Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cooper, I Choose You

I would like to announce that I have knocked two things off of my list. I have a new mattress on the way. Also, I did something completely unexpected, though it was not spontaneous.

I quit my job.

I love my job. No, seriously. I love it. I've worked hard to get where I am. I love my coworkers. I love my students. I love being around these people and the conversations and the energy and feeling like I am making a difference in the world.

The part I don't like is spending every day on painkillers because my job uses up every ounce of energy I have and then draws on my reserves. Weekends for the last semester have been spent sleeping to regain energy. Every night after work involved me slumping into a chair, taking pain medication with my dinner, and having no ability to interact meaningfully with my husband or son. I was on painkillers almost every day for the last six weeks of the semester.

Over Christmas break, I actually got to sleep. I got to rest. I got to relax. I stopped being on painkillers. I laughed all the way down to my soul. I played with my son. I had fantastic sex with my husband. I remembered the person I used to be before I was on pain meds every day.

On one of the last days of break, as GeekBoy and I had a lovely lunch together, he asked me, "Do you really want to go back?" And I started to cry. Because as much as I love the people and the students and teaching, I dreaded going back to the zombie I am during the semester.

Last semester, Cooper got used to being with me for five minutes a day. I couldn't play with him, because if he touched me too hard, it would hurt so bad I couldn't keep from crying out in pain. And then he prayed to ask Heavenly Father to make me better so I could play with him.

When your child prays for something, how can you not do everything in your power to answer his prayers?

And so today, I quit. Academic hiring takes forever, and I don't feel like I can leave the university or the department in the lurch, so my plan is for me to finish out this semester as scheduled, to drop to 75% contract next semester, and then to stop working.

This was the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life. I feel like I am letting down my department, my university, my students, especially the female ones as I am the only female permanent faculty member in the department, womankind in general, and myself. If only I was stronger/better/faster/more righteous/more something, I would have been able to do everything.

But I can't.

I can't be the mother I want to be or the wife I want to be and keep all the balls in the air. I taught one class today. I advised one student today. I planned one activity today. And I'm tired. And I hurt.

I needed to make a decision, and through a lot of prayer and crying and priesthood blessings, Geekboy and I have made the decision that I am going to be a stay-at-home mom for the next little while. Cooper is going to get a mommy he can play with. And everything is going to be okay.


Becca said...

This made me cry.

But also rejoice. You are going to LOVE being able to control your environment, sleep, food, rest, etc. so that you are not so disabled. Fibro is awful, but less awful when you can be a stay at home mom.

I'm sad for what you lose, but SO excited for your future.

Being a stay at home mom was the best decision I ever made--and I also had to give up the job teaching at the university to do it! (Some days I look back, but most days I'm just so grateful to be happy, loved, and functional!)

Not Jenny said...

Congratulations! It wasn't an easy decision for me to leave my career behind, but it is one I don't regret for a second.
Welcome to the club!!

Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely amazing post. I can't even imagine facing a decision like that. Wow. You are incredible.

Ruby Hill said...

you are an incredible woman and the fact of the matter is that you come first. you changed many of our lives and honestly, that is a big deal! so now that you've helped a lot of your students out, take care of yourself. you're just as amazing and i really admire you for what you're about to do! much love!

lesliele said...

I'm proud of you, Ruth. You ARE a good example-- you're an example of a woman who had the courage to take care of herself FIRST. And lemme tell ya, lady-- that's not that common.

I know it's a hard decision to make, and I don't want to belittle the pain and adjustment that will come with your new identity. But I AM proud of you.

And I'm glad you outed your blog. ;-)

Fun Mama said...

Being a professor seems to be very similar to being a pastor, which I was until I resigned to be a stay at home mom. It is far more than a job, in many ways your entire identity is wrapped up in it. And when you realize that continuing to do that job is no longer the best thing for your family and self, it is very hard. I'm glad I am at home now, but it is quite an adjustment. I hope you find health, peace and joy in your decision.

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