As we discussed this morning, I am hereby submitting in writing my request for a one-year sabbatical from the posititon of Mama.
I’ve been in this position nearly three years now (closer to four if you count the preliminary gestational phase), and, though there’ve been rough patches, I’ve headed up a team that has achieved a great deal. We’ve gone from four microscopic gametes to two whole human beings, a total of 56 pounds of girl.
As head of nutrition, education, hygiene, entertainment, discipline, planning, logistics, and spousal management, I feel a great sense of pride in the two terrific children we’ve raised. Ingrid pees in the potty, says thank you, “reads” like a maniac, and (for some reason) can identify all 50 states, on a map plus several European countries and Cuba. Iris can crawl, woof, and eat avocados with her own hands. And they are both as adorable and healthy as I can imagine two kids being. It’s hard to argue with that evidence.
And let’s not forget my important role as producer and procurer of food for the family. During my tenure here, I’ve not only personally produced over 140 gallons of milk (conservative estimate), I’ve supervised the cultivation of three summers’ impressive crops of herbs, tomatoes, and pumpkins; made at least 200 trips to the grocery store, and prepared at least 1000 meals.
You have been well aware of my dissatisfaction with the working conditions here, and yet I have also made clear that I consider it a great privilege to bear the title of Mama and have on occasion found sublime joy in carrying out my work. I hope to remain in this position for many years.
But I think you’ll agree that this past three years has been an exhausting period of time. The lack of sleep, the intense demands on my body, the requirement that I be present at nearly all times, the absolute rarity of any time at all to myself; anyone would agree that after three years of this, a person needs and deserves a substantial break.
I believe it is to the advantage of the whole family—children, father, and myself—to bring in a fresh, energetic temporary replacement to fill my position for this coming year. Someone unmuddled by sleep deprivation; someone with fresh solutions to the perennial whine of I’m cold but I don’t want to wear my coat and the ongoing cry of I want to nurse and practice crawling at the same time.
During my sabbatical, I plan to sleep, write, go for leisurely runs, and, as funding permits, spend several months near the ocean. I am confident that I will return to this position rejuvenated and ready to assume again the great responsibility and honor of being the primary caregiver for these two lovely children.