Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This never-ending search for balance

Last Monday, Columbus Day, Anna was scheduled for medical testing at Children's Hospital Boston. This was a holiday for Rich. It was a regular workday for me. Regardless, I went with them because I wanted to be there for her and I knew that she would want me there. In addition, she needed to be there for 3+ hours and at some point, Rich was going to have to use the bathroom. So, yeah, it was just easier if both of us were there. Thankfully, we have the luxury of a Grammy who can watch Little Cats A and C so childcare was not a factor in our decision.

After the appointment, Rich and Anna dropped me off at the office. It was lunchtime and I pulled together some snacks to eat instead of spending time leaving the office for food. October 15th is a big filing deadline for me and I had a 5 hour meeting scheduled for the following day, so wrapping up open items was my priority that afternoon.

As with typical fall weather here in New England, it was chilly that day. Allie and Emily had visited a playground with Grammy while we were at the hospital and, I swear this happens every year when the weather turns, Allie began coughing the next day.  It's her asthma cough. She didn't seem to have a cold. Although later in the week, she sounded more congested but not with a full blown cold. We had to give her puffs from her inhaler for a few days. As Allie started to feel better over the weekend, Emily and Anna appeared to have developed minor colds.

Sunday morning, Emily puked. And then she puked again, and again and again. And then it stopped. I held my breath. Two hours later, she announced that she was hungry and ate half an English muffin. Almost an hour later, I gave her the other half. Thinking it was just a fluke, I carried on until she puked again. And then again and again and again. Now she couldn't keep anything down and she had a fever. It lasted all afternoon into the night. As Emily was vomiting, Anna decided that she had a cough and proceeded to spend the remainder of the day coughing. Do I think some of it was exaggerated? Yes. (Sorry, buddy.) I checked several times and she did not have a fever. So now I've got one kid puking and on the verge of dehydration and another who may or may not have a cough and I'm supposed to be at work the next morning.

Very early Monday morning, I decided that I could not, with a good conscience, leave Grammy alone with the girls, especially if Emily was still throwing up, and go to work that day. Thankfully, this is probably the only time of the year where I am not OMG busy at work so it wasn't that big of a deal but I had already taken a half a day a week earlier for Anna's appointment. Monday morning, I deemed Anna healthy enough to go to school, despite her protests. She wanted to stay home because I was home. Emily still couldn't keep anything down so off to the peditrician we went. There was talk of an ER visit for an IV but thankfully, Zofran worked and she began her recovery. She's a skinny mini (and a light eater) to begin with and I was saddened to see she had lost weight. She was down to 36 pounds. I see lots of ice cream in her future.

At 10:12, while comforting Emily as we waited to see the doctor, I checked my Blackberry for work email. I had been invited (last minute) to a meeting that was scheduled for 11:00. I didn't have time to respond until after we left the doctor's office and I couldn't just say, "Sure, I'll call in," because we didn't arrive home until after the meeting began and I kind of felt that getting a sick kid settled and taking care of pukey clothes that Grammy accidentally threw out was more important.

In the end, I didn't feel comfortable with the situation.

I hate having to choose between my kids or work because that's what it feels like to me. A choice. And I fear being judged for my choices. For some reason, I've been incredibly stressed out over this lately. It's hard for me to see it as balance when others may not.  It all seems so draining lately and it's at the point where I feel like I need a bit of a break from the daily grind and chaos.  Maybe feeling burnt out is making me extra sensitive.

I do have some vacation days to use by the end of the year but I'll most likely take them as random days for school events or Anna's appointments, instead of taking blocks of time off.  Which is all good.


Sarah said...

Hugs from another working mama. It's a constant juggling act. You are human and can't do it all - give yourself some grace! If you haven't already, pick up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Good read about being a working mother.

Anonymous said...

No advice, just know you are not alone. Hugs!!

Anonymous said...

Lots of sympathy. The problem with the concept work-life balance is that balance suggests equilibrium, which is a complete misnomer when describing the life of an engaged working parent! I am having a tough month trying to balance and your posts are a light in my day, so thank you!

Anonymous said...

I hear you! My girls are 6.5 and I feel like the older they get, the harder it is to balance work and home. The work part of me wants to advance at work, the home part of me knows that will wreck our home life. I'm not sure this ever gets better!