“Now you are more likely to have less time home before returning to work than you did before.” – A close friend
After discussing the right amount of expresso for my cappuccino with the barista, finding the most comfortable seat at my local Starbucks (I moved three times) I begin to write. I made my little to-do list of what I want to achieve before I head back to the house: 1. Write this blog post. 2. Write the first draft of my cover/resume.
If you could do anything? If you were given time with your children, what would you do? As I write this, my twin girls are 17 months old and I’ve been home with them from the beginning. My son’s preschool is reserving two spots for them when they turn 2. Now that I’ve been their mom plus their teacher, their care giver, their daily hugger, their chef, practically on call 24/7, I feel more and more the need to focus my time with them before I return to work.
“I really need to knock out this resume, but what I really want to do is write.” – Me “Your heart must be telling you something. Listen to it. There is no pressure or need for you to work.” – My Husband
For someone who enjoyed arranging programs and developing students, I also appreciated how work gave me clear breaks. Weekends. Vacation days. Sick days. All the above. Now, I find a break here and there. That’s why I’m here at Starbucks on a Sunday night, when my husband can watch the kids. Yes, it probably sounds like I’m having “grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome. Yet, for some reason, at this very moment, at my local Starbucks, I chose to write about my experiences, rather than work on my cover letter.
I recently saw a commercial about a woman trying to be the best mom she could. Ironically, the commercial shows her failing and the last word you hear is “maybe I should start a blog”. I wish I could remember what the commercial was selling. Instead, I remember how it made me feel: the honest truth is that the 1950’s homemaker we used to see on TV is hardly there any more. Instead, we see amazing women filling rolls in our work force, leading companies, doing all most anything. Doing amazing things. So, if a woman decides to stay home with her children, she is left to imagine for herself, what others see. She is left to write a new version of who the stay-at-home mom is today.
I see stay-at-home moms doing amazing things every day. I see the pressures they feel knowing that they are relying on their partners to support them financially. I see the creativity they have. I see how they achieve balance doing what they love, and being with her children. I know one SAHM who started her own cake decorating business. I know another SAHM who grew her own pumpkins. I know how this experience can be lonely, tough to do, and yet worth doing. Which brings me back to my bucket list idea.
My need to return to work outside the home (which may or may not be shared by other people) comes and goes like the moon. For me, the need to have a separate identity from my role as a mom is now more important to me than ever before. I’ve always been an independent person. But when our lives were turned upside with twins I came to the realization that what was best for my family was more important, and it was time to be home with my twins and son. I had a different job I needed to take.
The scariest, hardest and most out-of-the-normal thing I’ve ever done (so far) has been that choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t know that I would be using my time management skills or conflict resolution skills so much. Or that I would feel so willing to try new things. Liking writing this blog post. I honestly didn’t know what I would be taking from this experience. I’m learning now that some things stay and some things go away. Jobs come and go, but family is forever. And your time at home is also a job. You have to be willing to see your life as a journey and to hold on for each day offers you something new. You also have to be ready for when the wind changes, and you start to feel that it is time for you to return to work that is outside the home.
I used to tell my students that I’m like Mary Poppins: I will be here as long as I am needed. If there is one thing we know, it’s that the wind always changes. We can’t control which directions it comes from. Like anything I’ve done, I know my time being a stay-at-home mom will come to a close when it is meant to be. Until then, I want to make sure I go after all the tasks that are on my bucket list. I also hope I keep adding to it. Because, as my husband reminds me, “You will miss this.” If I can check off all my tasks on my bucket list I will be more than proud and will never have to wonder.
My Bucket List Before Returning to Work Outside the Home.
1. Fill the twins’ bedroom door with art projects. I’m more of a baker than a craft person. So, sitting down to craft will be an adventure in itself. I made a craft box. Now I just need to use it.
2. Teach my twins to speak 25 words. My son was in daycare since the age of 5 1/2 months. All his amazing teachers were the real ones who taught him to speak. I continue to coach him. With the twins, it’s all on me. I’ve got to get creative and keep pointing and saying “Toes, ears and nose”.
3. Take the twins to gymnastics. I will need someone to come with me, but I’m staying positive that I can make it happen.
4. Get really messy with the twins. I keep reading about how children under the age of 2 are so ready to get messy. Either with sand, paints, play dough. Anything! It will be worth it!
5. Take them to a mommy and me swim class. Once again, I will need to bring someone with me, but these ladies deserve the experience too.
6. Create an Adventure Photo Book on Shutterfly. If there is one thing I’ve learned being a stay-at-home mom, it has got be to put yourself out there. Go to the next story time offered at the library. Visit that park near your home. And while you are doing all these crazy adventures with your kids, take pictures. Lots of picture. I have the Shutterfly app on my iPhone, and when I can, I upload those photos so I’ve got them saved and ready when I put together our Christmas Calendar. And for this future adventure photo book.
7. Play hide and seek. I know, I know. This sounds crazy, but I have not played hide-and-seek yet with my girls.
8. Play in the puddles. Before that much needed rain returns I have to pick up rain boots and mini rain jackets for the girls. Maybe even some for myself, so I can join in the fun.
9. Be published in O Magazine. Since I’ve seriously started writing, I really believe that I’ve written something that is worth trying to get published on that kind of level.
10. Finish Novato Chamber’s Leadership Novato 2015 program. I was pregnant during the last leadership class I was part of, ended up on bed rest and missed the last few classes. I decided to apply for the Novato program because I wanted to keep practicing my leadership and team building skills. I knew having reasons to get out of the house while a babysitter looked after my girls would help them transition into preschool much better. I also wanted the chance to connect with and support the community we now call home.
11. Introduce myself as a Stay-at-Home Mom and freelance writer without stumbling but with tremendous pride and excitement. Even 17 months later, when it is time for me to introduce myself, I still stumble. I still second-guess my choice. I still think I’m disappointing the person I’m talking to, especially if they are a woman. I still think that they are wondering what I can offer since I’m not working. With a deep breath I turn inward instead of projecting that I made the right choice, the best choice, the choice that brought me more than I thought I wanted. It changed my life for the better. So, before I go back to work, I want to proudly introduce myself with my current title: Mother of Three, Writer.
Oh, and about that second item I was going to get to at the coffee shop, the cover letter and resume? I ended up taking care of that, too. Because the wind always changes, and I won’t know when it will change for me. When I return to work, I will no longer be a stay-at-home mom. It could happen any day: all of the sudden, I’ll have a new title. A new place to go in the morning. In a way, I will be reborn into the work place. There will be things I will miss when that happens, but that is for another post. For now, I’m busy getting through my bucket list.