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??

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