It has now officially been one year since starting a full time job. November 1, 2013 was a big transition for our family. Initially, work was slow. I couldn't even see patients for the first month due to all the paperwork. So naturally, there was abundant spare time to dissect the runnings of our household, as I hoped to capture the ever elusive Efficiency and her twin, Order. We underwent numerous experiments with meal planning, lunch making, laundry, whose turn it was to take each child where on what day etc. etc. (only twice did children go misplaced, and not for long). Each lasted a couple of weeks until some snafu made the perfect plan fall apart.
Within six weeks, my priorities got an abrupt shake up with a series of very unfortunate events. First, was the passing of my dear Babcia, my grandmother, in Poland, immediately before Christmas. I was still grieving, and worrying endlessly about my own mother, when on December 31st (my middle child's birthday, incidentally) we were hit on the highway by another car. Amazingly, no one got hurt, but there was a lot of anxiety about riding in cars, until January 5th, when anxiety was displaced to being alive in general. This is when "the table incident" as it is now called, occurred (if some of you are just joining in). In short, my then seven year old sustained a major head injury landing her in the hospital for several days and out of school for three weeks. Between that and several weeks of snow causing school closures, it was a miracle my position was not quickly terminated.
Although not as dramatic as December and January had been, the remainder of the year naturally came with its own ups and downs. The spring brought confirmation that my middle daughter has a type of learning disability and the subsequent (costly) amendments to her education. The muddy summer brought with it a broken laundry machine, which gave me a great new appreciation for that thing. And long, long periods of single parenthood as my husband spent lots of time working out of town, made me realize that that man does a hell of a lot around here.
Odd as it may seem (insert winking emoticon), my responsibilities at work have grown and grown over the past year. The variety of challenges, my kick-ass co-workers, and getting to actually help people with real problems not related to sorting laundry, have all made the increasing commitments welcome. I know, I was really surprised, too. It turns out, it is much more interesting and joyful to focus on others' actual problems!
And let's get real. Every generation has its unique problems. Back to the laundry machine. I didn't have one for over a week. One week, people. It stressed me out. And very quickly, I realized, all those people, for 10,000 years did not have laundry machines. That sucked. But hey, at least we have electricity. And running water. Shelter and food. It sucked when others didn't. Like, right NOW.
What about women who live in countries where girls' don't have a right to an education? (Or worse things, but trying to keep this PG). They can't even get to the point where they get to whine about balancing a laundry basket with a career. I know, it's a huge tangent. But this is literally where my thoughts went. And then, "Duh. I'm such an idiot."
I don't mean to invalidate the feeling of being overwhelmed trying to accomplish this precarious juggle.
I think it's important to discuss, which is, after all one of the reasons I started this blog (the other was to become famous...it is not happening...how long does that normally take?). However, just like with most things in life, when you are knee deep in your own stuff, you fail to see the forest for the trees. And I think this messes us up.
At home, as obsessive as I am (er, was, cuz I'm newly reformed...) about fresh food and avoiding TV (yes, there is more; these are just two examples I'm using; simmer down), Chick Filet entered our menu, at least every other week, so we could make it to soccer practice on time. And on nights where I work late, and Daddy tucks in the girls', they trick me and watch a cartoon. I don't care. The desire to control this crazy minutia of detail is gone. It has been replaced by an ease with chaos. There are discrete pillars in my life - my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my profession. As long as these are strong, everything else works out.
So, here it is. A year has gone by in the blink of an eye. Thank God for my pillars. If only everyone was so lucky. I thought a busy professional life would make my personal life more stressful. Luckily, for me, it has done the opposite. It provides daily perspective (Thank God for all that I have), an awesome ability to prioritize (what is most important right now?), and immense fulfillment in both realms (I love my life).