Just when I thought I was out…


Part of the reason I am working part-time nowadays in my current job is the issue of boundaries.

I served eight years as a school administrator in two districts. At the start of that time I had no kids, and since my wife worked long hours, and I had been working as a School Psychologist (i.e. school hours with my summers off), I felt like I had time to devote to work. Sure enough, as soon as I accepted the first job I could feel it spilling over my previous time boundaries, filling my calendar with meetings at all hours and at all times of year. It was like The Blob had taken over my life. But that was okay. I had the time.

Besides the time boundaries, the usual social boundaries didn’t apply either. Suddenly a spent a lot of time with people who didn’t understand boundaries or purposely crossed them to get what they wanted. On evenings and weekends I made frequent trips to the computer to “check my hate mail.” But that was okay. I grew up a a lot in those first years.

Then Harrison was born. Babies don’t do boundaries. They demand unreasonable things at unreasonable times and in unreasonable ways. That’s a baby’s job. As Harrison grew, Sarah and I tried to keep our parenting within boundaries so our unbounded professional lives could continue. We parented at certain times of the day, and at other times Grandma and day care took over. It didn’t feel right, but it pretty much worked. I didn’t see that we had any alternative.

Then Grace was born. If one (well behaved, low maintenance) child was difficult to keep within boundaries, two were impossible. And I changed jobs, much closer to home but spending more time dealing with behavior that crossed boundaries. I was dropping off the most important things in the world at day care in the morning, trying to keep them manageable, so I could go to a job that was consuming me. Something had to give.

It’s a long story, but things did give, and now life is good. I spend a finite amount of time doing a job I enjoy, and the rest of my time is available to two wonderful, appropriately unreasonable children. In a few days things will get even more out of control. I welcome that, and it never would have been possible when my job was unbounded.

Which is what makes what I’ll be doing tomorrow so ironic. A family has charged my former district with Civil Rights violations, and I am one of the many people named to be interviewed about it. I said I would make myself available, but asked that it not be a work day and not too close to this Friday. Response: it will be tomorrow, my last work day before the twins are born. Okay, I said, then please schedule me at the beginning of the day so at least I won’t miss too much work. Yesterday I learned I’m scheduled for 11:00AM.

So less than 48 hours before one of the most important days in my life, in the middle of the job that I enjoy, The Blob comes back to haunt me. Just a reminder, I guess, of why I should be thankful for the life I have now.

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