Our days are typically somewhat unscheduled... maybe a gymnastics class here or library storytime there, but mostly - we go where the wind takes us. Maybe we end up at the pool, maybe we surprise Daddy at work and take him to lunch, maybe we practice the alphabet with shaving cream, maybe we never get out of our pajamas... Maybe this, maybe that. What's important is that it's all up to me, up to us - and that we get to choose what shape our day takes, how busy or lazy we want to be.
Rewind to this time last year, when I was working full-time... An alarm woke me up, I showered and got dressed and ready for work while simultaneously trying to tend to the needs of a whiny, clingy, grumpy-in-the-mornings toddler. I'd wrestle to get her dressed and ready for her "school," while rushing out the door with a quick kiss for T, leaving each morning feeling stressed, telling myself I HAD to change our morning routine so that it was less chaotic for all of us. I'd leave work as soon as possible at the end of the day to scoop up my girl, then rush home to squeeze in a slither of playtime/workout/dinner prep, always feeling guilty for having to cut out one of the three.
My how my life has changed in a year. I'm living in a new state, surrounded by all new people, doing a new "job." Sure, I have my work-from-home-business (more on that in another post), but my main job right now? Mom. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be afforded the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, and never even knew it was something I'd want. But now, I spend all these hours with my girl, and I feel like I really know her, like I'm playing such a huge roll in shaping the little person she is becoming.
This is not to make any working mom feel guilty, because I've been there and will likely be there again in the future. Working moms are superheroes, in my opinion.
We're all providing for our children, but we all do it in different ways.
When we moved to GA, the plan was for me to stay home temporarily, and look to find a teaching/principal job of some sort this fall. When the stars aligned and we ended up pregnant with our little miracle, due to arrive in the fall, we kind of decided to let the stay-at-home mom gig last a little longer. How long, we're not sure... But lately, it's been on my mind... Is this really what's best for our family? Am I, are we, making the right decision? Is what I'm doing enough?
It's quite a transition, to go from being an equal financial provider to primarily being just a... mom. And I don't say the word "just" to minimize all that goes into this role, but it's been tough for me to all of a sudden not "work," to depend on my husband to be the breadwinner. There are many times, at the end of the day, where I'm all, "What did I even do today? What difference did I make?"
There's no one patting me on the back, telling me "Good job!", giving me praise or a raise or employee of the month. And coming from the world of education, I went from feeling like I was truly making an impact in this world to wondering if I'm even making enough of an impact in my own little family.
Honestly, it's been a struggle for me. I miss working, and I'm not ashamed to admit that. I miss interacting with my staff everyday, I miss bringing home a paycheck equivalent to that of my husband's, I miss feeling like I am making a difference in the world.
But now I also know what I was missing while I was doing all of those things.
I was missing tending to all of her boo-boos, making all of her meals, teaching her all of her letters and numbers... I was missing countless hours of playdoh and crayons... I was missing playdates and library storytimes and morning gymnastics classes and hours spent on playground swings and breakfast picnics and post-nap pedicures.
I was also missing being the kind of wife my husband deserved, in my opinion.
For us, for our little family, we've decided that I will stay home for now. To be honest, there are many, many days I feel guilty for not providing financially... especially as the end of the month nears and we anxiously await that next paycheck. But as my husband often reminds me, I am providing, in so many other ways. And I am so incredibly thankful to be married to a man who wants me to spend my days with our children. As we all know, these moments are fleeting. And if we can somehow make it work for me to spend this snapshot of time with our kids, no matter how tight things may be... we definitely want to do it. For them. For our babies.
So for now, my work pants are packed away in the attic, and I spend my time with a makeup-less face, wearing yoga pants and a tshirt while knee-deep in playdoh and fingerpaints. There are a lot of deep breaths and timeouts and bandaids and kisses and bribery and short naps and diapers and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and laundry and grocery lists and playroom dance parties and pigtails and bubble baths and tantrums and tight-squeeze hugs and I tell myself...
These are the days.