Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mommy Modified

This has been a month of anniversaries. I happily celebrated my 100th post and 11 years of marriage. My next anniversary is bitter sweet.

On March 5, 2007 I walked into my boss’s office and asked for a full time job and a raise. I did this knowing that it would solve our financial difficulty. I also knew that I would be turning over the full-time care of my children to my husband’s capable hands and my time with them would decrease dramatically. It was not an easy decision for Jeff and I to make, but left with no options we did what we needed to do.

For the last year I have spoke about being a SAHM because it wasn’t so long ago that I was one. Stories that start with, “Last year when I was home with the kids…” are a comforting to me. They remind me that it wasn’t so long ago when I was privileged enough to be at home with my kids. That comfort is slipping away.

Last year I grabbed my lunch and said goodbye to an empty house at 6:30 in the morning. I spent my day with adults earning a paycheck and returned to squeals of joy at 5:30. I continued my working routine losing a small piece of my mom identity each day. Soon I was no longer the authority on what my children preferred. Now I have to ask Jeff questions before I can give our babysitter instructions for our date night.

Have they had a bath today?

Did they take their vitamins?

What time should they go to bed?

The interaction I have with my kids has shortened from an indeterminately long day to 2 ½ hours. At dinner time I grill them with questions so I can feel connected to them.

What did you do today?

Who did you play with?

Did you have fun?

I am lucky. I enjoy my job. I like the people that I work with. I spend my days focused on a job I enjoy instead of a family I miss. I get three weeks of vacation each year. My kids are home with my husband. In so many ways I am lucky.

Why on the anniversary of full time employment I am focused on what I loss over the last year instead of what we’ve gained? I know that being a SAHM is unbelievably difficult and draining. I also know how rewarding it is. Going to work every day is easy compared to what my husband does. Sometimes my children greet me with smiles while they run away from the man who pours his heart out for them. Other times they barely notice that I am home.

I wish that I can change it all and live in the utopia of family togetherness. We all know that won’t happen, so I am resolved to be content with this situation; confident that God knows what is best for our family.


Melissa said...

That was a sweet post. There are so many ups and downs with being a SAHM or and out of the house working mom. I think it is difficult to balance family no matter which one you do. Have a great weekend with the kids!

Irene said...

I think it is great that your hubby is the stay at home parent! And it sounds like he does an amazing job.

I stay home now, but I often think, if my husband lost his job, maybe I would work instead. I have more education and probably could earn more. I would be happy as long as one of us was home.

janethesane said...

I am working full time and my husband is taking care of the little princess. It was so hard to see her prefer him. I am sure I could care for her best but I think he is a close second. I miss all those moments with her. I hope very much that when my husband finishes night school we can flip around and switch places. I totally understand how you could feel some loss. I admire you for feeling at peace with it because it isn't easy.

Nap Warden said...

Wow, well written Amy:) I am a SAHM and it is so tough. I also know it's tough for Husband to leave the babies every day. I wish your family well:)

Kimmylyn said...

I think your kids are lucky that one of you gets to stay home with them.. regardless of who.. I only say that because we both have to work full time so they have to go to daycare.

OHmommy said...

Amy... that was such a sweet post. Again.

It is all in God's hands. I say that everyday. It is comforting!

It sounds like Jeff does an AMAZING job and the girls are with someone that cares and LOVE them. Your love for your family is so evident. So sweet!

The Sports Mama said...

I was a SAHM once. For about six months. The FIRST six months of my oldest's life, so I'm not even sure they count.

I did learn one thing, though. I am not strong enough to do it. While extremely hard to admit, I lost more of myself by staying home than I lost by working.

I have been blessed in child care providers, its true. Had things been different on that front, life here would have been different. And I truly believe that my boys have benefited by the situation. I'm a stronger person now, and more able to appreciate them for who they are. They've learned valuable socialization skills that I'm just not sure I could have taught them.

All that to say that I admire and respect ANY parent who can stay home. And for you to have given that gift to Jeff makes you an amazing wife as well as mom.

TheVasquez3 said...

Amy that was an awesome post. i most def agree, God knows what is best for your family right now and this all seems to be really working for you. FANTASTIC!

Huckdoll said...

It's a tough situation. Us moms feel guilty no matter what, that's just how we are.

After my maternity leave, I went back to work full-time for 6 months and my mom took care of them.

I've experienced every emotion you just described in that post, however, I left my job to be a full-time SAHM. It feels right to be home with them, however, on most days, I would love to go back to work. I adore my job, but until the twins go to school, I need to be here.

It's tough, this mom gig :D

HRH said...

I admire you for the decision that had to be made. What a gift to your family to go to work every day. Your children are in the great hands...

Lisa said...

It is so hard to be a mom no matter what we do--you are blessed to have such a wonderful husband help you and your family. If you ever do find perfect family utopia, please let me know :)

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

Well glad to hear that things are at least working out. And thank goodness you have a husband that likes being home with his kids! Your family sounds strong and amazing!

Lisa said...

I'm sure that was very hard - and to know the difficulties on each side of the fence would be interesting....but how lucky are you that you have a great Hubby who stays home. He must be a really cool guy!
I'm sure you make the most of your time with the kids, and you are doing what is best for your family :)

Kelly said...

Oh Amy, how do you always write just what is in my heart. I love ya.

LunaNik said...

This post really affected me because I may have to do the same thing. Leave the kiddos in hubby's care during the day and go back to work full time. It's a tough decision we still haven't made yet. I'm hoping to be able to stay home with my babies!

louann said...

Being content with what we have / our circumstances can be very difficult.
Although I have never tried being a SAHM as I have always been a working mom, I really try to appreciate it as it is even if so many times I justw ant to run to home to my kids in the middle of a workday.