Sunday, August 30, 2009


I left a new spouse's meeting tonight feeling very overwhelmed and teary (which usually go together in my case), my head spinning with options and choices and things to do. I came home and heard my husband getting the girls out of the bathtub and into their pajamas, but I couldn't handle anyone needing me at the moment, so I lay down on the loveseat and tried to gather my thoughts. I realized that what I was finding so upsetting was that I had been unable or unwilling (or something) to state what I really wanted - what was my ideal - as far as my job and the care of the children were concerned.

What is it about the institution of motherhood that is so intertwined with guilt? We feel guilty if we work and send our kids to school or daycare for not spending as much time with them as we could. We feel guilty if we keep them at home and don't contribute monetarily to the family. We feel guilty for doing things differently than our parents or maybe our friends. Whatever it is, we feel we could have done more or done it better.

We talked tonight at our meeting about how life in community requires one to set boundaries - for school time, play time, family time, date time, sleep time, study time, social time, etc. If you let them, your neighbors (or at least their kids) might be in your apartment all day or at times when you have other plans, so we each have to learn how to set and enforce boundaries. I realized that I also needed to set internal boundaries that I'm not going to let other people (intentionally or unintentionally) make me change or feel guilty for. I need to decide where I stand and draw a line there.

When I sat down to ponder it, and this definitely involved talking to my husband, I realized that what I've always really wanted is to stay home with my children. It's not clear cut. I feel torn about that decision when I realize that (a) we would be doing so much better financially if I took a full-time professional position, (b) I love being a librarian, and (c) the longer I go without using my degree, the less it is worth. However, I believe that my staying at home during the day is the best thing for my family right now. Considering other options makes me feel uneasy, and I think I should listen to that feeling.

There are other things that are still dependent upon outside factors and need telephone calls and outings to various offices to determine, but I have decided what would be my highest preference, and we can work around other details for that. I don't know much about boundaries, but I do know that you can only set them for yourself. You can't control what other people do, but you can decide how you respond to them. So here's to boundaries...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What a Week

When I arrived at our apartment a week ago tomorrow, there was barely what you could call a path into each of the rooms. My husband had focused his efforts on the girls' room, for which I was grateful, so that they would have a place to sleep and play. However, the "living room" was completely full of boxes, stacked at least as high as my shoulders, if not higher, and I couldn't even see my bed or get to the bathroom easily. Our sofa was still in the hallway because it wouldn't fit through the front door. It was an overwhelming sight, to be sure. It didn't feel like we'd ever have a livable space, much less something that resembled a home.

When you add to that the presence of our children, who really couldn't be kept in the apartment as it was and had to be watched (by me, of course), I felt like I was having one of those dreams where something terrible is coming at you, but you can't run or even move.

In the week's time that has passed, things have gotten better. A new friend gave us some suggestions and took is to IKEA (cue the angelic singing). We've figured out nooks and crannies (OUTSIDE of our 450 sq. ft. apartment, the smallest on campus) in which to store our extra items that somehow, six weeks ago, we felt we couldn't live without. It's still far from organized, clean, easy, or (needless to say) perfect. The living room still looks like a tornado hit it, which it didn't, but it did get somewhat flooded during heavy rains on Saturday.

Very little is as I expected it to be. We're in the middle of the woods instead of the middle of a city. The way things run around here seems a little unorganized and chaotic to me. I'm not going to be able to walk or ride a bicycle to work because of the very narrow streets and/or parkway that are between me and it. I'm going to have to pay to park at work or ride the train there, which also costs money.

One thing that is as great as I hoped is the community of students here. We mostly know people in our dorm and the building. We see them on the playground, in the laundry room, and at spontaneous tea parties like we had this morning :).

God is faithful, and perhaps in time I will let Him teach me to give thanks in everything.

Friday, August 14, 2009

On the Road

We've had a tumultuous and very stressful week, although nothing like the family I just heard of who had moved in at St. Vlad's, and now are being told to leave and go to Holy Cross by Met. Philip, while the wife is due any day to have a baby. Lord, have mercy on the Mathewes.

The girls have been off their routines big time, being shuttled back and forth between our old house and the house of B.'s aunt and uncle who were letting us borrow it while they were on vacation. Last night, K. didn't want to be left in the crib and kept crying, "I want to go home!" I didn't know what to say. We don't have a home at the moment! I told her that we weren't going home, we were going to New York, but that was no good. Finally, I told her that I wasn't going home, I was going to stay where we were. Didn't she want to stay with me? She did, but I still had to repeat it a couple of more times when she'd start in on, "I want to go home" again.

We couldn't have made it here, to Forrest City, Arkansas, without the help of so many people, most recently 7 men from our church who worked so hard in the blazing heat to load up our furniture and boxes onto the Penske truck. Thank God for them and God bless them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Major Snag in the Plan

I found out at the pediatrician's office today that my health insurance through Starbucks was terminated as of July 31, 2009. I was flabbergasted, having heard nothing of this from Starbucks or Aetna. I called Starbucks Partner Benefits and found out that last quarter, I only worked 237 hours instead of the 240 required to maintain benefits eligiblity, so my insurance was cancelled. Because of 3 hours.

The only option we apparently have is to secure COBRA coverage until November, when I'll be elligible again to re-enroll. If we sign up for COBRA, that means that pretty much my whole paycheck will go towards the premiums and we'll have nothing left to live on.

Lord, have mercy.