“Mama,” Morgan says, looking up from her bowl of Cap’n Crunch. “Where am I going today?”
It’s a question I’ve heard countless times, often within the first few minutes of her being awake. She’s always liked to know where she’ll be spending the day while I’m at work. For the past three years the answer has almost always been, “You get to go to Mindy’s today.” Occasionally if Mindy (Morgan’s babysitter/second mom) was out of town the answer would be “you get to go to Grandma’s” or “today you’re going to play with your cousins at Aunt Megan’s house!”
But this morning, as it has been for the past three weeks now, my answer was different. This morning I walked over to the table where she was eating, scooped her into a hug and said, “You don’t have to go anywhere, honey. Today you get to stay home with Mama.”
Quitting my job was not a decision I came to easily. Early last year when I was struggling with my health so much, spending two weeks in the hospital then only being home for 3-6 weeks before having to turn around and go right back in, some of the staff suggested that maybe it was time for me to start looking into disability. At the time I thought that was a ridiculous idea! I mean, I’m not disabled. I’m capable of working. Sure, I was struggling and I’d spent a lot time away from work, but I told myself I was just going through a rough patch. I’d get back to “normal” soon enough and all this talk of disability would be a thing of the past. I did end up cutting back to part-time last summer because, as much as I hated to admit it, I just never got feeling as “normal” as I thought I would.
I’ve never talked about my job much here for a few different reasons, but I spent the past six years working Utah Heritage Credit Union, by far the best (and until recently the only) credit union around! I really liked my job, I loved my coworkers dearly, and I really enjoyed interacting with the members of the credit union each day (okay, let’s just say I enjoyed most of them). Over the years they became more than just coworkers and friends, they became a second family to me.
As much as I loved my job, working with the public (and dirty, dirty money!) is admittedly not the best environment for someone who is sensitive to germs. Cold and flu season was always really hard on me. We used to joke at work that if someone within a three mile radius sneezed, I’d come down with a cold. It really doesn’t matter how sick a person is, they still come out to do their banking. I can’t tell you how many times someone would come in coughing, sneezing, and wiping their nose as they walked up to the counter, then they’d lean in real close and say something like, “I’m soooooo sick! I just left the doctors office and need to go pick up some prescriptions.” Between the crap I picked up from work and all the germs Morgan was exposed to at the babysitters, we spent a good portion of the fall, winter and spring months fighting some kind of sickness.
One of the major reasons quitting my job was such a difficult decision: income, obviously. I didn’t make a ton of money by any means, but it was enough to help make ends meet. We have been very dependent on my income as well as Adam’s, and the thought of suddenly losing it was (and still is) terrifying! I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and deep down I’ve known that it would be better for my health. But I wanted to do things on my terms. I didn’t want to feel like I was being forced to quit or that the decision was being made for me. I’d quit when we were financially stable enough for me to stop working, and most importantly, when I was ready to. Call me stubborn (or maybe just plain stupid) but I really thought I was in control of the situation and I wanted it to stay that way.
This recent experience with the blood clots was what finally brought things into perspective for me. I’d gone to work that day… before I knew what the issue was, obviously. I spent all day in extreme pain, fighting for each breath, trying to keep a smile on my face and do my job. And in those moments I started feeling incredibly resentful and sorry for myself. “I should be home in bed. Nobody else has to come to work when they feel like they’re dying. Nobody else has to smile through the pain or sickness, pretending everything is fine.”
And then I started thinking back to all the times I’d come to work with a raging fever or feeling so short of breath that I had a hard time walking to and from the drive-up. All the times I couldn’t eat anything because my antibiotics were making me so sick to my stomach, but I still went to work. All the times I rolled out of bed and got ready for work after only getting two or three hours of sleep because I’d been up all night coughing. That time I was in a leg cast, on crutches and on IV antibiotics for my current lung infection, but I still thought I needed to be at work.
And that’s when I started thinking, What the hell am I doing?
All that I went through in the next couple weeks made me realize that sacrificing my own health and time spent with my family wasn’t worth any amount of money. Though I knew I’d miss working and socializing with so many people each day (I’m such a people person) and I had absolutely no idea what we would financially, I knew I couldn’t live in denial anymore. I needed to be home.
And so… I’m now a full time mom and housewife. Though I haven’t quite mastered the housewife thing, as evidenced by my still very messy house. I’ve asked Adam to be patient with me and he has been absolutely wonderful. It’s been a little over a month and I still haven’t fully regained my strength and energy, but when I do… watch out! I definitely plan on getting things in order around here! This is definitely the biggest, most life-changing decision we’ve made in a very long time. There have been times that I long for adult interaction and days that I seriously question whether or not I did the right thing, but every shred of doubt goes right out the window when we kneel down to say prayers at night and Morgan says, “Thank you me and my mommy can be home today… and bless my daddy be safe at work… and thank you me and mommy can be home.”
I’m anxious to see how things work out and I’m definitely nervous about all the uncertainties, but I’m so happy to finally be doing what feels right!