House of Cards

Today, I had a meeting at work. Not a super important meeting, but still a meeting. My client was in the office to have management meetings with a counterparty, and we were hosting.  I was supposed to be there in the morning to meet and greet, get them situated, make sure they felt welcome.

A lot has changed since the last time I wrote. My wife now has a job that requires her to travel to Boston two days a week, usually Wednesday and Thursday.  The biggest “kid” is at college, and the middle two are high-schoolers.  Bumby is in full-day preschool, and starts kindergarten in the fall.  He’s FIVE, y’all.

Yesterday, Bumby woke up with a fever. Even though it’s been years since his febrile seizure, the memory is hard to let go of, and I still worry every time his temperature spikes (which is basically every time he gets the smallest sniffle of a cold). So, he did not go to school yesterday, and he could not go to school today.

It just so happens that today, my wife left at 5 am to drive to Boston, which means she wasn’t here to care for the Bumby and his fever.  Our nanny has a doctor’s appointment this morning, and wouldn’t be able to get here until 10. My mother-in-law has PT for her hip (which was replaced in November), and can’t say past 9.  This gave us a one hour gap where we had no childcare for our sick one.  You see where this is headed, I’m sure.  It’s something every working parent faces — you have a child, and no childcare.  We had a one-hour gap, at exactly the time I needed to be in the office to greet my clients.

We activated “the network” to see who could cover.  My wife’s college friend, who is a stay-at-home mom, couldn’t do it.  My sister could, but it would require her taking an Uber from Brooklyn to Westchester to get there on time, and then another Uber back out to Brooklyn to make her next meeting (cost: approx. $160 that we don’t have). Our usual backup babysitter couldn’t do it. Obviously, the teens were going to be in school, so they couldn’t do it.  No one could do it, even though we spent hours yesterday trying to figure it out.

I am asked sometimes by people at work, especially by new moms and other women lawyers, how we manage.  We have two full-time working moms, in demanding jobs, and four kids. Here’s the sad truth – if you pull out one card, the whole house comes crashing down. Our life is a strain, a delicate balance that requires everything to run perfectly.  It’s a logistical nightmare. And we have a village.  Think of all those people I listed — a babysitter, a backup babysitter, college friends, sister, mother-in-law, older children.  All of those people regularly cover when we have a childcare conflict. What are working moms supposed to do when they don’t have this network of paid help, family, and friends nearby to help hold the cards in place?

The result of this delicate balance (strain) is that the last two years, I have had multiple health issues that I now realize boil down to stress.  For example:  A couple of years ago, I had a migraine for an entire month.  This was so different from my usual migraine pattern that my wife insisted I go to urgent care, who insisted I go to the ER, who gave me a codeine prescription and instructions to see a neurologist.  So now I am on regular migraine medication. Several months after that, my arms broke out in an itchy rash that I self-diagnosed as poison ivy from working in my garden.  It was so bad that both of my arms got infected and I needed a ten day course of steroids to clear it up (while on vacation). When it reappeared shortly after the steroids stopped, I learned that it was not poison ivy, actually, but stress-induced eczema.

I gained weight, I lost weight. I worked out fanatically in an attempt to sweat out the tightness in my chest (and counteract the weight gain), I stopped working out all together so I would have more time.  I tracked within an inch of my life — I started a bullet journal to track my to do list, I tracked my food intake, my hours billed each day, week, month, and year, I tracked my workouts and my running mileage and my steps each day, tracked every penny spent. It. was. exhausting. And then the migraines came back.

I said to my wife, “I think I need to see the neurologist to get different medication. This one isn’t working.”

To which she replied, “You don’t need medication. You need meditation.”  If you know my wife, this is actually shocking. She’s not really the meditation type. But, she was right. After some messiness, which I don’t need to describe because you all know what it looks like, I thought about the things that will actually bring my stress levels down.

I deleted each and every tracking app off my phone except the budgeting one, because actually that one is sort of helpful. I committed to 10 minutes of meditation every day (so far I have done it 2 of the last 3 days — not perfect, but I’m not tracking, remember?).  I remembered that actually writing is really important to me. And not just writing stock purchase agreements, although that is actually kind of fun too, but writing about what’s in my mind, what’s going on, and so here I am.  Writing.

Also, boundaries.  My kid is sick. He gets really high fevers, and it’s really scary.  I called out of work for the day. In my kind of job, this means working from home while my son watches PBS Kids on the iPad, but still, I’m home, with my sick kid. I am sure the two other lawyers on my team that are at the office today and who don’t have young kids can make sure my clients see the coffee and bagels on the sideboard in the conference room. Everyone will live, the world will keep turning, and the law firm will still be profitable.

I still have a migraine, and a tightness in my chest that might be worrisome if I did not happen to have freakishly low blood pressure. These are not perfect solutions, and they are not quick solutions. But this is the honest truth about how we make it work. We drive ourselves really hard, ratcheting up the stress day over day and year over year until something gives, and we re-set, try to carve out some time for ourselves and try to slow down. Then we start again.


the other side

Oh, hello. I seem to have (barely) emerged from my momlife crisis with my sanity and life in tact. And weirdly, given how much I love being home with my son, I think the thing that ultimately pulled me through was… my job.

I’ve been working well over full time hours for about 5 months now, with part-time childcare. This means that the other hours have been weekends, or nights after everyone has gone to sleep, or while Bumby is parked in front of 2 hours of Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Trying hard to avoid the last scenario meant overtime for the babysitter, or an afternoon where we “worked” together at the kitchen table (he with paint, me with a laptop) and he tried to send an email to my boss while I was in the bathroom. It was super stressful, and I was super exhausted. Forget about a commitment to a weekly yoga class, I would have settled for a 10 minute walk and more than 5 hours of sleep. This sounds rather hellish, yes?

Here’s the thing though. It forced me to focus. I had to be productive, and work hard, and dig deep. It was time when I was only myself, my accomplishments were measured and noted, my mistakes were forgiven, and I felt the thrill of success. I realized, hey, I know some shit! I know how to do hard, complicated, legal stuff!

The time I did have with my son felt like it was in technicolor, super intense Friday afternoons that I viciously guarded from interruption where we slowed down, walked at his pace, and had an amazing time cleaning up the patio, or making muffins, or painting our nails. He now sighs and says “Oh it’s so RELAXING” every time he gets in the bath (apparently I say that when I get to take a bath – who knew – even though bathing with a 3 year old is actually not relaxing at all).  We took vitamins and did facemasks together to try to engage in what little self-care there is with this kind of schedule (note: do not get a black charcoal facemask and let your toddler try it. They are likely to ask you do to “silly black face” at really inappropriate times). The reality is, those technicolor afternoons with him were my self-care, the time carved out to disconnect from work, slow down, and live in the moment.  Living on toddler time is much better self-care than a facemask and a multivitamin.

This was me, juggling a demanding work schedule, being professional and wearing a suit and getting it done, and this was me, baking muffins and watching a worm and laughing at my son’s farts.

Also, I finally made Bumby’s photo book from his first year of life. It’s adorable of course. But damn I look tired. Also, there are a LOT of pictures of him with my wife. She is bathing him, feeding him, holding him up to put his first ornament on the Christmas tree. When I saw his, I sobbed. I had constructed this narrative in my head where I did “Everything” for him while she got to do “Everything” else; where I had given up my life while she carried on business-as-usual. It’s not that often where we as humans are confronted with evidence contrary to our personal beliefs and we are able to take it in and accept it, but perhaps that is self defense, because it fucking sucks to be totally wrong in your belief. In fact, my wife, my partner, was right there along side me all along. Once I realized that and stopped blaming her for the way I felt, it got a lot easier. To be fair, I did a disproportionate amount of childcare, especially at night. But not Everything, not even close. She was just slightly more experienced than I was at getting through early motherhood with a sense of self still in tact.

In the last 3 weeks, I have had two deals sign and one close. Some of the biggest deals I’ve worked on yet in my career, and I was the lead on all of them. So now, I get to figure out how to keep it together as the pendulum swings back the other way and I have more downtime, more family time, more time for the dreaded self-reflection before ramping up for a May with business travel and deal closings and etc.

I have not gotten a tattoo. I have not spent (too many) ill advised long nights in bars. My marriage is in tact and of fact stronger than ever. I have emerged from this feeling like I narrowly avoided a disaster, born from too much time spent wondering who I was and who I had become and whether the old me was still in there. And honestly, born also from allowing these things to come between my wife and me, and expecting one date night every four weeks to fix it.

In case you’re wondering, the old me is not in there. I mean yes, I still care about things like social justice and the environment, I still love the same people I did before, I still live in the same town I have lived in for 10 years. So I look a lot like the same person. But early marriage and early motherhood is a metamorphic stage, and trying to be the old me was an exercise in futility. Fact is, I’m not 26 anymore. I don’t actually like long, ill-advised nights in dive bars with inappropriate company any more. I like long dinners with my wife, over good wine, and an early morning walk with my family and my dog, sans hangover, to the bagel shop.  I like figuring out how to make our kitchen work without remodeling it even though major appliances are dropping like flies.  I like the garden even though I rarely have a productive vegetable garden and all my houseplants die.  I like my circle of friends to be very small – this is not because I am not likable, it is because I am very selective about who I am willing to spend my precious time with.

I still don’t have a tattoo, but it is because I like my body the way it is, not because I am not “edgy.” I am actually totally edgy, in my own way.  Try doing something I think is stupid, and you will see how edgy I can be. Actually, how think how edgy it is to like your body, especially when you’re a mom.

So meh. Maybe I’m old, maybe I’ve mellowed. Or maybe I’m more self-aware than I thought, and this person has always been in there.  I’m enjoying getting to know the me that enjoys work almost as much as motherhood, and I am enjoying figuring out this new phase of my relationship with my wife, the one where we have weathered conflict and had some (very) hard conversations, and still like each other.

Want to know something weird? Soon after I made some sort of peace with all of this change, Bumby started sleeping all night in his own bed (rather than coming in to kick my wife in the stomach and shove me off my pillow starting at 1 am). Guess what is really good for a marriage? Sleeping next to each other, that’s what. Last night, my little mirror told me he doesn’t come down to our room because he “doesn’t feel scary anymore.”  Yeah dude, me either.


help, part 2

So, we are still drowning, in case you wondered.  And to tell the truth, for the last 3+ years, I have become increasingly annoyed at my wife for not helping me more around the house. There is a lot to do, right? There is laundry, and grocery shopping, and cooking, and cleaning, and shouting at people to do the things they were supposed to have done already, and dog walking, and teaching the 16 year old to drive, and bathing the toddler, etc etc you are all familiar with the list. And I feel like I do a disproportionate amount of it, even taking into account that I “only” work 25-30 hours a week on average. Anyway, you know how this goes, I have heard lots of moms complain about our respective partners’ inability to do stuff around the house that is actually not that hard. And in a reasonable time-frame, before toys are so lost in the long grass that they become shredded by the lawnmower and you pick your dry cleaning up only to discover that everything is out of season so that chore was a waste of time anyway.
So it kind of blew up this week, and I was challenged to really think about whether this was an accurate reflection of what happens, and if so, to think of ways that I contribute to this dynamic of me doing “everything” and her doing “nothing.” Of course I was like, “this is total bullshit, of course I do everything around here, she doesn’t even know, blah blah” as I was re-folding the laundry my wife folded yesterday because it was sloppy. And that’s when it hit me that perhaps I am, in fact, being a bit extra. Like, maybe I don’t let her do things her own way and on her own time, and if I could lower my standards just a tiny bit then it would be more even.
But here’s the thing. I don’t really want to. I like my house to look nice and be tidy and the clothes to be folded the way I like, and my wife tends to not pay bills unless they come in red envelopes and regularly misplaces school forms. But yet at the same time I do want to relax about this, because I can’t handle all that I have heaped on my plate, wanting it all done just so. And let’s be real, most of those school forms are unnecessary BS anyway, and she did actually manage to exist some 40-odd years before I turned up on the scene to run everything in my very particular manner.
So here is the question I had been asking myself up until now:  How do I get my wife to do things the right way so that I can actually let go of some things?
And here is the question now (well, questions, really): How do I relax about the small stuff? How do I even decide what is actually small stuff? Is it true that you don’t have to pay bills in white envelopes? Is it crazy to re-fold the laundry? How do I even sort through this so that I get more help, while also maintaining a certain amount of standards?  

killing it

I work part time. Mostly, I feel like this is a nice balance. But the word “balance” is a little misleading. It’s more like a seesaw than a tightrope. Over the summer, I was slow at work. I had lots of time to get stuff done around the house, and lots of time with the kids (including Bumby). I was able to take time off when he was sick, deal with the sleep deprivation caused by his weird clingy phase, and meet him at the pool when I could get out early.  I forced the older kids off the couch and into engaging activities (like looking at their phone by the pool, rather than on the couch.)  I was killing it on the mom front. But work was suffering. I wasn’t busy enough to feel like I was involved, I had just switched to a new job and didn’t know anyone, and my boss was irritated with me a few times.

The last month, things have gotten much better at work. I got a bunch of great feedback from a new partner I had not worked with before. My hours were high, and I was really engaged on a couple of interesting projects. I was killing it. But I was totally disengaged as a parent. I often had to plop Bumby on the floor with a toy and hope he would stay quiet while I tried to revise an email, and I worked frantically every time he went down for his nap. Sometimes, I would hear him wake up and be so frustrated, because if he had just slept a little longer, I could get a document out.  I was late getting home, so on my in-office days I would sometimes spend only 15 minutes with him before he went to bed.  Once, he fell off a rock because I was trying to take a conference call while also helping him climb the rock (because if he couldn’t climb the rock, he would scream, and I would be busted). Also, I left my 11 year old at football practice for a half hour (at 8pm, at the field by the freeway) because I was stretched too thin and messed up the carpool schedule.  My non-work hours were getting totally swallowed up by work, and Bumby  and the other kids were suffering for it.

So I dug in. I refused to work over the weekend, other than when Bumby was napping. I watched the debates and edited a document at the same time so didn’t have to miss them (and the chance to provide color-commentary to the older kids while we watched).  I declined invites for two calls this morning, and took Bumby to music class and on a bike ride to the park instead. We had a great morning, and I did not yell and he did not cry, not even once.  He did not fall off of anything high or play with any sharp objects.  I cleaned the kitchen and scheduled some home maintenance work during his nap instead of working.  And then, when the babysitter got here and my scheduled work hours started, I sat down at my desk to discover I had made an embarrassing mistake in the document I worked on last night, and the partner who gave me the good feedback before said he thought the work I did over the weekend was sort of… not as good as some other stuff I had done in the past.  Sort of like I rushed it a bit, I guess.

So that’s it. I kill it here, and it kills me there. Up and down, down and up.


In 2009, my wife and I talked about having babies. Specifically, I informed my then-girlfriend, who was already the mother of three, that if she did not want to have more babies, that was it. It was a deal-breaker for me. “BABIES,” I said, “plural. Not BABY.”  I wanted, specifically, two babies.  Also, she had to want the babies, not just be willing to go through it for me. Because babies should be wanted, all of them, each of them. There is a big difference between wanting a baby and agreeing to have a baby because the person that you love wants one. She did not answer right away. She said she would think about it, and come back to me. And she did.  A day or so later, she said she was in. Whole-heartedly in.  Babies I wanted, and babies I would have.

And then, you know, life happened. For one reason or another, it wasn’t time to start trying to conceive until late in 2013. Then it took us nearly a year to get pregnant. So it wasn’t until six years after that original conversation that we had our first baby together.

By the time Bumby was born, the other kids were kind of… old. The next-youngest was 9, and the oldest was 14. Having another child when your next-youngest is 9 is very different from having another child when your next-youngest is 3.  To further complicate matters, the Big One was decidedly moody about the topic of adding a fourth child to our nest, and made those moods known throughout the entire experience of talking about a baby, getting pregnant with a baby, being pregnant with a baby, and having a baby. It was, frankly, rather miserable for my wife and me. Although Bumby and the Big One are fast friends now, it is far from clear that she in particular, or any of the older kids more generally, would welcome another addition with open arms.

Then there is my wife. She agreed to babies, this is true. She knows she agreed to babies. But she has reneged. She is happy with our family of six. She is not getting any younger, and although she loves our children fiercely, she also looks forward to our empty nest years (as do I!). She would like to have those empty nest years when she is still young enough to do fun empty nest things and does not have to take too many prescription medications. Before I ever got pregnant with Bumby, she made it clear. She wanted this one more child very much, but only this one more child.

So that leaves me.  I wanted babies. I have been quite clear on this, always. I did not want just one pregnancy, just one baby. But I agreed to stop after one, because I still feel just as I did in 2009, that each child should be wanted by its family. Knowing how the rest of the family felt, I almost hoped that being pregnant would not live up to my expectations. Maybe I would feel about it the way so many women do — it is acceptable as a means to an end, but not altogether a great experience in and of itself. I may even be miserable, or have complications. It is weird to almost hope for these things, but I wanted it to cure me so that I would not yearn to go through it again. So that I would be content with just one baby.  No such luck. I had an easy, uncomplicated pregnancy.  I was at home in my body for the first time since puberty. I felt beautiful. I marveled at the changes and adored having Bumby close to me and with me, always. I wasn’t even really uncomfortable until around 37 weeks, and slept well. Something about the pregnancy hormones agreed with me, and I was just happy the entire time. I can count on one hand the number of times I was angry or sad for the entire pregnancy. Then, I had an uncomplicated vaginal birth just one day past my due date.

After which, I met Bumby. I fell in love with him, hard and fast. Postpartum came with all the rawness and separation and plummeting hormones that it always does. Sometime in those early weeks, I became furious with my wife.  How could she, knowing how amazing it is to have a child, knowing how fast and fierce and primal the love is, how could she say I can’t do it again? When I agreed that maybe just one baby would be enough, I didn’t know what I was giving up. But she has been through this before. She knew what she was asking of me, and she asked it anyway.  How could she? She didn’t answer.

I cooled off, and my hormones balanced out.  I still wanted another child, but I stopped being mad at my wife for being done.  She could not make herself want another child any more than I could make myself not want another child.

My confidence as a parent grew, and I found I can actually manage four kids on my own, while my wife works or has a late dinner. I make decisions about the older kids that I previously would have deferred to my wife. I love them more, and have more patience with them.  Bumby started sleeping, and I started getting my life back. I went back to work part-time, and found a work/life balance that works for me.  Bumby started walking, and talking, and making jokes. I went from staring at him adoringly, to interacting with him. The love grew. I got my hair cut, without Bumby in my lap. I left Bumby with the sitter so I could go to the 5th grade science fair with his big brother. I started planning our spring garden, now that I have a fun toddler to plant it with, instead of a baby who won’t be set down long enough for me to plant even one tomato plant. I became me again. But now, me with Bumby.

And you know what?  I can’t imagine having another baby. I sometimes would like to have an afternoon of baby Bumby back, where we just nurse and nap and I eat strawberries in the sunshine while he stares at his own hand. My pregnancy and our first year as a family of six were the hardest and most wonderful months of my life, and I will remember them forever. But I don’t want to do them again, and I don’t want to do them with another baby.  I am done, with one.  I am sure that I will still have my moments of longing, but in the main I am, shockingly, at peace with this.

Before Bumby was born, we were a blended family. A family, yes, but there always seemed to be shifting alliances — me on the one side and my wife and the kids on the other, or the adults on one side, and the kids on the other.  Various divisions. Bumby has brought us all together. We have gone from a collection of people, to a whole family. One family. We are all brought together by loving this little guy more than we thought we ever could. We don’t need another baby, because we are complete now. I don’t need another baby, because I had the baby I was meant to have. Thanks, Bumbs.

part time

Since returning to work, I have been part time. Most days I wish I could stay home full time, some days I really appreciate going to work.  Always I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work less than full time so that I can have some extra time with Bumby. Often, though, that extra time gets eaten up with chores, and running around, and I wonder whether it’s worth it to spend extra time with him when that time is spent at the grocery store.

Then, there are days like today.

The weather was finally nice, so I took my guy to the playground.  He did lots of very important baby things. He carried a rock around like a pet.  He ate dirt (not too much).  He climbed up the steps to the slide and went down. He put a short fat stick in his mouth like a cigar with his fat man belly sticking out.  He drove a fake car and turned some gears. He ran up some steps and over a bridge and then back and then down the big double slide, side-by-side with his Mama. He followed a big kid over to the swings and he went on them too. He scared a little old lady’s dog with his enthusiasm.  Then when he was seeming a little tired, I took him to the car and gave him his water as I buckled him in. He said “MMMMmmmmmmm” while he drank it and was no trouble at all to get in the car seat.

Even if 9 days home out of 10 involve chores, the 1 in 10 that is like today makes me so glad I have the opportunity to spend two mornings a week and one whole day at home.

Bumby at the park

focus on fertility: week 2

This post is part of an ongoing series of posts regarding my experiences working through the book Fully Fertile, by Tami Quinn, Beth Heller, and Jeanie Lee Bussell. For previous posts, click here.

The second week of the Fully Fertile program focuses on the role Oriental Medicine (OM) plays in a fertility journey. This week’s exercise required a list of Qi-filling and Qi-draining actions in one’s life. In brief, this required a “pros and cons” style list, where I wrote down the activities in my life that add life energy, and those that drain it.

Here’s the thing. I didn’t do the list. I don’t need to make the list to know that there is an extreme Qi-drain in my life. I don’t get enough sleep. I work too much. Etc. I’m tired all. the. time. I am a 2000-billable-hours-a-year attorney with three kids, two houses, and a cat, whose spouse also happens to have an extremely demanding job. I don’t need a list to tell me I am burning through my life energy but quick. So I didn’t make the list. I thought it would just depress me.

But here’s what I DID do. I got a massage. My wife and I had a gift certificate from our birthday last May (we have the same birthday, just a *few* years apart), which we had never used. So I booked the couples massage. Then, I called back and upgraded it. One Saturday, when our kids were otherwise occupied, we walked to the train station and went into the city, where we then got the best massage of our lives. I am not telling you where it was, for fear of you flocking to this place and booking up all the weekend slots. But it was awesome.

After the massage, we walked around the city in the sunshine without our jackets on and ate Indian food. Then we stopped by my office, because I had the appointment with Dr. P coming up, and needed to get some stuff set for Monday. Yes, our relaxing day included an hour-long stop at my office. But it wasn’t too bad, and by the time we got home we were relaxed, and tired in a good way, for the first time in a very long time. We spent the day together, just BEing. It was just the dose of Qi I needed.

staying home

I previously mentioned that the topic of whether I should continue my demanding career after the baby is born was a topic for another post. Well, I guess that other post is this one. With the likes of Marissa Meyer and Sheryl Sandberg making news by implementing family-unfriendly workplace policies and asking women to push harder at their careers, I find myself very glad not to have an alliterative name, and wondering more than usual how I will cope with work/life balance once the baby is here.

My job requires, by some calculations, 7.5 hours of work every day of the year. You know, including Christmas and Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. Yes, I am a lawyer. I am actually a pretty good one. I find the work interesting. But. Not a day goes by where I don’t regret my decision to go to law school, mostly because of this.


That, dear reader, is the anticipated payoff date of my remaining student loan debt. Which I am currently devoting my entire salary to, other than taxes and certain fixed expenses, which aren’t going anywhere. That’s two years away.

Last night, something happened that is all too common when you’re a junior lawyer. My boss emailed me at 8:15 and asked me to send out a document. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I was already working anyway, but I wasn’t. I was out for appetizers and drinks with my wife and a friend. I did not want to work. I was not expecting to work. But the expectation of ME was that I leave, go home, log on to the remote system, and send out the document. Immediately. I think this is totally unreasonable, and most people, I think, would agree with me, unless they are also lawyers, in which case they will tell you this kind of thing happens all the time. It has happened to me on New Year’s day, it has happened to me when I was on vacation, it has happened to me when I had said a few hours earlier that I had a “procedure” done at my doctor’s office and my doctor asked me not to work for the rest of the day. It happens ALL. the. time. I am never, literally never, mentally unplugged from my job.

How I could manage this at this current job is one thing, but in terms of long-term plans, this particular aspect of this particular job is not likely to change. So, the question is, do I keep my current, gruelling, high-paying job in the hopes that I can get the loans paid before the end of my maternity leave and hope that it will mean that I can then stay home with the baby and our kids? Or do I try to change jobs now, and find something with a bearable lifestyle, but which will undoubtedly be lower-paying and with a shorter paid maternity leave (if it offers any paid maternity leave at all), and accept that I will have to go back to work, possibly full time, for the first year or two of our child’s life?

My wife said to me this morning that when they are babies is not when they need you most — it’s when they are teenagers. As our oldest approaches her teenage years, I can see that there is some truth to this. But also. Staying home for the baby is not entirely for the baby. It is also for me. I want to do it. I can’t think of anything better than spending my days with our little baby, and being there for the bigger kids to help with homework and make a snack, go the the class party at the elementary school, etc., while they still actually want me to do it. And also to keep the teenagers out of trouble.

I don’t know what to do in this moment. I don’t know whether I can let go of the hope of staying home with the baby. I don’t know whether I can endure another year + of being completely beholden to a job I dislike.