10.05.2010

Something's Gotta Give ... And It Isn't My Sanity

I made a very adult decision today. One that I had been contemplating for several weeks.

It was with a very heavy heart that I pulled Riley out of Religious School.

It's rare that I don't follow through with my commitments. In fact, I just don't obligate myself or my kids to activities and events that we know we can't attend. So why I agreed to enroll Riley into Hebrew School when I knew I didn't think it was going to work out from the very beginning is truly beyond me.

When we moved to the Orange County area, it was with the understanding that we'd join the same Synagogue as our cousins so the kids could all go to camp and Religious and Hebrew School together. Sure, it's a solid twenty five minute drive without any traffic, but what's a little distance to have the kids experiencing Judaism together, right? Or so I thought.

While I made this hour round trip, twice a day, every day, for four weeks this summer, I didn't put much thought into what it would be like on the weekdays for Riley when she started Hebrew School. I didn't have a plan for Sheridan and Grady as we waited the two and a half hours for Riley during her class. I certainly wasn't prepared for the class to end at 6:30 pm, and the struggle to get everyone home, fed, showered, homeworked, read, and in bed at a reasonable hour. Especially when, dare I admit it, Grady is in bed around 6:30 pm and the girls follow suit by 7:30 pm. At this rate on Tuesdays, nobody would be in bed before 8:30 pm ... maybe 9 pm.

I had been dreading Tuesdays as soon as school began. I stressed about the traffic. I worried about getting home way past the dog's dinnertime. I began sweating about how cranky the kids would be the next morning. As difficult as it was, I, ruler of the anal retentive universe, finally accepted that I needed to maintain this family's sanity.

Late this afternoon I spoke with the director of the Religious programs at our Synagogue and explained my familial situation. I disclosed our background. Our future direction. I mentioned the girls lack of Religious education, and their desire to "get their Jew on." I apologized (though I'm not sure why) ... for being honest about placing my sanity above my daughter's Hebrew School education.

You know what he said? He got it. Not only did he completely understand, but he told me that he thought I was making the right decision. The best decision. He supported it. And he would immediately refund me the tuition for the year. Which, even though it totally wasn't about the money, is an added benefit.

This wasn't a decision that was made lightly. Nor is it one that I'm sure will be accepted by all. But I don't care. I can't care. When someone starts walking in my shoes ... with their spouse gone for a year, schlepping here, there, and yonder, living in a rented house with somebody else's things and leading a 'temporary life' ... well, then they can judge me.

Until then, I'm pretty darn proud that I took care of myself while making a controversial decision. I know I'm doing the best I can...

And speaking of those who are proud of themselves ... this little one seems pretty sure of herself today too. Can't say the apple fell to far from the tree. *ahem*




Tooth number ten... but who's counting besides Riley?


p.s. I only pulled Riley out of Hebrew School. It's not going to harm her to start next year when we join a Synagogue near our new home. She and her sister are still enrolled in Sunday School.

22 comments:

Connie said...

You knew it might be tricky, but you tried. It was important that you did so! Because you gave it a good go, you know, for sure(!), that it is impossible to handle in your current situation. You would have been filled with doubt and/or guilt over it otherwise! She'll be fine and will get her chance soon enough. :)

Christy said...

I'm proud of you Jill! You made the right decision for everyone! And Riley's sign is adorable. :)

Kristi said...

When Todd was deployed, a few neighbors asked me if I was enrolling Grace in soccer, ballet, gymnastics.... To be honest, the thought of rounding up all the girls, finding all the shoes, (Eleanor LOVES shoes- even as a toddler she would borrow G or mine and walk around with them) getting everyone in car seats and then occupying the babies while Grace became more athletic/graceful was nauseating. Anything that makes your life easier and gives you positive family time this year goes in the WIN column.

Mom24 said...

Sounds very, very smart to me. I'm mad at myself for being overwhelmed with kid activities this year and I've got Mark to help. You need to be very self-protective this year. There's no way it's going to negatively affect Riley. Judaism's been around for thousands of years, waiting a year to study it more in-depthly will not hurt. Your sanity is worth it.

Love the sign, too cute! 10 teeth! Wow! She's way ahead of Julianna.

Bfiles said...

good for you. You have to make the decisions that are right for your family. Hope it gives you some peace of mind.

Just US said...

Those kind of decisions are SO hard to make especially when you are single-parenting it. Good job!

Kristen said...

Wow, the traffic alone in SoCal would have done me in. Your post today is definitely a good lesson to not over-schedule ourselves. Thanks for the reminder!

Emily said...

IT is tough. I am so impressed with you, and I am learning so much from your experiences.
I am glad that the director of Religious programs was supportive, I am sure that makes it even better.
Man. Unaccompanied tours. It is a rough road.

Jen said...

Good for you. Sometimes you just have to do what is right for your family and not what you are supposed to do.

I'll Take Mine... said...

It sounds like you made such a smart decision. And good for the religious director for supporting you. I give him real credit. He did the right thing by showing you that he understands your struggle and knows that you aren't leaving religious education lightly. He could have thrown around guilt, instead he spread empathy. Good guy.

amyjr said...

This was a hard descision but you made the right move for your sanity. I dread Tuesdays as well but because of hebrew school, we have that on Wed. but for the back and forth from one kid to theater to the other kid to theater and hour and half later.
At least you are used to the traffic because DC it is unbelievable how bad the traffic is on the beltway. Still have nightmares..

Issas Crazy World said...

I hope no one judges you for that. Especially this year. Sheesh.

Don't mess with the bedtime. That's my motto. It just messes everything else up.

Issas Crazy World said...

I guess I should add...my girls get to do one thing right now. Each. One thing. And not soccer because it takes up too much time.

My situation is different...but in the moment, you are a single mom and sometimes things just have to give.

Headless Mom said...

Totally understand and I think you made the right decision. They can have cousin time on the weekends and you get your sanity. Good for you!

Natalie said...

Choosing time and sanity sounds like the right choice to me...and then some. You go, girl.

Jennie said...

Ahhhhhh, I can feel your relief. I enjoy reading your updates, but there is always some element of stress in your posts, three kids, one parent, one dog...I mean, just keeping such a brood fed and happy is more than enough! I know Orange County. Commuting is a b****. It is Alpha and Omega to keep it simple, regarding transport, children and keeping an everyday life enjoyable. Good on you for keeping it sane, despite your misgivings.

CaraBee said...

What a relief that the director was so understanding. Wouldn't it have been just awful if after all the agonizing over the decision, he was a jerk about it, too? Good egg, that one.

You absolutely have to do what is right for you. As you say, no one else has to walk in your shoes. You have a tough road ahead of you, every little bit you can do to make it smoother, you should do! Without hesitation or doubt. As Nike would say, Just Do it.

anymommy said...

Good for you, you have to do what works for you and your kids! Hope you are enjoying that new schedule and less driving.

Kat said...

You definitely made the right decision, and you know you did because you feel better. And that director sounds like a very smart and wonderful person. :)
Whew! One problem solved. Don't you feel so much better? :)

Jen said...

Doesn't it feel good to know you made the right decision? And I don't view it as either one of us 'quitting' anything...we both did what we had to do due to the nature of our current situation.

More importantly, as the LGs are happier and more well-rested, we will all be happier (though I am still lacking on well-rested)!

Chelsea said...

How nice that the director was so supportive! I love meeting people who really care about others instead of their own convenience or whatever.

Andrea said...

Sometimes you have to make the decisions that are right for you no matter what other people might say or think. Only you know what you can handle. I think it's fantastic that you found support where you didn't expect it.

I love the tooth fairy note. That is sweet! I think you're teaching a very good lesson if she can say, Yes I am proud of myself for what I have done! Nothing wrong with that.

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