And yet, so not complicated.
Thanks for your comments everyone. I know it's my decision to make in the end, but it has been really great to have other people's ideas and perspectives to consider. Sometimes you're just so close to a situation that you can't see it clearly. The comment section was getting quite long though, so I thought I'd respond in a new post.
Lorraine, you make some very sensible and valid points, just like my dad. I think he'd like you! My whole life, Dad has been my 'sensible'. He is always the one who can see the potential hazards or problems. That's not to say that he isn't supportive, because he (and mum, who is also very sensible but lets dad do all the voicing of the concerns!) is. Very supportive. They are very good about letting me make my own decisions though, and have always been there to help when things go wrong. I don't know what I'd do without their support and help (although hopefully I don't have to ask for that very often, and especially not this time. They have enough to worry about!). Thanks, lovely parents!
I like to think that I'm already a fairly organised mum. And a couple of the things Lorraine suggested are things I do already; like freezing meals and not ironing (or cleaning often!).
I can't get a cleaner yet as my household is so strange and crazy that I couldn't afford what they'd charge! However, when all our renos are done, I think it's something that I will definitely do! I've been saying that for years.
I like the idea of online shopping too. Must try it!
And Lorraine (and dad) are right. I don't need to be worrying about money now. That thought has been playing and playing on my mind. It's the only thing that's been stopping me from making a definite decision to cut back. To make matters even more complicated, now Anthony's going the other way: 'do it; it's only for 6 months; I've got work in the shed waiting' etc etc, which makes it even worse!
Of course, we've been much worse off in the past. As Deb said, when I was at uni, Anthony supported us and things were very tight. This made things tense at times, but we managed. What I'm thinking about doing now won't be anything like those times. And honestly, I care a lot less about having lots of money than I used to. My priorities have changed so much. Of course, we need it to prevent us ending up on the street, but I have no desire to compromise my health and happiness (or anyone else's) just to make more money.
Apart from the money, what it comes down to is this. At the moment, given my state of mind, I worry about my capacity do the job well. I'm running low on leave days, and if this past term is anything to go by, there are still going to be times when I can't face work; where I need a day (or two or three) off. Do I take my chances with that or act in anticipation of it? The question is rhetorical of course, because I can't know what's ahead. But what I do know is that teaching isn't the kind of job that allows for too many mistakes; too much instability. Who knows how long it will take me to get my head together? Hopefully not years. But it has only been six months. Is it too much to ask that I take a year at least to get my head around this? To work out who I actually am without Sam? Nobody that hasn't been through this can know the answer. Actually, I don't think anyone can know. We're all built so differently. This is just what I need.
But I must also say, Lorraine also makes a very valid point about the potential to be sitting around doing nothing. It's very possible. There have been many times that I have got to the end of the weekend or the end of the holidays and thought "is it really possible that I've done nothing at all?".
Some of that is recharging: I (we - teachers) get so tired and drained by the end of the term, it often takes a week to recover.
Some of it is also laziness. I do like doing nothing sometimes. But then again, I don't know if lazy is the right word. I don't know why we feel so guilty about relaxing. About sitting down and reading a book, or watching a good movie. Or knitting. I don't see why I should have to wait until retirement to do the things I enjoy.
But taking a day off a week to relax is not really what I had in mind. And hopefully that's not the way I would go. I must say I've done a bit of it this past week, but I've been in a bit of a slump (and adjusting to this medication). I have been doing too much thinking to be productive. But at the same time, I've also seen that side of depression - the sitting-around-doing-nothing side. And it was pretty scary. I don't mind saying that's where I was headed too. Luckily, I made the right choice to go and see my doctor, and I think he's got to me in time.
I do have plans. Things I would do in the time Oli is at school. And quite frankly I'm sick of making plans that I'm too scared or too busy to act on. I've got an idea for a children's book that I've been mulling over for a while; I've got a garden that could be a good little money maker with a bit of work (or at least make us more self-sufficient and save us a lot of money on food); I'd like to investigate photography a bit more, maybe try and sell some photos; I've got an idea for an educational web-based resource; etc etc. I am aware of the danger of putting too much stock in these things; that they may be just 'get rich quick' schemes. But how do you ever know if you don't try?
Yes, I've definitely got things that I can be doing. Productive things. Things that might give me an idea of what I want for the future. Things that might help me find myself again. Things that will make me feel like I'm living; following my intuition, my dreams.
So I guess what this means is that I've made my decision. It's scary, and it's a bit of a risk and it's probably not going to be popular with everyone, but in the end it's mine to make.
Now I just have to make it happen. That could be the hard part.