I love to plan. I am an organizational freak. I like knowing where I am, where I am going, including when, how, why, and exactly what will happen there. So much so that when my husband wanted to propose, he was hesitant at first to go through with what he had planned. We had (what I thought) was a normal dinner out on the town, but secretly, he had packed an overnight bag for me, planned an overnight stay overlooking Boston, and proposed to me in the penthouse of the hotel. I remember sitting at dinner, when he told me we were doing an overnight, and automatically thinking, I don’t have my things. We have somewhere to go tomorrow. What am I going to do without my things?!?! He anticipated this, and dealt with it well, but definitely much better than me. I don’t think I truly relaxed until after he popped the question and I finally understood what was happening. So yes, I am a tad of a control freak. Yes.
Okay so let me flash forward to today. I had a wedding to attend. My husband would be out of town, and I wanted to go but without the kids since it was a far drive and it would have been a long week anyway for the kids. So I arranged for a babysitter to pick up the kids from school and take them home, was able to get out of work early without taking any sick time, and arranged for my brother in law to pick me up so I didn’t have to drive alone. I mean, I have had this planned for at least a month, lining up the babysitter and hemming and hawing over how to take the time without taking a sick day or vacation time. This morning, I get a call at 9 am (I had only been at work for an hour or so), that my youngest had a fever and had to be picked up. I literally started to sweat. I don’t think I have had this reaction in awhile. I know in an earlier post, I mentioned how the whole childhood sickness thing would play into your day to day work life and how you dread it over and over but never expect it when it happens. But being an organizational freak who plans everything, being thrown off like this is enough to throw you overboard. I even cried a little bit while on the phone with my sister, on my way to pick up my youngest. Why? Not because I felt bad they were sick, but because my amazing planned out day/night was completely ruined. And this was probably the first time in a long time that I didn’t feel that mommy guilt thing that I usually do. I was so hyperfocused on my own organizational mess that I couldn’t even concentrate on how my youngest was feeling, doing, and what I was walking into when I picked them up at school.
Believe me, I definitely changed my tune when I picked them up and they were asleep on a toy couch at 10 am, cuddled under their blanket while everyone else played loudly around them. But I can’t ever seem to let go of my original thought: how can I get back on track? I know that one of the reasons why my OB wanted me to go back to work so quickly after I had my second was because she realized that my routine and organization was my life, my savior, my way to right my world. I wouldn’t say my postpartum depression went away when I went back to work, but the semblance of “all is right with the world” because I had a routine, place to be, things to organize and control over my life was enough to make me feel human. So what is a control freak to do when I can’t control everything?
I remember thinking about how my eldest sister would deal with kids when she had them. She was the most Type A person I knew, planning and cleaning, almost OCD-like throughout her everyday life. I was honestly scared for her. But now, two boys later, I realize that having kids has changed her enough to survive the mishaps and randomness that comes with motherhood. Sure, she gets upset when things are completely out of her control, but she is able to move on quicker than she used to. I suppose we are one and same, a true product of genetics. She is my precedent who shows me exactly what is coming my way with kids and with my own sanity (or lack thereof).
Okay. I have written this over the course of a weekend. A weekend where we have stayed mostly at home, skipping the first day of soccer for both kids, missing a birthday party, and avoiding a pre-planned playdate with my goddaughter whom I never see. This was in the light of randomly checking my eldest’s forehead and realizing that they, too, had a fever of at least 102 at one point on Saturday. I admitted defeat. I gave up. And yes, I thought to myself a few times throughout the weekend, those little germbags ruined the weekend. Does that make me a bad mother because I felt that way? I don’t think so. I can’t help that I am organized and like to have a life outside a germ-filled home and want to be social with my kids. I am a victim of my own organizational freakishness, and there is nothing I can do about it. I will cuddle my loves while we enjoy some random kids’ show, color some pictures with them while we listen to music, and take a walk in the quasi-misty day. All of my other OCD behaviors can wait until they are feeling 100%. Or at least until they go to bed.