Mommy Doc Madness: Through the Storm

In case you haven't noticed, the Teague household thrives in chaos. This last week has been particularly chaotic.

Last Monday, we ripped our kitchen out to the studs. Yes, this is not a great idea when six people live in the house; however, my husband and I have talked about remodeling this kitchen for years. We did an addition to our home two years ago, and opted not to touch the kitchen at that time because we did not want to be out of kitchen space for six months. We reconsidered the kitchen about a year ago, but struggled with finding the right contractor and kitchen designer who would design a Chevrolet kitchen as opposed to a Cadillac. We put the whole project on hold for a year and re-opened discussions in the fall. By this point, doors were falling off the cabinets, and you could literally trip over linoleum rolled up on the floor. It was time. In a very weak moment, my husband agreed to the plan, and I had hired a contractor within 24 hours. We started the process when we ordered the cabinets, but we really had no idea when demolition would start. Sure enough, six days before demolition, the contractor sent the text that he wanted to start the next Monday. I scrambled to get a POD delivered and completely emptied my kitchen over the next couple of days. So, if you drive by my house, we’re the rednecks with the big POD sitting on the driveway!

You think you are prepared for life without a kitchen. No matter how much you plan, you are not. We moved the refrigerator out to the back porch. We took the microwave mounted on the wall set it on an outdoor countertop (precariously balanced on towels as it is not designed to sit on a flat surface) and salvaged the toaster. And, we set up the grill. The morning after demolition, my sweet husband, who is committed to a hot breakfast for my kids every morning, got up and cooked eggs and bacon on the grill. It was an utter mess. At that point, we made the decision to eat microwave-only meals or milk and cereal for the next eight weeks. The kids will survive.

The dog is confused (she keeps ripping through the plastic barriers); the kids are grumpy (lots of grump words — see my recent fb post); and we were late to a soccer game Saturday because my child couldn't find her shoes. You currently must walk outside of the house to get to the mudroom where cleats and shoes reside. Of course, she had dropped them elsewhere in the house, and they were nowhere to be found 10 minutes before the game.

In short, it's nuts.

As if that's not enough, my husband submitted his resignation to his firm after 13 years in the same place. This is another decision that's been coming for about 18 months, and we had no idea it would manifest the same week we ripped out the kitchen out. In short, Joe has wanted to cut back his hours and have more flexibility with scheduling to pursue other endeavors and coach the kids. The current business model where he practices is not conducive to that change. And, my job is not exactly flexible. A firm had pursued him for 18 months, and the opportunity arose to make that transition this week. Surprise! At least we had the POD on the driveway to store his stuff! Making a career transition is never easy. Making a career transition after 13 years at one place is even more difficult. Although we know this is the right decision, it is difficult to disappoint folks with whom you have worked for years. And, it is scary. We are stepping out in faith, trusting God to provide for our family. It's the right decision, but it's not easy.

The hardest part about this week for me, however, has been the decision to change our childcare situation. For eight years since the boys were born, we have had live-in childcare. In my book, I’ve written about that humbling decision to have help move in my house, so I won't repeat that discussion here. At Christmas, when our last au pair’s year was up, Joe and I felt that we had reached a place in our lives that we could try after-school care only. I was ready to have my house back, and I was confident that we could make it on her own since we had one going into high school this next fall.

We used a nanny placement service and found a precious young woman who was looking for part-time nanny work. She joined our family in December, overlapping a few weeks with our au pair. She has truly been fantastic, and the kids adore her.

However, over the last three months, Joe and I have been tormented with the inability to manage our household. I mentioned in a previous blog that we had a fall season with four kids playing eight sports and Joe coaching two of those eight teams. We didn't realize how much we relied on the nanny after 6 PM to shuttle kids where they need to go. Spring sports are starting back up in the chaos again. I jokingly say my real job is a Mommy Uber . . . it just does not pay well!

After weeks of agonizing over this decision, Joe and I decided to go back to a live-in nanny. The hardest part for me has been once again recognizing that I could not do it alone. I am a control freak. I like to be in charge. Admitting that I cannot handle my household without help is bitter pill to swallow. But, I’m swallowing it again.

A few weeks back, we started the process of finding a new au pair, and we have found a lovely young Brazilian woman who will be joining our household this week. Again, it is a leap of faith, and it is a difficult decision. You never know what it will be like to bring another person into your home. However, God has clearly given us a vision that opening our home to these young women is part of our calling as well. God has just renewed that calling.

The hardest part has been telling our current nanny that we will be letting her go. And, she is just fabulous. She smart, funny, conscientious, and the kids love her. I told her I would keep her if she and her husband wanted to move in! (If you know of anyone looking for a wonderful after-school nanny, please let me know!) That was a painful and tearful conversation.

Joe ended up telling her on Friday before I even got home from work. The fact that I got hung up at the office and could not get home by six just reinforced our decision that we needed live-in childcare. When I called her to talk to her personally, we both just wept. Then, today, when I walked in the house and saw her, I cried again.

We know we are doing the right thing for our family, but, it's hard. The whole week has been hard. We had a significant storm the other night. As I laid in bed and listened to the crashing thunder and the rain beating against the windows, I thought about how our household feels like as storm right now. Physically (with sheetrock dust, crowbars and saws) or emotionally (with tears of transition and uneasiness about the future), it’s a storm. I opened my Bible to this verse: He calms the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea are hushed (Psalm 107:29). I needed that reminder. The forecast is looking better in the Teague household!

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