Ever since I was very young I have enjoyed staying busy, working, studying, keeping active and doing anything except being still. I never would have imagined myself as a stay-at-home Mom. Staying home sounded awful…Cooking? Cleaning? Chores? No thank you! That is until I started working at a childcare center in college.
I learned a lot while working at this daycare…through hands-on experience. My very first day I was thrown into a room with 26 school-aged children and was basically told to keep them safe and entertained until their parents picked them up. I swear I even heard the door lock behind me. I had recently decided to go to school for education, but had no idea what I was getting myself into. On that first day a little girl, named Michalya, jumped onto a table and started screaming and dancing while the rest of the kids followed suit on the floor. I was more concerned for my safety than any of theirs.
Before long, I learned to put on my “I mean business face” and use my teacher voice to control an entire gym full of little rascals. More importantly, I learned to communicate with the parents. Dealing with parents is scary, but I learned that if I built relationships with them and got to know their families, they became much less scary. In fact, many of them became friends.
While getting to know so many different types of families I realized how difficult being a parent and raising children really is. I saw mothers cry as they dropped off their infants every single morning before going to work. There were parents who drove to the school on their lunch break to spend a half-hour with their babies. There were Dads who surprised their little ones by picking them up early. Of course, there were also parents who seemed to prefer their children stay at the school as much and as long as possible. I witnessed one Mother sitting in her car waiting for us to lock the daycare doors before deciding to pick up her children, and this was on her day off.
While observing all of these families, their relationships and lifestyles I learned what kind of Mother I would one day want to be. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom.
Husband knows that I want to stay home, raise kids, master every Pinterest project, grow a garden, be homeroom=Mom, soccer-Mom, make-all-the-costumes-for-the-school-play-Mom, learn to sew, learn to cook (maybe), and enjoy watching my kids grow up, learn and be there for every milestone. Husband is beyond cool with this plan.
So, two days before moving from NYC to Tennessee, I discovered I was pregnant. I had just quit my job, was moving into a big empty house in the woods and was in the process of applying for teaching jobs. Then came all the questions….Should I tell potential bosses in interview that I’m pregnant? Am I going to quit mid-year when the baby arrives? Is it worth it to set up a classroom all summer in a new school, build a curriculum, bond with 25 new students and then leave half-way through the year? Is it worth putting myself through all this stress while being pregnant?
I know I am fortunate enough to even have these options, but it has been the toughest decision I still haven’t really made. I always assumed I’d work up until I delivered a baby, but who knew I’d be in the middle of so many changes? Right now, I am working part-time, writing, building a new website and learning to put a house together, so I sound super busy, but the truth is that I suck at not working.
While working for the last 13 years, I dreamed of the day I could quit… I’d finally get to do all the things for which there’s never enough time. I imagined myself waking at 6am, working out, cleaning, writing, cooking, crafting, volunteering, reading and that is just before lunch! In reality, without schedules and time frames I can barely manage to force myself to get out of my pajamas at all. Turns out that I am much more productive when I am super busy. This girl needs structure.
Now that vacations are over, local schools have started and I’m still stuck in this weird in between phase. I feel guilty and wrong all the time. What am I doing? I should be working 12 hours a day in a classroom is all I can think. I’ve been drowning in guilt, and covered in shame. What was the point of even getting my Master’s? Is this really what I want? Yesterday, I had a little meltdown and decided the only way to get out of my funk was to buy something.
I don’t know why shopping is the answer to meltdown’s, but I KNOW I’m not the only one. I drove to Home Goods and found the store full of women and babies. Every single person in the store had to have been a stay-at-home Mom, and every single child was a terror. There was a little girl running down the aisle knocking everything off the shelves, a toddler throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the floor, a baby wailing and little people running around like maniacs. Moms were screaming “shut up!” “If you walk away from me one more time..” and “I cannot wait until nap time!”
OMG, this did not help. Now, I was thinking…What the hell have I gotten myself into? I don’t want this! I don’t want to scream at my kids as I drag them through Home Goods during my meltdown! I left quickly (after checking out of course) and sat in my car for a minute, scrolling through Pandora stations (because the right song is also known to quickly reduce a meltdown) and I remembered the one thing I needed to do. Vent.
One of my best friends, who is currently pregnant, not working and planning to be a stay-at-home Mom ended up being my saving grace. The fact that I finally released all the fears and worries I’d been holding back and had someone listen to each of them was exactly what I needed. However, she also reminded me that my decisions affect my family, and my family only. If I am happy, Husband is happy and life is good then I shouldn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks. Then, I realized the real problem. I have been more worried about what other’s think of me than what I think of me.
She also reminded me that I should feel thankful for this time and opportunity. Soon, I will be a full-time Mom and will be full-time busy. I should be taking advantage of every moment right now, which I plan to do. And, now I plan on enjoying it. This is just one more change and one more challenge I will learn to master. I somehow forget that change and I do not mix. It’s not until after a meltdown, a shopping trip and a coming to Jesus that I remember this little fact.
I’m not so young anymore, but I still enjoying keeping busy. As I get a little (and I’d like emphasize little) older I am learning to let go little by little to slow down every once in a while and just enjoy life. Maybe one day I’ll learn to just roll with punches… hahaha yeah right.