Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is It Christmas Break Yet?

I've begun obsessively staring at Paul's law schools academic calendar.

Okay, it's worse than that.

I'm glaring at it.

You see, Christmas Break, the point that I'm not pretty fixated on, begins on... December 20th.

Now I know that there actually is a Thanksgiving Break, but... Thanksgiving Break doesn't really seem to count as a "real" law school break, because there are classes on the other side and let's face it... all the law students who actually want to graduate are going to spend the vast majority of the time studying.  It doesn't really count as a "break" if you'd like to see your law student outside of the library.

Christmas Break counts as a "real" break because there will be new classes at the end of it (although it's pretty much guaranteed he'll already have assignments over the break... but that I'm choosing to ignore at the moment).

This obsessive calendar watching comes, as you might have guessed, after my first day home alone with the babies.

For the first half of the day I was fine.  We played on the floor and I spent a lot of time reading to them from the couch with Patrick in the Moby wrap (I think Patrick spent about 10 hours in the wrap yesterday).  Everyone was playing and happy and things were going well.  I was thinking how awesome it was that I totally had the situation handled and that this three kid thing was a piece of cake.

Then 1 pm arrived and I hit the wall.  I'm going to try not to think too long over how one "hits the wall" when they haven't really been doing anything other than sitting all. day. long.  But I did.  I think it might have had to do with a certain incident involving the toddler climbing up on top of the dining room table and launching herself off of it, so that I would have to catch her.  Not fun for the c-section incision.  I think that might be the exact moment when things began to go wrong...

I suggested Mae take a nap.  I actually got them all up to their rooms.  I discovered that while I was in the hospital Mae gave up her nap and now will simply scream incessantly for an hour straight rather than playing happily on her own.  Sadie announced that she wanted to play with her sister, went into the room, and joined in the hysterical screaming.

We all went back downstairs.  I sat on the couch and tried not to move.  I made mental notes of how my body was telling me I was "overdoing it" and how close I was to the instructions that the doctors had given for having to go back in (very, very close...).  I watched the girls drag every toy they own into the center of the room.  I made sure no one killed anyone else.  And I gave thanks for those 30 freezer dinners I made that meant there was a homemade meal ready when Paul got home, to soften the blow when he realized just how much help I was going to need.

He arrived and served dinner, got the girls ready for bed (complete with washed hair!), did the dishes and cleaned up the downstairs.  I sat on the couch and thought about getting through the next few weeks.

So yeah.  Here I am.  Glaring at the calendar.

I'd like to fast forward through the whole c-section healing and then press "play" again...  I'm ready for Christmas Break... in more ways than one!


  1. Sometimes being a mama is just plain hard. SO GOOD... but hard. Praying for you.

  2. praise God for this trial. remember, He has not given you anything that you cannot handle. allow Him to take the lead and find peace in Him. know that this season will pass soon enough but don't let it go in vain - unite your suffering with HIM!

    continued prayers!!!

    pax Christi, lena

  3. Hugs to you! I so wish there was someone to help you out for a few weeks. I know how grateful my daughter is for help (her sweet in-laws came just as I left after a week) and she just has the newborn!

    God bless (and preserve your health and sanity!!!)


  4. I had my first and second while my husband was in law school.... and he was working full time to support the family. It was HARD! My husband basically studied between classes and prayed for the best (he's one of those lucky few that doesn't "need" to study...) I barely remember those years, and I know that Christmas break was like, a tiny sliver of salvation amongst the madness, although he still had to work 40 hours a week it felt like Heaven!

    But the truth is, now that he's a practicing attorney (and I've had another baby), it's even WORSE. Because while he could maybe justify missing a class or cutting out early here and there for an urgent home situation (he'd just have to figure it out somehow), he absolutely cannot flake on a client, a deposition, a court hearing, a trial, a settlement agreement, etc. There is no Christmas break, no summer vacation, NO time off. Ever. In the past five years he's taken maybe 4 days off total, and does work from home on the weekends too. I know it will pay off in the long-run, when we're paying for weddings and college tuition and wanting to retire, but it takes a long time to have the financial flexibility that attorneys often achieve in their late 40s and 50s. (And yes, we're still paying back a lot of student loans.)

    Such is life. Enjoy that break. Having three kids is hard, hard work. It's often thankless and exhausting. Take care of yourself. Take people up on their offers of help - even if it's just the neighbor girl coming over for an hour after school to play dolls with the girls while you take a shower or nap with the baby.

    Best of luck on what will be the hardest work of your life, but so worth it!


  5. Why exactly did you guys have to move out to the middle of "your to far for me to help land?"

    If I could I'd be right there for you.

  6. Hi Cam,

    I hate law school. :) I very much sympathize. I know that it's an intensive program, but I just don't understand why it has to be this way. But it definitely *is* that way, so all one can do is make the best of it. I'm glad that it's at least approaching the end of the semester so that you have an end in sight! Hugs!

  7. I never personally knew any law students when I was in grad school, but it sounds like one of the rougher programs (as a chemistry grad student most of my work past the first and second year classes was independent research, which meant the hours were flexible, though folks who took too much advantage of the “flexibility” ended up taking 8 years to finish their program – I made it through in 5, but with quite a few overnight data sessions thrown in). The med students I knew did do the “studying with no break” thing the entire duration of their program – which got especially rough when they started with 48 hour hospital shifts their 3rd and 4th year. Hopefully when Paul is done with law school he will find a job with a better work/home balance than school is now – the one lawyer I know at our church makes it home before 8 pm maybe once a month, and at least a few nights a month has to stay til 2 or 3 am to finish work, but I don’t know if that is the exception, or the rule. But he does get a month off for paternity leave, which is nice.

    Hopefully you will heal quickly, and not have too many setbacks from overdoing it. I can’t imagine keeping up with little ones after major surgery! We have three little ones, and my husband has always had to go back to work 2-3 days after they were born (I’ve only stayed in the hospital 24 hours each time), but it is way different dealing just with soreness and stretched muscles vs. surgery and an incision you could break open. My biggest “whoops” adventure was after number 2 was born – my husband had to go on a 5 day business trip the week after. And then it snowed 2 feet, unexpected to me who hadn’t been watching the weather forecast closely (we don’t live in an area where that kind of snow usually happens), so I didn’t have “necessary” supplies on hand (i.e. diapers). So my choice was to shovel the car out, or try to rubber-band paper towels to the baby. Needless to say, I chose the shoveling, though it took me about four hour-long sessions during baby naps (with the baby monitor on an extension cord outside so I could hear when things got crazy, and the two-year old bundled up and perched on a snowbank behind me). But the repercussions didn’t cause me anything more than a few days of discomfort and Advil.

    One curiosity – if you can’t pick Mae up, how do you change her diaper? I managed to teach my 21 month old to climb onto the changing table herself when her first brother was born, but said brother was only 18 months when number 3 was born, and afraid of heights, so I had to resort to a sort of hip-balanced shuffle to hoist him onto the table. Does Mae climb up herself, or do you just change her on the floor?


  8. Cam, you are not only recovering from childbirth, you are recovering from major surgery. It's unfortunate that the grandparents had to leave so early. Is there anyone in the family who could possibly give you a week or so? Could you spend some money on a postpartum doula since you didn't have to spend money on a labor doula? Could you contact your parish and see whether anyone would be willing to give you some help (perhaps some confirmation class kids looking for service projects)? Could you get a local high school or even junior high school girl to come and just take the girls for a walk or play with them for an hour or so in the afternoon so you could get a nap?

    Finally, is there anyone among Cam's readership who actually lives close enough to be able to offer some physical assistance? I'd gladly do it if I lived within driving distance, but unfortunately, I live in Vermont and she's in Michigan.

    I know we've got a strong tradition of fending for one's self and "I am woman, I can do anything," but in fact there are things that she really shouldn't be doing physically right now, and she could really use some help. I'll bet if you offered she wouldn't turn you down. Come on Catholic community in Michigan, can't someone find a way to be helpful?

  9. I sympathize very much! It does get better. Have you tried calling the parish and asking if they know of anyone trustworthy who could come read stories and help with the mess in the afternoons?

    My prayers for your continued healing!

  10. I wish I could come help you, but I am states away...and I have a 21 mo old and a 3 mo I'm not sure how much help "we" would be! ;-)

  11. I SOOOOO wish I lived close...but Minnesota is just too far away. OK...are there any homeschooling families at your Church? Maybe you could borrow some teenage girls on a rotating schedul for a few weeks! A Mother's Help situation, as you would still be home as well. Is that even a possibility???


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