It has been a very strange week. I have not reported to the office, but I’m not on vacation or at home recovering from childbirth and caring for a newborn. My doctor took me out of work due to the risks involved with twin pregnancy. The crazy thing is that, ideally, these babies shouldn’t be born until May – a whole month from now! After hustling so hard, for so long, I’ve suddenly found myself with something resembling freedom.
In my prior pregnancies, I always worked until the bitter end. It was a struggle, but our finances and priorities took away any other option. I’m the breadwinner of the house. While I’m thankful for maternity leave that actually includes some paid time off, it’s still a discrete period of time that gets spread between any time off before birth and after birth. I always chose to struggle through the end of pregnancy, so I could preserve my paid time off for spending with the new baby.
This pregnancy has been very different from the previous ones in many ways. One big change is that I should qualify for short-term disability before the birth of the twins (paperwork is being processed). Typically, just being uncomfortable in your third trimester is not enough to qualify for disability, but you often qualify for six to eight weeks of disability following childbirth. In twin pregnancy, there are many more risks and I am already the size of someone who is full term. I’m experiencing many issues in addition to discomfort, including a severely decreased ability to get around very well.
I guess this is my limited opportunity to experience something resembling early retirement: there is money coming in, but I don’t have to work. However, it’s not quite a true representation of our goals for the future.
That being said, I feel somewhat lazy and remorseful about how little I’ve accomplished this week. Yes, I am supposed to be taking it easy, but that was pretty much all I have been doing for the past few days. It probably shows that I was pretty worn out. The last month or so of work was really busy and stressful. And, I was trying to get things wrapped up as much as possible. I really needed a little time to rest and reset myself.
The good news is that I’m feeling a little bit better. While still physically miserable, my head is clear and I’m feeling more relaxed and happier. I can definitely see how early retirees can benefit from building some structure into their days. I’m not talking about a rigid schedules, because isn’t that the point of escaping? It just seems beneficial to start every day with a short to-do list of things to accomplish or specific ways to enjoy yourself. Otherwise, I can see how you could waste days away.
I’ve always been a night owl, but it’s sort of amazing how quickly my sleep schedule is shifting. Waking up when I’m ready is so very nice. I have an alarm set to get Goofball ready to hop on the bus, but usually wake up before it goes off. I’m staying up later at night, and usually indulging in a nap during the afternoon. A huge draw of semi-retirement is this sort of flexibility to live according to our unique inclinations, rather than abiding by the schedule of “normal.”
It has become painfully obvious just how important it is to maintain your health. It needs to be a priority now, even though our semi-retirement is still years away. While I may have more time, I’m still limited due to my physical condition. There are so many things that I would like to be able to do right now. I can’t go for a jog around the neighborhood, go on a hiking adventure with the kids, or even take a bike ride with them to the playground. The hustling is important to reach our goals, but it won’t be as enjoyable when we get there if we don’t make our health a priority too.
I do have a few goals for the next month – not huge ones, because it’s always important to be realistic with goals. First and foremost, I will keep in mind the purpose of this time off from work is to rest and keep these babies growing for as long as possible. However, it does feel like quite a blessing and opportunity, which I would hate to waste on just watching television and napping. I would like to read some actual books (I usually only listen to audio books during my commute), work on my e-book, refashion at least one article of clothing, and set up an Etsy shop online to see if I can sell some items left over from the craft sale. We have a few final preparations to take care of for the twins. I have already finished crocheted blankets for both of them 🙂
Finally, I really want to devote a good portion of this time to my family. This is an opportunity to give the kids attention, before three becomes five. I can’t do everything with them, but there is plenty we can do, like reading books together. I’m enjoying spending time with Mr. Smith, before life gets a bit crazier. It’s been forever since I documented kid stuff in my Mommy Journal. I even had time to put in a little extra effort for Trey’s birthday treat for daycare. He loves Cookie Monster and it was so wonderful to see the huge smile on his face when I showed him his cupcakes.
I do have some plans for the blog during this time too, so stay tuned . . . there is another exciting update coming soon 🙂