Dear Dr. Laura,
My thinking has come full circle, and I give you all the credit.
I had always been a stay at home mom, for many of the reasons you discuss every day. I've listened to you for over 20 years, and needed you to keep me strong while I cleaned up puke and poop. My boys entered the 5th and 10th grades this fall, so thinking "wow, this is great" started substitute teaching. When I worked I felt really proud of myself for being a super mom. I had back up plans and an intricate network of finding "other" care for my 10 year old. I naively thought my newly licensed 16yr old could do all the transporting for his brother, to and from school and karate. I would ask my older son not to come home because it would be more efficient to stay near the dojo rather than coming home and driving back across town to the dojo in an hour. I didn't realize I was pushing my responsibilities onto my older son and husband. I felt really efficient, still made dinner, kept up with the house work etc. (lie, I just wasn't home enough to notice the dirt or remember when the bathroom was last cleaned). I did all this just by picking up the pace, giving my husband quick instructions, and going through the motions as quickly as possible. I was living a lie. My home life had never been so chaotic, but had a veneer of structure and routine.
My kids went to school sick a couple times because I had already rushed out the door without glancing their way. Once I sent my 10yr old to school with a fever. When the acetaminophen wore off at 10 o'clock, he became feverish, so the school nurse called. I pretended not to know anything and suggested he rest for an hour, before trying again. That lie gave me at least an hour to get my husband to drop everything and pick him up, because I couldn't get away from my job, which ironically was taking care of other peoples' kids. Periodically we'd have family meetings and I'd lay more responsibilities on them, all the while complimenting them for basically fending for themselves.
Dr. Laura, you helped me admit my boys still need me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be there for them. Everybody is happier and more relaxed now that I'm not working all day at my job. Thank you for keeping me cheerful while I work around the house and yard. You are a gift.