The Real Struggle

I woke up this morning feeling like today would be a struggle.  I have these days every so often, and it is always the same thoughts and issues that plague me.  I feel lost and lonely – like I haven’t navigated my way through life very well at all.

I am days-to-weeks away from having a third baby.  For this whole pregnancy, and even the months leading up to it, I have questioned whether this is a reasonable step to take in my life.  I obviously can’t go back and change things now, but it doesn’t make me feel any less stressed about how everything is going to fit together in the coming years.

I know I should be looking forward to my maternity leave, and I *kind of* am.  But I am nervous about what I’m going to do with all that time at home!  I know I’ll be taking care of my baby and for the first weeks I will be so exhausted that I won’t know night from day (can you tell I’m looking forward to this?), but sometimes I find that my home is not the peaceful, relaxing place where I imagine spending my down time.  There is so much to be done around my house: teach my nanny how to cook, deal with the clutter that has accumulated over the time that I’ve been neglecting housework (and letting my nanny do a sub-parr job of keeping up), figure out how to discipline my children, decide if I need to hire a new nanny (since the one I have seems to have difficulty with all the above things that I have to remediate)… That just part of the home list.

Then there is my anxiety about work.  Failing my exam has certainly not made me feel any better about my position and my performance at work.  I know that I likely didn’t prioritize studying as much as I would have it I actually had to pass the exam.  However, I feel like it reflects poorly on my ability to balance my work like and my home life, and in the coming weeks that struggle is only going to get worse.  Add in the fact that I am going to be taking 5 months off work and will be that much behind – I feel like I am going to have a target on my back, setting me out as “the weak one.” Any why am I the weak one?  Because I have kids and a family, and I can’t make my work my top priority all the time – especially when something in my work world doesn’t really matter (like a test that I don’t need to pass).

I struggle with finding people to connect with in my life.  All of my good mommy-in-medicine friends are back in the place I left behind when I moved here for residency.  I have yet to find some good friends here.  I marginally succeeded in finding some out-of-work friends, but since work has gotten so much busier in the last year, those relationships haven’t been well maintained.  Not to mention, I can’t really talk about most of my difficult struggles with them… I mean, when someone tells you they had a bad day because their kid’s school bus was late so they missed their aerobics class, how do you respond when your bad day was doing a STAT c-section on a full-term baby who didn’t survive?  And there is the opposite situation with friends from work.  All my co-residents are wonderful people, but most of them don’t have kids and that makes it very difficult to commiserate with them.  Who can I talk to about my feelings of inadequacy as a mother, or about my decisions to prioritize my life differently because my kids and my family are an important (arguably the MOST important) part of my life.  Mostly, I feel like this position is a very lonely place to be and I don’t know how to make it better.

I’m sure that in a few days I will be feeling better than I am today.  For today, though, I have to push through the discomfort of the struggle.

 

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Spinning Life’s Tires

I have days like today, and weeks like this week, where I feel like I am spinning the tires of my life.  My day-to-day life is is routine, ordinary, and far from exciting.

I am acutely aware that my work is my training.  I have yet to reach a point in my career where I love my job.  I know this is because I am not in control of my daily choices.  Work, therefore, becomes a place I go because I have to.  It is paying my dues and eventually it will be over.  Just last month I was starting to get to a point where I felt like I was almost over the worst of it.  This year of residency – the workhorse year – where I we are expected to work like slaves, it is almost over. But then this week we started planning out the schedules for the next year of residency (which is supposed to start in July) and once my maternity leave is incorporated into the schedule, I won’t actually start that year of training until November/December.  I thought I was so much further ahead.

I know – I am taking off that time to have a baby:  Time I will have to spend at home with my new addition and the two boys I already feel I never see.  I shouldn’t complain, because it’s not time that I’m working, it’s time that I will be investing in something else… Something arguably more important than work.

This belly of mine, it continues to grow, yet it feels slow.  In two months this pregnancy will be over and life will never be the same.  But it scares me to think of this change.  Why did I decide to do this again?

76e54768477746b60f20cfb43bd40995It’s hard to see that life is moving forward when each day is a repeat of the last.  The mornings are rushed to get out of the house and start a 10 hour working day.  The evenings are a blur of kids activities, snack time, reading, bedtime routines, and exhaustion.  My bedtime quickly ensues.  And so, from day to day, nothing changes.  I feel like I’m stuck in a hamster wheel and that my efforts are taking me in circles.

How, exactly, do you step back to appreciate the way your life evolves over time?  How do you come to understand the role of the little things in the “big picture?”  I want to feel like I am moving forward every day:  I want something to change, to be momentous, and to remind my why I am here and living and working so hard.  What is the answer?

 

Looking at the Stars

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
~Oscar Wilde

From The Old Blog, November 18, 2015:

This quotation makes me think of the scene in “Forrest Gump” where Forrest asks Bubba to lean up against him so they could support each other while they slept: “you lean against me and I’ll lean right back up against you and that way we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud.” After a few of these nights of sleeping upright against each other, the rain suddenly stopped, the sky cleared, and the stars came out… And Forrest thought of Jenny.
I couldn’t find a great image of that scene, but I found this small collage of pictures from the torrential rain during movie’s rendition of the Vietnam War. One day it just started raining and it never ever stopped. There was sideways rain, and downwards rain, and rain that even seemed to come from below. But no matter how much it rained, it did finally stop and since his head wasn’t stuck in the mud, Forrest was able to see the stars.

Last year I wrote about how I was stuck in the gutter – not necessarily looking into it, but stuck in it.  As a result, I was not seeing, or even looking for, the stars.  This year I am happy to say that I am not in the gutter.  I don’t even feel like my feet are dragging in the gutter.  I may not always be looking at the stars, but at least I am closer to them this year than I was last year.

On additional difference from last year, as well, is that I focussed much of this post on telling my friend that I admired her for always being the one looking at the stars.  Knowing what I know now, I don’t know if I would say that is always true.  I’m not sure exactly what I mean by saying that; perhaps I just don’t necessarily think that this old friend was always doing the right things or making the right choices.  That could just be my hurt conscious talking after she decided to delete me from her life, but I think it’s more than that.  I think I used to admire her and set her on a pedestal that was unrealistic.  After having time to reflect on everything that has happened and what her role was in my life, I realize that I had many ideas about her that were unrealistic.  Anyhow, this is again, a digression from the point.

The most important fact here is that I have spent much more time in the past year out of the gutter and looking at the stars.

Too Young for This

“But Mommy, I can have good behavior without taking a pill. I promise!”
He was pleading with me after I asked him why our nanny found his Dexedrine tablet in the garbage can the other morning.“I don’t like having to take medicine, Mommy. No one else takes medicine, just me. I want to be normal, like everyone else.”
My Little One, while only 5 years old, has been diagnosed with high-functioning autism and ADHD. He’s been taking a small dose of Dexedrine for the past 5 months and we have noticed a huge improvement in his negative ASD symptoms: Less random noises, few and shorter lived emotional breakdowns, less disruptive and abusive behavior, less rigidity in his thinking, and better able to focus throughout the day. But, how do you argue with a 5-year-old to take medications when he comes back at you with such an adult complaint?
“Everyone takes medicine, Honey. Mommy takes pills, Daddy takes pills, and those puffers that Little Brother uses, that is medicine too. There is nothing wrong with taking medicine – sometimes we need a little medicine to make us feel better.”
“But I feel just fine when I don’t take my pills, Mommy. I’ll show you how good I can be when I don’t take my pills. Please Mommy, let me show you.”
My heart was breaking just a little bit. How does my little man already feel ashamed and marginalized for taking medications to help wit his mood and behaviour? So, over the weekend I decided to try a day without his medication. It was a horrible day filled with defiance, little brother beating, random sounds, and worst of all, lots of Mommy and Daddy yelling. But how do you get mad at a little boy for just being himself?
“See Honey, how much trouble you are getting into today? It’s because you didn’t take your pill this morning. Taking your medicine really helps to make sure you are the best you can be.”
“But Mommy, I’ll start having good behaviour right now. Watch, you’ll see.”
Apparently being yelled at and sitting on time out all day is better than taking medication.
The next morning it was back to direct observed Dexedrine therapy and my heart was breaking a little bit more