Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Heart Hurts

Growing up, I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.

I didn’t ever really dream of being home all day, everyday, with my kids.

My mom was a single, working mom to four kids.  Now, she didn’t plan her life to be this way, but it was through her example that I decided I, too, would be a working mom.

In retrospect, my decision to want to be a working mom is absolutely a result of my childhood.  Our tragedy planted the desire within me to never want to depend on a man to provide my only source of income.

Even upon getting pregnant, I knew I’d go back to work after maternity leave and never questioned my decision to be a working mom.

And then she was born.

And I realized I didn’t want to miss a minute of her life.

Unfortunately, staying at home wasn’t an option when my maternity leave days ticked away.  I begrudgingly went back to work, struggling to balance it all while trying to do my job well, make my daughter feel loved (even though I was away from her for nine hours a day), and give my husband all he deserved.

We survived, unscathed, minus a few tearful nights and frozen dinners.

I counted down the days until summer, during which I would get eight weeks off to soak in every inch of my sweet Cameron Kate.

And I have to say, it’s been about as perfect as can be.  I’ve had a small taste of what my life would be like as a stay-at-home mom.

And I would give anything to make it happen.

Except that it can’t.

We’ve crunched the numbers.  I’ve stared at our budget spreadsheets endlessly, trying to wrap my brain around any possible way to live off of my hub’s current income.

And unfortunately, it’s just not in the cards right now.

It is what it is.

And I’d be lying if I said my heart doesn’t break a tiny bit every time I think about August 13th, when I’ll pack my lunch, take out my pump, park my car in the school parking lot, and set up my digital picture frame on my desk.

I’m trying to find comfort in the fact that I had eight blissful, memorable, perfect weeks with Cameron.  Eight weeks during which she reached some awesome milestones, and I got to see them all.  Eight weeks that filled me up with so much joy I often felt as if my heart would explode.

But it’s hard, ya know?

Because it’s like, now I know what I’m missing while I’m away from her.  Now that she’s growing into this little girl, this – toddler – I want to watch her figure out her world.  I wanna be the one to see it all.  I wanna experience all of her good days and bad days.  I wanna throw myself on the couch at night, exhausted from running around and chasing after her.

But – I can’t.  No way around it.

And it sucks.

So for now, my dreams of being a stay-at-home mom will have to be put on hold.

I’ve gotta put on my working mama brave face and muster up the energy to live a life that my heart is not really in.  I’ve gotta trust that maybe right now I’m meant to not focus solely on shaping the life of my own little girl.  Maybe I’m meant to affect other kids’ lives, kids at my school, who need attention, and love, and support that they aren’t fortunate enough to get at home.

But I’m going to miss her like crazy. L


  1. Mama Jess, know that you ARE shaping her life, in so many amazing ways. Cameron has no doubt that she is loved beyond words-that is blatantly obviously to anyone who spends .5 seconds around the two of you and sees how you look at her (and her, you). Find comfort in knowing that you are shaping her life in the most important ways possible and that she is a blessed, loved-beyond-words baby girl.

  2. Reading this makes my heart hurt for you, Jessie. :( There is no way of knowing before you have your baby (or babies) how much they will take over your heart and change what your entire life is all about. There is no doubt that you are a wonderful mother, in whatever capacity your life allows right now. Cameron Kate knows you and loves you, and even though the majority of her day is spent at school, YOU and TJ are the most influential people in her life. I know all about living a life your heart is not in, I did it begrudgingly for 2 years until I was able to stay home. But your baby is in good hands, and when you ARE able to stay home, you will treasure that time, and never take it for granted, because you will know what it's like on the other side too. I'll be thinking of you in the upcoming few weeks.