Thursday, April 19, 2012

The end is in sight

The end of first year, that is!

One more exam on Monday, then a glorious week off (where I can scramble to do a ton of chores that need doing before work re-starts), and then it is back to the office to work. 

Another big life-transition is looming.  Yet again. There have been so many transitions happening in the past 10-15 years.  I moved back to France. I moved back to Canada. Got married. Became a mom. Transitioned between work and maternity leave three times.  My father passed away after a long illness.  We moved houses three times.  Changed jobs once. My husband was laid off once, and found work again. I became a student again. Now going back to work again.  This is getting to be a bit much change, and I don't like things to become routine and dull. But this is getting to be a bit much. Transitions are many unknowns and life-changing in so many ways.

As grateful as I am for my work to have given me the leave of absence, part of me is dreading yet another change when I go back.  It is not just me that's affected by the change, but the entire family.  The younger two kids will have to start a new daycare (and the youngest doesn't take change easily), and the older one will have his daycare hours increased dramatically. We're in such a good family/life/work 'groove' now, just getting better and better with the spring weather letting us all be outside more.  Honestly, it is going to be very tough to change it all next month.

I admire families who are able to handle both parents working the 'regular' work week, manage their houses/household chores and have time for their kids, extra-curricular activities and homework.  Oh yes, and then there is dinner preparation. I so admire organized, energetic families.  We were not one of those.  Definitely not organized enough, but with enough energy, at least.

We managed to get it (mostly) all done when we were both working FT, we both even managed to volunteer our time in the community, but it was tough.  It was overwhelming at times.  The kids were stressed and we were stressed.  Somebody was often sick. Homework was sometimes not finished. I had so many ideas of things I wanted to do for friends and family, that certain people would have enjoyed and loved, yet all they were, were good intentions and nothing concrete, which leads to frustration on my part.  The frustration comes from seeing yourself as being one type of person, and your reality doesn't mesh with that vision of who you want to be.  That's frustrating to always be just barely getting things done (if they even get done), and doing so many things at the last minute because the reality of limited home time just doesn't allow getting it done much sooner. 

And the worst part, again, is that it is more than just me who is affected by this.  What kind of role model am I being for the children? What I am teaching them by living such a stressed life???  Our kids are sensitive, introverted souls, and they were clearly also being negatively affected by our rushed and busy lifestyle.  The positive changes I've seen in them since September are incredible.  It kills me inside to know this positive groove is changing in under two weeks time.

Yes, the money is very nice, but something has to give.  I've read about the expression, "voluntary simplicity" lately, and I guess that is one of the goals we are working towards, even though I didn't know about this 'movement' at the time. 

The idea is about making choices, lifestyle choices, that highlight what matters most to your family.  In our case, our priority is family -- family time, letting childhood be just that -- playtime, free time, not over-scheduled time, homecooked meals, family dinners where we're not constantly telling the kids to 'hurry up and eat because we're going to be late for xyz', spontaneously playing with all the neighbourhood kids.  This is our reality, and we love it.  Yes, it involves making choices -- choices like still driving a 2001 Civic, not having huge family vacations every year (the irony there being that when working, there is not much vacation time available, and when not working, there is much more time, but not as much money available!), not eating out too often-- but that's OK with us.

I will be working again in a few short years as a nurse, but I see that being a completely different work experience than my first career.  For one, the children will be that much older and more independent (yes, other pre-teen and teenager issues will surface, but the hands-on needing-parents phase will be over).  The secondly, I intend to only work part-time, or even if I do work full-time, the nursing hours and shifts are so very different than the M-F, 7 am - 5 pm routine. I am very excited at the reality of having such different working hours. Even back when I was in high school, I so disliked the regular routine, and was looking forward to university, where classes would be spread out all over the week.  That's how nursing shifts are going to work. 

OK, I must focus now on clinical microbiology now. That exam is also looming.  This is my least favourite course this year. Back to memorizing 'viruses that cause respiratory infections, 'viruses that cause rashes', 'viruses that cause diarrhea', 'viruses that cause glandular inflammation'...etc, etc.  Don't even get me started on the bacteria portion of the course!!!  ICK!!!  Let me go wash my hands before starting to study again (kidding).

Lots of things looming over my head right now...

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