Take Care of You

My random thoughts of the other day made me realize there was a whole category of things I like but miss terribly. And I don’t just mean going to a concert whenever I want, or all-day viewing sessions of NCIS.

Because of the utter lack of work/life balance (it’s myth, people), I struggle first and foremost with the ability to take care of myself.

As I mentioned, I don’t get exercise anymore — make no mistakes, my life at home could hardly be called sedentary, but I’m not doing the type of workouts that lead to abs of steel, either. And I talked about finally getting contact lenses. Do you know how long it took me to actually schedule that appointment for myself? I was too worried about  missing (more) work, and not for a sick kid, but for ME. For something for my own health and well-being.

As it was, I didn’t have to miss work; the eye place I chose has evening hours. I just had do the logistical heavy lifting of getting my kids looked after. (Thank goodness my ILs are back from Florida.)

The list of health care appointments for myself that I need to schedule include, at this time, the dentist, a routine physical exam (although I do not miss my annual girlie appointments; I am faithful about those), and the chiropractor. Oh, how I miss the chiro. I need to see one. I have two, one near my office and one near my home. I haven’t seen the former because I don’t have time to take for lunch anymore — I would have to burn a personal hour just to see her, and I am damn close to doing it, too — and I haven’t seen the latter because I don’t want to bring my children with me, and I don’t want to overload my ILs, AND I don’t want to pay a babysitter (as well as a co-pay).

If — when, I should say — my children need to see the doctor or the dentist, I take the time, I burn the personal or vacation hour(s). I don’t even hesitate. I agonize a little, I will admit that. I was close to taking a personal hour next week to see my chiro, but then yesterday, I had to get Michael to the doctor. He’s got another ear infection — that’s three in five months, people. I’ll have to take more time for his ear recheck/six month appointment/vaccinations. Kate goes back to the dentist in a couple of weeks, too, to follow up on her chipped tooth.

Two things I want to make clear here:

One: While my husband can and sometimes does help out with these things, it’s tricky. He doesn’t have vacation time or sick hours; as a psychologist who runs his own office, he only gets paid for the hours he works. Plus, sometimes, he just doesn’t know the answers to the questions they ask at the doctor or dentist. He doesn’t know how long Michael has been pulling at his ear; he doesn’t know how high his temperature got at daycare. He doesn’t know if Michael cleared his last ear infection, or what medications he has been on. He would have to call me anyway, so even if I were at my desk, I’d be otherwise occupied.

Two: I am not complaining. I know it *sounds* like I’m complaining, but I signed up for this gig, and I wouldn’t trade it in. I wish that I had another option — unpaid time, for example, or part-time work. It would make it easier to do what I need to do — for myself — if I didn’t have to worry about needing paid time later (for my kids or, as it so happens this year, to travel to North Carolina for my sister’s wedding). This “paid time” thing hangs over my head. Because what happens when it runs out, and I still have to go to the doctor for one of my kids?

#screwed

3 thoughts on “Take Care of You

  1. I wonder if we all have a post like this waiting to be posted…

    I have to schedule an eye exam, a dental exam, and a general physical exam for myself as well. I am a year overdue for my eyes and *mumble* years overdue for the dentist & general practitioner. I feel the same things; I have no hesitation taking time off to tend to the kids’ needs, though I do have an internal struggle with not being physically available for my coworkers if they need me, as they often do on any given day.

    I even have worked my way up to having plenty of paid time off, but feel that I can’t take it because:
    1.) I already take “too much” random time off to take the kids to the doctor’s, so I don’t want to take any more for me b/c I don’t want to inconvenience my workplace
    2.) Same as you: What if I run out of paid time off and the kids get sick? I can probably make it happen, but what happens at my workplace then?

    *sigh* This “both parents working while having kids” thing presents it’s own difficulties to life…

    • Oh yeah, and exercise? Pfft. I love to run, but just can’t make myself do it after the kids are in bed, and can’t get up early enough for me to make it happen. I know others who *do* make it happen, and I admire them. I don’t know how they do it.

      I already spend too few hours with the kids, so I don’t want to go out while they are home & awake, and I also want to be there to help my wife take care of them so that she doesn’t feel like I abandon her with the kids “every day for ‘me time’ while she is stuck at home with the kids…doesn’t she have the right to ‘me time’, too?” (Nothing she has said, nor would say, but what I internalize about it all.)

  2. I am sure I am not alone. It’s just so frustrating. Plus, I want to have more of a “put the oxygen mask over your own face first before helping others” attitude about it, but I just can’t make that jump. I know that blowing off doctors’ appointments for myself isn’t doing anyone any favors. But I stress so much about taking time, that I just don’t bother.

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