This week is nurses week. I have enjoyed my career. The bulk of it has been in surgery: high stakes, high intensity, trauma, strokes, aneurysms, broken backs, and gun shot wounds. I’ve spent long days and nights exhausting my mind and busting body in the service of other people. Some days are harder and longer than others, but I’ve known this is what I want to do with my days. It fuels my heart to be a nurse. A job is just how you sell your time. An employer buys your minutes, hours, days…Our days here on earth are numbered and we sell them to the highest bidder until we are 65. That’s if we are lucky.
Nursing: That is how I wanted to sell my time. Then there was our family. I declined a full time job with 9-5ish hours that I would have loved. I began working Baylor weekend shifts so that I could be with our sweet son during the week for every doctor appointment and therapy session. It was perfect for our family needs. We agreed; it would be ideal for me to be with him during the week. We were so thankful. Opportunities to work Baylor shifts don’t come along often. The Lord always provides.
I sat in the car and cried in the parking lot right after I went back to work. Even still knowing I had just spent 5 busy, full days with my little love, it was hard. It didn’t matter. I was missing time. I knew he was with my husband, but somehow it still stung to leave. It almost made it worse. They were together without me. My mind and heart were numb. Suddenly caring for someone that was not my own flesh and blood was a bit less fulfilling than it had been before. My heart was not totally at work with me anymore. It was torn from my chest every day I left my tiny one behind. And now it’s even more daunting thinking of leaving two littles. Is the time I’m selling worth it? These days will be gone soon and the boys are little for just a moment. Will I ever spend time with my family as a unit: husband, wife, and children? We look at the calendar. My maternity leave is up Mother’s Day weekend.
Then I think of the strain my career has put on our marriage. People always ask if James and I ever see each other. Well… not much. Working weekends for the past three years as we have begun our family has been difficult. We have been just ships passing in the night. We realized that we had maybe spent two weeks worth of full days together over the past year. They’ve been spent largely during holidays where we have to interact with the entire family which is really not alone time (though it is fun). And we have amazing parents that make sure we get a date night fairly regularly, but Friday night we have to have the date packed in by 10pm because the day begins before the sun comes up for me on Saturday. So with James home by 7pm, we know full well we gotta get our date squeezed in 3 hours or less. We have a solid foundation and we’ve been able to keep it together, but how long can we keep it up? A relationship needs time invested into it in order to be nurtured. Time doesn’t care we have a solid foundation; it ticks on and we evolve. I want to evolve together and not along side each other… or passing by each other.
And now we each take a tiny person as soon as he gets home from work and try to begin bedtime. I scurry around and try to finish the tasks I was unable to finish during the day and then collapse. It’s completely chaotic and the thoughts of beginning the cycle of barely seeing each other and fighting to carve out a few minutes of time for us has me utterly depressed. I kept asking him if he can handle our two little guys alone on the weekend. I know he can. He’s a super dad. The real truth is that I miss my husband. I miss my best friend.
There’s been a toll on our social circles too. We haven’t seen most of our friends in years. Family events have been slighted too. BBQs, brunches, weddings, graduations, sporting events- we’ve been absent from the major stuff for long time. And we haven’t been to church since Henry has been born. On a spiritual level that hurts too.
Over the past two weeks of my maternity leave we have been crunching numbers and analyzing our household budget. Is there any way we can pull it off? The answer is yes. Stop spending there, cancel this over here, and ease back in these columns. It will be tight. It must be temporary: we can get by for a year… maybe two. It’s enough. Henry will be in the school system by then and Ezra will be eligible for preschool programs at the Bell Center as a peer. Yes! We can. We can be together. And I can breath.
I hesitated for just a moment though. I never saw myself as a stay at home mom. Will I be fulfilled in my career? Nope. That’s a big no. But I have not been working in the position and schedule as I’ve wanted to in 3 years. And yes, I’ll miss the work a little, but I’ll be able to go for my career goals later. It will still be there in a year or two. Will I be fulfilled as a mom of tiny ones? Yes and without question. Will I be fulfilled as a wife? YES.
We get exactly one chance to live this life. I want to breath it in deeply and revel in the gift of each day together. Life takes funny turns. Here I am. Katie. The domestic. And so the chapter of my life as a stay at home mom has begun. Leaping in faith. Family time commence! Here we go!