I Survived 2011. Barely.

The other day I stumbled across a list I had made on my iPhone entitled “2011”. The only thing left on it was “survive”.

Earlier this year I quit my big law firm job in Atlanta, where I had practiced law for almost my entire career. We’d always talked abut me getting an in-house gig or moving closer to Kentucky, but to have the opportunity to do both, with a Fortune 500 company and a Vice President title to boot? I would be out of my mind to turn that down. It seemed like a dream job in a dream location, and we were right about both of those things. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some challenges. We lived in Atlanta for almost 11 years. We moved there so my husband could attend culinary school, and never intended to stay long. I made some very dear friends, mostly at or through my firm, who became part of my family. Even though our actual families lived far away, we had a solid support system in place by the time our children arrived. While I love the fairly regular schedule I keep at my new job, it is harder to bond with folks at work when the whole building is empty after 6 p.m. The first 6 months in Louisville, we lived downtown, which didn’t help much either – the last place people want to be after working downtown all day is downtown. Although I have made some friends through our preschool, many of us will be going our separate ways for kindergarten next year so people feel a bit non-committal. Maybe next year.

My husband still works as a corporate chef for a company headquartered in Atlanta. His job requires a lot of travel, and he is typically absent from our home every Monday through Friday. Taking on the enormous task of raising our children alone while getting into the groove of a new career and city is even more daunting than I had imagined. My older child was enrolled in a fantastic Montessori program in Atlanta, but we were moving in early March, too late to join a new school for the semester. As much as it pains me to admit this, we have had a total of 5 nannies since we moved. FIVE. 2 bad, 2 good, and one 2 week stint with our Atlanta nanny, who lived with us while we figured out what to do next. Both of my children are enrolled in the same wonderful preschool now, and we have after-school nanny that we love. I honestly don’t know how I would pull this off without her. I can focus on my career while at the office, and on my children when I am home. My boss has 4 kids and would be appalled if I missed a school performance or came to work when one of my kids was sick. Overall, things have settled down in the kid department, and the days of wondering what the hell I was thinking when I took this on and how much therapy our kids will need are fewer and farther between.

Although I have the Monday-Friday routine down to a science as far as the kids are concerned, my marriage has been reduced to a series of texts and phone calls during the week and weekends jam-packed with family activities on the weekends. Sure, there’s not a lot of time to waste on petty arguments, but there’s also not a lot of time to reconnect. My husband feels guilty if we go out without the kids since he’s gone all week, and I’m so tired by Friday that going out after the kids are asleep doesn’t work for me - I can sleep at home for free. We’ve yet to find a solution.

Our favorite way to decompress is vacation, but vacation time this year was depleted by moving twice (once to the Galt House, once to our now-home) and childcare gaps. Bring on 2012! We’ve already booked a weekend away for the Savannah Book Festival in February and a family vacation to Charleston for Spring Break. Still, anyone know of a job opening at KFC? I kid, I kid. Sort of.