In some ways, deciding to quit my job and stay home was an easy decision to make. I remember my first day back at work after having Madelyn and crying for approximately 5 of the 6 hours I was actually away from her. I remember so distinctly turning to my husband with tears in my eyes, the feeling of despair as I got her ready to go to the daycare facility. I knew we had made the decision that I would be a working mom, but once I looked down at my little creation, my whole world and perspective on it changed.
Every day got easier and soon, it was all just part of the routine...as long as I didn't look through the window of her classroom one last time before I left. That sight made my heart ache a pain I cannot even describe. Tom and I finally decided that once we had a second child, I would either work part time or stay home.
The twelve months Madelyn was in day care consisted of an array of infections and illnesses that kept me in the pediatrician’s office on a regular basis and Madelyn on anti-biotics for at least 7 straight months. Napping at daycare became non-existent which didn't help her sickness and I felt like the only time we spent with her she was crabby and miserable.
Work for me at the time was a "job" as opposed to a career. I was selling advertising at a local newspaper. With the economy hitting the skids and the newspaper industry crumbling, it wasn't like I was raking in the commissions each month. Daycare was so expensive it seemed most months I was working to have someone else raise my kid.
So, Tom got promoted and I gave my notice and so began my journey as a SAHM. The first thing Madelyn and I did was take swim class. I cried during class because she used to "pretend swim" at daycare. Two weeks after my last day, I got pregnant with Colin and it solidified our plan for me to stay home once we had two, just a few months before we actually "had" two. I would have to say being pregnant and adjusting to my new role was pretty challenging since Madelyn was 15 months old and was really IN TO EVERYTHING!!! It made for really long days, especially as winter approached.
I couldn't get the thought out of my mind of what I would do next in my life after I was done with being home. I knew I needed to push that thought aside and focus on the task at hand, raising my children.
I have always been the type of person who is looking to the next thing and has a hard time enjoying "the now." Once Colin came around, all that changed. Juggling two was and is challenging, but soon the days began to fly by. There was not time to think about what I could or should be doing because all I could do was focus on the kids. I also got to experience all the moments of Colin's first year that I missed with Madelyn and couldn't believe someone else was able to have them with her. I knew I was in the right place.
Despite this, I continue to struggle with my identity and sometimes feel guilty for not doing enough. I look at working moms and feel like I am taking the "easy way out." Although sometimes I think it would be easier for me to go to work based on some of my days at home! I look at my peers accomplishing things in their careers, writing books, opening restaurants, traveling and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I go to the grocery store, remember my reusable bags and buy everything on the list without having to go back to get the 3 things I forgot that I needed to make dinner that night. That's why I am doing this blog and it seems to be serving its purpose as a way for me to at least keep my brain going.
Each year my high school has alumni achievement awards and this past year happened to be 3 people that graduated either the year before or with me. They were all people I knew fairly well. It occurred to me that I will likely never get an alumni achievement award, because let's face it; they just don't give those out to housewives. I may not fly fighter jets, but I have mad baby cereal out of my own breast milk. I may not have a high power job, but I can negotiate anything with Skittles. I solve world peace on a daily basis, even if it is just the world of Madelyn and Colin. I'm not a financial wiz, but I can save $30 at the grocery store using coupons and shopping sales. I haven't produced an album, but I have produced two beautiful children.
And for now, those achievements are what I will take. My reward? Cuddle time in the morning when they wake up instead of rushing out the door. Trips to the park, the library, the zoo, swim class, tumbling and any variety of things we do together. Healthy kids. What are the best rewards? Hugs, kisses, and yes even "look Mom, I just picked a REALLY BIG BOOGER!" Who needs a plaque on the wall when you have all that? Not me.