home, things got, well, interesting. Wrestle Mania started five minutes after we got in the door, and I was soon in my “nagging mom” routine, warning the girls to “Be careful or someone will get hurt!” And soon, it wasn’t the sound of the wrestling that was bothering me, but the smell. That’s right, wrestling has a smell…when the baby has a blowout. Poop. Everywhere. Covering the kitchen floor, Erica, and miraculously, not Anna. It was epic. Towels were sacrificed.

And then I had a brilliant idea. What if we could outsource this part of parenting? The poo part. Genius.

So, what is the arrangement in your household? Is it all parents, all the time? Or do you spring for an in-home babysitter or daycare provider? Do friends and family pitch in? I’d love to know! Also, if you’d like to come clean up the poo-tastrophes around here for a nominal fee, let me know.