Sunday, November 25, 2012

My choice

I didn't have to go back to work. We have acrued insane levels of medical debt in the last 12 months. It's not suprising. Everything you read about how people's health tanks when they lose someone very close to them has been totally valid x10 people this year, not counting the expenses of the one who actually died.

In the last 12 months, we have endured 10 Emergency room visits, 8 hospitalizations, 6 ambulance rides, 3 surgeries, 1 helicopter life-flight, and 1 death. We have good health insurance. However, there are always co-pays and deductibles. When S first came to us, he was not under our medical insurance. All of the promises of the first adoptive family to cover his medical expenses was a bunch of malarky--something we soon learned ALL of their so-called promises were. That added more medical debt. Even all of that doesn't account for gas to drive to medical appointments, food that has to be eaten out, mealas that must be consumed while inpatient with children, etc, etc.

I was already considering going back to work this fall because I wanted something for ME. As the medical struggles continued to pile up and pile up, well after Micah died, our budget became tighter and tighter.

In the past, we always put my staying home as top priority. In times when finances got tight, we would buckle down, drop to needs only spending and get our financies back under control. We can absolutely do that now. We could tell the children no spending, no allowances, no eating nothing that is not a strict need. We would make ends meet and by the first of the year we would start to get back on top of the mess, by spring it would be forgotten.

Except, something has changed in ME now. The two years II did not have a full-time job and we were both in school, we lived on the bring of oblivion. We were in abject poverty and sometimes even basic needs were denied because there was no money to accomplish such things. I had never lived like that in my life--EVER. When II went back to work last summer, we were pulling out of that poverty and I prefer it that way. We were back to more than comfortable and I liked that lifestyle. I liked being able to buy simple things for the kids when they needed them.

The more the medical bills acrued through this fall, the more I didn't want to go back there again. We had more than suficient funds to meet our needs. Yet, I wanted MORE for my kids now. I wanted to be able to honor their wants and not merely their needs, like we were always able to do before outside of those two years.

I realized I did have a choice. I could remain home, just like I did all those years and just like I contributed to II's stress by leaving him the ONLY wager earner. Or, I could go back to work. I can make GOOD money and only work part-time. With that money, we can maintain the level of living the kids are accustomed to most their lives while we pay off the debts. By spring, all of the medical bills will be paid down, and we'll be better off without having to stop living a normal, middle class life.

For the first time in our marriage, my choice was different. I no longer felt that staying home was sacrosanct and the ONLY option. I no longer feared the idea of finding reliable childcare for the little ones, nor asking II to support me in the adjustment back. I pay the childcare for daytime care of the ones at home. I pay allowances for the teens to watch them after school until Dad and I get home. I made a choice, and it wasn't the choice I always thought I would make.

I am working, and when I'm there and not thinking about how much I miss my babies, I am too busy working to struggle. I am miserable when I am home and thinking about going to work, but it goes away almost immediately once I'm there again. I want to give myself six months. I always swore I would start working on what to do with my career once the baby was three. I already finished my degree sooner than I thought. While part of me did feel the pull back to simply staying home again. At the end of the day, I made a choice and my choice was to go back to work, for so many reasons that made sense this time and I never imagined I would choose for most of my years of parenting until now.

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