All I wanted was an hour of quiet time. And my children (even though they were both clearly exhausted) flat-out refused to nap. It’s moments like this that I wonder: Do they really belong to me?

Sleeping is one of my special gifts. I can sleep anywhere, anytime. I have fallen asleep in airplanes, in restaurants, under the piano of a large hotel, in bowling alleys, on top of a freezer. It is only rarely that I have difficulty sleeping. This is one of those times.

Since the beginning of my last week at Work, I cannot sleep. I cannot fall asleep and I cannot stay asleep. The caffeine that I am addicted to may be a contributing factor but let’s take a closer look: My fingertips are raw. Literally. They are a mass of tiny open wounds, all but one self-inflicted. I am a nail-biter and when I am anxious, I am a skin picker. I systematically destroy the skin surrounding my nails until it is an oozy, bleeding mess. It’s disgusting and I know it. Usually I can limit myself to just one or two fingers—typically my thumbs. Right now, all my fingers are in play.

Yes, I’m aware of how lucky I am to have this opportunity to be with my kids. I get it and I am thankful. This should have been an easy decision. And yet, it was, and is, difficult for me to make this choice. It IS the right choice for me as well as for my family. I truly believe this. It’s just that in some small way, I can’t help but feel as though I’m quitting on a part of myself.  It’s hard being a mom.  It’s hard to make a career.  Reconciling the two halves of the whole might be the hardest of all.