Saturday, April 23, 2011

on being a stay at home mom

I work full time. I have had a job since I was thirteen years old. Yes, thirteen. My parents owned an ice cream shop and I worked there. I was so small that when I scooped people's ice cream I literally had to climb up and hang inside of the freezer in order to reach the tubs. It was probably quite odd looking.

When Cory and I got married it was never really a discussion as to whether or not I would stay home with our children. His mom worked, my mom worked, of course I would work. Then, we started trying to have a baby. A feeling started creeping up inside of me, I think it was dread. You see, I always knew I wanted to be a mommy. But from the minute that desire turned into the reality of trying for a baby and then ultimately getting pregnant, I fell instantly and indescribably in love with our unborn child. I became a mother, I think, with that first pregnancy test (the first of many pregnancy tests as I've talked about before). When my heart became a mother's heart, that feeling creeping up and eventually filling me was the absolute knowledge that I wanted to be home with my children. That there was no way I would be able to leave them everyday, all day. I tried so hard to swallow that feeling, to tell it (very sternly with my new mommy voice that matched my new mommy heart) where it could go. But it didn't go there. It stayed inside of me and filled up my chest and made it feel heavy and tight. I knew that for us there wasn't an option. My husband works at a church and neither one of us have trust funds or have ever won the lottery so two incomes were completely necessary. I spent my pregnancy praying for this new desire in me to either go away or that God would show us how it would be possible to be an option.

When Everett came into the world I actually had a lot of peace about going back to work. I think when you know something isn't a choice you just kind of have to suck it up. The desire in me didn't go away, I just put it to the side and let God work in that area, waiting on Him to provide, or not provide, options.

The first month being back at work was pretty brutal. I knew it was where I was supposed to be and I actually really love my job so the days at work were not that hard, but every night and every morning was a struggle to fit everything in that I needed to get done, when all I actually wanted to do was hold him and look at him and smell him. However, one can not just sit around smelling thier baby. There is food to cook, a house to look after, a husband to spend time with and make a priority. You know, all those really small easy things.

After that month I started going in the MAD direction. I was MAD at God. I was MAD at my friends who got to stay home with their babies. I was MAD at myself for making choices with our money that led us to a place where we didn't have any choices. Obviously I also spent a lot of time being mad...along with the cleaning...and the smelling...and the holding.

It's been about 5 months since I returned to work. I'm not saying that I am glad that I am a working mom, but I do see little glimpses of blessings among the days of struggle and juggling Everett around from me, to my husband, to the babysitter (who we love by the way), and exhaustion. Mostly, I think that being a working mom makes me grateful for the time I spend with my son. I can genuinely say that I enjoy almost every minute I am with him. He brings me joy and he gives me renewed energy every time I am around him. And if I'm honest with myself, I don't think I would be able to say that if I was with him 24/7.

I also think my husband has the opportunity to have a relationship with Everett that I don't think he would have if I was the main caregiver. We share parenting, completely, and it has brought me to a place of even deeper appreciation for the husband that chose me, if that was even possible.

I'm not saying that everyday I skip around giddy and happy. I spend a lot of my day getting really excited about going to sleep later. I also am not trying to discount the blessings of the stay at home mom. I know that they love their children and that their husbands love their children. I am just speaking of my experience, and trying to find the good where I can.

Eventually I know that I am going to be able to stay home. In the meantime, I'm trying to learn to care less about how clean my house is, or not feel bad if we have Pho for dinner 2 days in a row. And mostly I'm just trying to not put myself in autopilot and try to breeze through this time of life and wait until I'm a stay at home mom. It is ENOUGH that God made me a mom, and I'm trying my best to remember that.

Oh, and I go home to this face everyday, what do I have to complain about??

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesdays With Sara

We just got back from vacation, we don't have any food in the house, all three of us have the death flu, I'm wearing sweatpants, and I wish I was napping. Let's just leave it at that and move on to the book discussion, yes?

First things first...I copied this image from a website entitled "Doula Right Thing." That is awesome in and of itself (my husband and I had a conversation about whether or not you would write that "in and of itself" or "inandofitself," he thought it might be all one word. Anyone know so I don't have to google? Also, anyone know why the heck two people would actually care enough to talk about it?)

But I digress. The real awesomeness I came here to talk about what this book. I came across "Baby Catcher" when I was obsessively researching labor. It came up in a library topic search I did one day and I like memoirs and I obviously like labor so I picked it up and was not disappointed. There are so many books about natural childbirth but most of them are how-to guides that include a lot of techniques and awkward looking pictures of men with long hair and cut-off jean shorts laying next to naked women squatting but not a lot of heart. This book is very different. It is basically the birth stories of hundreds of women through the eyes of a Certified Nurse Midwife and catalogs all the many different types of births she was a part of throughout her career. I think there is a story for almost every different kind of birth you can imagine, some beautiful and others heartbreaking. I loved reading this while I was pregnant because it made me feel so empowered. It made me realize that millions of women have birthed their babies naturally. And not all of them would consider themselves abnormally strong or brave or special in their normal life. But something about the miracle of birth gave them the ability to do it and reading their stories made me think that if they could, then certainly I could to.

This recommendation is somewhat limited because I don't think anyone who isn't pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant would want to read it. But for those of you who fall into these two categories it's a must read.

*Disclaimer- there are a couple of stories in which the end result is quite tragic and sad. If you are someone who is trying to avoid thinking about the worst case scenario when it comes to labor maybe you should avoid it. But for me, I think knowing everything that could go wrong made me feel more prepared. Anyway, I thought a proper warning was only fair.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

7 months

This is the face of a boy who knows full well how freakin' cute he is, and just how much that fact is going to work in his favor for years and years to come. My boy is 7 months old. He has been spending the last month of his life tirelessly working towards being mobile. He has many combinations; from scooting, to army crawling, to arms and feet instead of arms and knees, which is particularly cute and makes him look like quite the athlete. He hasn't mastered any of these moves but he spends his days practicing and then finally crying out of frustration when his little energy finally runs out.

He has mastered the art of self-feeding. Right now heaven for Everett is a tray full of sweet potato puffs that he can pick up and stick in his mouth by the handful (usually about one or two actually makes it into his mouth).

We are heading out to see the my parents for a week. I expect by the end of this vacation he will be spoiled in ways the human race hasn't discovered yet. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday's with Sara

Truth be told...I have never read "Tuesdays With Morrie." I'm always been skeptical of any book for sale next to the Starbucks counter, or anytime someone says, "you just have to read this!" So forgive the silly title. But it's Tuesday and I decided that I wanted to start doing a weekly book suggestion post and my husband is gone all night and my dog is snoring in my ear and sometimes the things we do in these moments don't make a lot of let's just move on, yes?

The first book I chose is really quite timely, as I just found out the movie version came out a month ago in "select" cities. I myself do NOT live in a select city, so I'm either going to have to road trip it or wait patiently for the DVD release. Let's be honest, it will probably be the latter. The book I'm talking about is my beloved "Jane Eyre." I re-read this book every year around Christmas time, and I don't really think there is a connection but something about my mood in that seasons draws me to this story.

For those of you who have not read this book I will not give away too much of the plot, but just know that it is about unrequited love, requited love, mystery, and scandal. Jane Eyre is a young woman who overcomes a loveless childhood with a courageous and faithful spirit, who embraces life and every experience that comes her way with a childlike frankness and faith. I LOVE her. There are a few books I have read in my life where I feel a kinship with the characters, that I feel like I somehow see their heart and that if I could meet them we would be friends. If I met Jane Eyre we would most certainly drink tea and have many conversations about love, loss, and faith. Hopefully this interaction would happen in her time period and not mine, however, because I would really like to be wearing a petticoat and a corset when it all went down.

To say Janey (yes, we are that close) is a page turner is an understatement. You literally have no idea what is going to happen when you start reading it and the twists and turns it sends you on will blow your mind. I know that people hear the last name "Bronte" and immediately start falling asleep. We have a local commercial here for a mattress store where the jingle comes on..."Mattress Land!!" and people drop on the spot into a deep slumber. Basically change the jingle to "Bronte!!!" and you get the image I've got in my head. This is not your average Victorian Age novel. The language is easily understood, the terms are simple to understand, and the story feels very current and very tangible.

To sum it up, go read the story about my friend Jane. She is really awesome. Oh, and I dare you to not swoon at least once before the book is over. Happy reading!