Flexibility (as a family, through this transition).

Any brewing post ideas I ever have are long and involved. Or at least beyond the 5-10 consecutive free minutes I have had the past two weeks. And no, I am not exaggerating. With classes beginning next week I know my time will become even more stretched.

I’m still pretty in-shock as to how much our lives have changed. It’s different for me to be gone (and, from my perspective, to go!) but what’s turning us upside down is absolutely Tony working outside the home. And not a little. A lot.

He has a commute. He pays for parking.

Occasional evening engagements. Real life co-workers!

To top it off when I am at my field placement we are in opposite directions that total about an hour apart if you go by way of where the children lay.

(And that, my friends, is a whole different post. Oh childcare and the wrenches you throw into even the most well-oiled of machines)

We always knew we had it good. Great.

We knew the traditional American lifestyle was not for us, and we were willing to make the sacrifices (unsteady contractor pay, no benefits, little boundaries between work and play, etc.) our chosen lifestyle demanded. A few weeks in and it’s pretty clear that I would never want to do this long term. (not to say we might not be in this situation for a season, or a few seasons, throughout our life. But I would never want to do this long term)

Maybe we’ll adjust. Maybe if some of the perks of this gig were apparent (they aren’t) it would soften the blow.

I’m not even going to go into detail about all that having a flexible work schedule afforded us, because it’s unfair to those of you that have no choice (and no chance at a piece of that pie) but I will say that I do not know how you all do it. The weeks are frenzied and chaotic and the weekends are a blur. I have a hard time seeing how anything (routine maintenance, overdue projects) would get done. And of course family time floats to the top as of paramount importance. But there’s just not enough. Not enough for us, for them, for him, for me.

I do feel a renewed sense of purpose. Clear as ever, my job is:

  • to survive
  • to make day-to-day easier on everyone (groceries purchased, meals prepped, lunches packed, clothes clean, house somewhat passable)
  • continue to nourish the baby (this means pump–often!)
  • love on my girls
  • maybe have a little affection leftover for their daddy

and

  •  do what I need to, for me, so that I don’t drop too many of the above balls.

Of course, there are other such obligations (internship, schoolwork, extended family, occasional passes at a social life, fitness, blogging, etc.) but those are not my primary job. They just aren’t. I think that I will make them work. I am fitting them all in. But those “others” are basically my hobby.

I’m serious.

Oh, to be one of those childless students downtrodden about the school/work balance cutting into their social time 😉

A few weeks ago Dot learned the word flexible. I’m not sure how it came about, but it’s apt to be oft-used in our household in the upcoming months. We just have to be flexible. I need to keep myself open to the constant possibility of change. At the last minute. And maybe even changing back again (and yes, this exact scenario occurred last week. We dealt with it swimmingly).

Dot has already shown evidence of taking the word and the mindset to heart. On Friday I promised her a long-awaited visit to the Children’s Museum. At the beginning of September we began a practice we’re calling Friday Funday. Each Friday I was(am!) going to make the effort to do something purely for fun with the girls. Even if it meant leaving dishes in the sink. Even if it led to some missed naps(!). And we have.

Last Friday we ventured down to the Pearl District to see Daddy’s new office and had a picnic playdate at Jameson Square. Since all the big kids were back in school (and summer hadn’t yet gotten the memo) it was a perfect day.

This Friday I promised the Children’s Museum. Turns out it was closed. We went to the Oregon Zoo instead (no biggie, they share a parking lot). Dot had no problem with the change, but later reminded me she had been flexible.

Yes dear, you were. And, uh, I think you may need to be for awhile…

Even though right now is hard, I know it will be worth it. Even though we all feel the struggle, I’ve no doubt we’ll be better off for it. Even though I may rant, or even complain, I never forget how blessed we are, how lucky I am.

This is a season. I can look outside and see leaves turning red and falling from the trees in our backyard. We may get a little red-in-the-face at times (stressed! hurried! angry! overwhelmed!) but we’re not about to fall down.

And on that note, I’d like to give another shout-out to the people propping us up.

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