I love my weekends. Love them. Especially because mine are always 3 days long. As we’ve discussed before I only work 26-ish hours a week so I am off on Mondays. This is great for many reasons though the main reason I used to love it so much was that I could do all my house work and grocery shopping while my kids were in school and The Hubs was at work. I could blast my music on the surround sound and sing and dance around the house while I cleaned. I showered for as long as I wanted and took all the time I could, doing makeup and hair while belting out my favorite old school Mariah Carey songs. Most weeks, by the time the weekend was over I was refreshed and ready (almost excited) to head back to work on Tuesdays. *Work is extra awesome for me since I work for my friend’s husband and there are pretty much no rules ;)*
More recently I have come to love weekends for the freedom of sleeping in as much as I want too, and wearing sweatpants without worrying about looking “dressed”. I also love my weekends because my time is mine. Now, I am sure you are thinking that we all love our weekends because the time is our own, but when your every move is constantly dictated by your level of pain you really start to cherish the days when you are on no one’s schedule but your own.
From the time I get home on Friday afternoon until the time I go to bed on Monday night I don’t have to worry about anything. I don’t need to worry that my pain might spike and keep me from sleeping well the night before a busy day at work. If I stay up all night Friday night with movies, Percocet and heating pads I don’t have to worry that the clock is ticking away at the early morning hours counting the minutes until I need to get up for work. I don’t worry because I know I can just sleep it off the next day until I am ready to wake up. I don’t have to consider what other people might need from me before I can do the things I want. I can go at my pace, and do things as my body allows and I can do it all while enjoying my sweatpants, heating pads and stretching breaks.
For those 90 hours I get to just be me, without worrying about my facial expression giving away my number or having to pretend I am society’s description of normal. Yep, these 90 hours are mine, and as soon as they are over I count the days until the next weekend arrives. And just as wonderful as those 3 and a half days are, the 4 work days in between are what seems like my own personal torture (seems harsh, I know. I don’t have another word….)
Every Tuesday morning I drag myself out of bed after (no doubt) hitting the snooze button at least twice. I take my first dose of pain medication and begin the 4 day count to freedom again. My work week begins (and ends) with a 45 minute one way drive to and from work, which, in itself guarantees I will have pain today since driving is a huge trigger for my pain. I plaster my happy face on and participate in the daily chatter at work about school events, weekend adventures and co-worker’s kids. I spend hours forcing myself to pretend everything from my belly button to my knees isn’t screaming at me to lay down or get an ice pack so that I can process time cards and invoices.
Then I head home to swap my work pants for sweat pants and proceed to take on the role of Mom and Wife. I cook dinner and help with homework while counting the hours until I get to snuggle up next to The Hubs on the couch and call it a day. I imagine heading up to bed looks like a camping trip to the average person. In order to set up (yes, ‘set up’) for bedtime I need to bring my water bottle, heating pad, ice pack and pillows up from the living room and kitchen. All of these things are set up next to the bed so that they are within arm’s reach should I need them in the middle of the night. This has become such a ritual that The Hubs even brings these items up for me if I forget one. (he is awesome) I can’t remember a night that I didn’t wake up and need at least 1 ice pack…..
Now, I am not saying that the work week is so hellish that I never smile or have a good laugh. I simply refuse to allow this pain to do that to my life. But I would be lying if I said the idea of leaving the workforce hasn’t crossed my mind (and the minds of my mom, The Hubs and The Bunny). The idea of a 7 day weekend is romantic and alluring when I consider the amount of good days I could use to do things I like. It gets to be an even shinier idea when I allow myself to think that cutting out those triggers would lead to more good days. But the truth is that there are consequences to this plan as well and they aren’t all financial. I mean, what does a near 30-year-old woman do if she isn’t working and her kids are in school?
Additionally, I am not so convinced that leaving my job wouldn’t be the equivalent of waiving the white flag of surrender to the pain. And that, my friends….. I will never do.