Exit Strategy

On August 3rd, I woke up, walked out of our bedroom, and announced to Mike, “I think I should quit my job.”

We spent the afternoon manipulating a spreadsheet of our finances and talking about possible downfalls to my hastily proposed idea, ultimately concluding that I should keep my job but try to reduce my hours.  After all, I didn’t really want to quit, I just wanted more time at home.

“Yup,” I told Mike, “This is definitely a better plan than quitting my job.”

24 hours later, I sat down in a meeting with my boss to talk about reducing my hours and, um, quit my job.

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Mike and I had spent months and months trying to Make it Work.  We piecemealed together Luella’s childcare, splitting time between myself, a nanny, and our parents.  Reception to our family’s offers to visit went from, “Come up anytime, we’d love to see you!” to “Could you please come on Wednesday no later than 9:15am so that I can get to my meeting?”

A long appointment, sick sitter, or injured pet (were you aware that dogs can sprain their toes?) meant a change in our carefully laid plans, resulting in scheduling-related stress usually only reserved for air-traffic controllers.

But most importantly, us Making it Work wasn’t working for Luella.

Sure, she only has appointments at Seattle Children’s Hospital every couple of months now, but her local therapy schedule has picked up. On top of weekly appointments, we’re supposed to be doing feeding therapy, stretches, strengthening exercises, and sensory play multiple times a day.

And this may sound absurd, but sometimes I just want to enjoy spending time with her.

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With both of us working close to full time, we constantly felt like we hadn’t done enough.  Not in an “every mom feels guilty” sort of way, but in a “we are probably terrible people” way, because we sometimes weren’t even doing the minimum amount of daily work she needed to, you know, learn to eat or walk or sit.

So I quit.

As it turns out, sometimes ill-thought-out decisions are the best decisions.

I’m staying at home a lot of the time, but I also took on a few contracting gigs that are keeping me engaged.  I’m getting to be involved in fulfilling projects, but I’m not so busy that I’m shoving food in Luella’s mouth with one hand while checking emails with the other.

I had a glass of wine (haha, I never mean “a” glass when I say that) a couple nights ago and proclaimed to Mike, “I mean…I’m kind of living the dream, right?  It’s just like…like this is IT, this is what it all was leading up to.”

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Sloppy Jenn may have been more emphatic than necessary, but it’s sort of true.  I found some weird life loophole where I really can “have it all”.

Of course, my “all” includes frequent trips to the pharmacy for seizure medication refills, annoying phone calls to the insurance company, and a dog that has eaten five sticks of butter this month.

But it also means work meetings with creative go-getters, spending my mornings dancing to Taylor Swift with Luella, AND having homemade pizza for dinner.

It’s not necessarily the “all” everyone is looking for (I hardly EVER have butter when I need it), but you know what?  I’ll take it.


Health Update: Luella has begun taking a medication, Diazepam, to relax her stiff arms.  It’s helping!  After a week or so of her being way too relaxed EVERYWHERE (think Weekend at Bernie’s), she’s starting to regain some of her bodily control.  She still isn’t using her arms for anything purposeful but it’s made it easier for us to do the therapy activities we need to do that may help get her there.

We also began a new medication to get her seizures under better control.  The medication has very few side effects with the exception of an extremely rare but life-threatening rash.  We’ll be checking her out for rashes everyday and I fully expect to have a few trips to the doctor or ER this winter to get some rashes checked out.  

Luella is babbling much more often and has said “dada” and had her first bout of laughing.  She’s quick to smile, likes observing other kids playing, and “talks” and watches the cat, who is newly obsessed with her!