“I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.” Words of the immortal Waylon Jennings. Words that summarize my life.
After Caden was born, I found myself in a conundrum. Many of the mothers I talked with stayed at home with their child. I knew Caden would need support; I knew he would receive frequent therapist visits. I wanted to support him; I wanted to be involved. My seven weeks of maternity leave made me ponder going back to work. My heart told me to stay at home. My mind (and Charles) told me to go back to work. I was wallowing in misery, and I needed my professional life back.
I have several friends and acquaintances that stay at home, and I envy them from time to time. But, the truth is—I’m not a good housewife. Charles and I would be in financial distress, if I stayed at home. I am an extrovert who needs to be around people. Caden wouldn’t be independent either. I’m not sure I could step away and let him grow up. I learned quickly that Caden was more productive in therapies without me watching him.
Of course, going back to work meant going back to school. I was one semester away from earning my graduate degree; I couldn’t give up. Caden attended my commencement ceremony and “Outstanding Graduate Student” reception. I am working on my doctorate now. And, I won’t lie—balance is difficult.
However, I have bountiful encouragement. Charles is incredibly supportive. But, Caden gives me strength. On Saturday mornings when I have class, Caden is usually up when I Ieave. I tell him “Mommy has to go to school.” He blows me a kiss, waves, and tells me “bye.” When I return home after a long day of learning, he greets me at the door with a hug. That’s real. That’s balance.
So, I work, take classes, belong to professional organizations, get involved in community events, cook, clean, do laundry, sleep—because my family is my balance. Of course, I must prioritize. I have taken Caden to professional conferences. I have put off dusting to write a paper. I have stayed late at work to finish a project and ordered pizza for dinner. I have skipped meetings to attend a holiday party at Caden’s school. It is crazy—but, it does keep me from going insane. It keeps me from dwelling on things I can’t change. It keeps Caden (and Charles) independent. It keeps Caden always “ready to go.” And, with him, I am sure we will be balanced–yet go far.