While he's home, I am still working. For those who don't know, my employment status in my hospital is 'per diem' (translates roughly to 'as needed' - which usually equates to a phone call from the ER to my house every day with a pleading 'can you come in today?'). It's a great situation for me with Jason gone. I get to make my own schedule - so long as they need the help, I can schedule myself in to one of two different ERs. I call myself a Mercenary Nurse. Nurse for Hire. I'm very lucky to have such flexibility. In fact, I can work as much or as little as I want. We have the option of me not working while he's home. But I work anyway. Here's why...
1. If I don't work, I don't get paid. As a per diem RN, I get no benefits other than the flexible schedule (which as far as I'm concerned, that's the cream of the crop of benefits). I like to spend money. My latte is $4.65. I get five of them of a week. You do the math. I also like to eat out, buy the kids unnecessary toys, get myself new clothes, go out with some girlfriends. Guilt-free cash is always nice thing, and when I work, that's what it is.
2. I like my job. Sure, I post on facebook that I have crappy shifts. It's the ER. Some days are good, some days are bad, but (nearly) all are rewarding. I make a difference in someone's life every time I work. And I have so many friends I work with - really, my job is my adult time. It's especially important when my husband is in Iraq - it helps with the loneliness and it forces me to make a schedule. I was never very good at being strictly stay-at-home-mom. I wanted to be! But I am terrible at making a schedule when it always seems to me that nothing truly has to be scheduled. And when I'm strictly stay-at-home-mom, I don't get anything done. Just a shift or two at the ER each week forces me to stay organized. 80% stay-at-home mom. 20% working mom. It's a nice balance, at least for me.
And most importantly....3. It simply feels normal. We don't get a lot of that anymore. When Jason's home, he gets to take part in all the minutia of the day-to-day. Everything from dropping the kids off at school, to changing Kellen's diapers, to meeting me at the door when I get home from a 12-hour shift at midnight. I've worked afternoons for so much of our marriage, that having him in the kitchen making me an after-work snack when I walk through the door is one of the greatest moments of my day. I love seeing him at the end of the day, asking him how his day was and telling him what mine was. Sure, we do this over the phone when he's in Iraq - but it's hard for it to feel anything like normal when it's 10:00pm for him, telling me about the end of his day, while it's 2:00pm here, me telling him about the middle of my day. Not to mention, he's in Iraq. And I'm in Ohio. Even our weather doesn't sync. Sometimes when I drive home from the ER at midnight I like to call him, hoping to catch him at the beginning of his day (8:00am there) so I can tell him about the end of mine.
Normal. Who doesn't want to feel it? In fact, as I write this, he's off at gymnastics with Owen and Abby. I know Abby is bouncing down the trampoline run right now yipping out "Daddy! Daddy! Look at me!" and Owen is trying desperately to do a backflip to impress his Dad and look cool at the same time. I am at home sitting on the couch with Kellen like it's just another day in frozen Ohio and my hubby is just out with the kids. Later this week, it's a pediatrician appointment with Kellen, a cub scout sleepover, and an evening hanging with the guys for Jason. Normal normal normal. I love it.
I try to keep one little horrible thought from popping in my head though...only 12 days left. Push it out of my head and enjoy life as it is. Right now, at this very moment. Normal.