Monday, June 26, 2006


It's Monday, and I'm makeup-less. I haven't either washed OR pulled back my hair (meaning that it is currently hanging lankly around my face in a rather unflattering, but fabulously low-maintenance, manner), AND Julia and I are in the midst of trying to plan an after-nap park playdate with some pals for later today. What does all this mean, you ask? Well, allow me to clarify.


This is a major deal to me, and to our family. Three years ago, before I was even pregnant with Julia, I opened my own business, a solo part-time private practice that kept me busy two evenings a week on top of my full-time day job. I was (and am) very proud of this accomplishment; I'd dreamed for a long time of having my own practice. It took courage and creativity to take such a leap, and it was enormously satisfying in many ways.

When Julia came along, I quit my full-time job but returned to my practice when she was 2-1/2 months old. We needed the income, and I wasn't ready to give up my practice yet, despite feeling torn in two different directions when trying to juggle baby care, breastfeeding, sleep, and the demands of solo clinical work. More than once I harriedly fielded phone consults from professional colleagues or clients in crisis while the baby screamed in the background and the teakettle boiled over, because guess what? You can't confine mental health care to the hours of 5 to 9 p.m. when your husband is home to deal with the baby. Sometimes you have to make, or take, a phone call while a diaper leaks poop all over you, the UPS man is ringing the doorbell, and the baby needs to nurse. I am sure some psychiatric colleagues of mine were rolling their eyes on their side of the phone, thinking, What an unprofessional loser! as they heard the mayhem on my end of the line. But that's okay.

Anyway, we moved to Northfield, an hour from my office, and I got pregnant again, and Christopher and I decided enough was enough, for now. I gave all my clients notice way back in March, and I closed up my practice last week. I know I'll need to work again, and that I'll probably open my own practice again, too, sooner or later, so I'm not overly sad about closing my practice, though of course it was somewhat bittersweet.

Mainly I am simultaneously thrilled about the prospect of being free to focus all my energy and attention on full-time parenting, AND terrified that our resulting sorry financial state will make this situation untenable within months. Because to be honest, as my friend Elise says, on paper the numbers just don't add up. We have relied on my practice income for a good number of household bills, not to mention any number of "extras" like coffee dates, toddler swimming class, gifts, ice-cream outings, and various other nonessential treats. On the other hand, in situations like this, meaning matters of the heart and/or of personal values, we always seem to find a way to make things work. And the fact of the matter is, to Christopher and me right now, having me give up my "outside" work to fully embrace at-home motherhood, and the emotional freedom and fulfillment that doing so brings our family right now, feels worth the financial worries.

Bye now---I'm off to the park with Julia rather than off to my office with a headache and an iced coffee. Happy Summer!


Jim said...

Dr. Laura would be proud of you!

8:44 PM  

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