so stop right this minute if you get offended easily.
I may not even publish this anyway, but sometimes when thoughts circulate in my brain for long enough it helps to get it all typed out as if I am going to share it with whoever it is that reads this blog.
What has been humming around in my mind for the longest time is the stay-at-home mom issue.
Maybe I just need to stop reading so much, but there seems to be a ton written lately about how staying home with your kids is not that important and since I have dedicated my time to staying home with my kids right now and it is an all-consuming career choice... this dismissal kind of irks me.
I consider myself a stay-at-home mom since if I do ever work it is one class three times a week and my children are with their father.
In this way I feel lucky. I get to be home raising my children all day and get a little break here and there. I think all moms deserve a little break, but let's not kid ourselves- there is no substitute for a loving parent being home with their children all day.
Many working moms work because they have to and some by choice and I say- that is your choice and you have obviously not entered into it lightly. I love all the working moms I know so much and know that they all love their children like crazy. I have met some other working moms here and there who all have one common comment they seem to all have gone into a secret pact on in sharing as often as possible, "Oh, I could NEVER do what you do. Ugh, I HATE staying home. I HAVE to have ME time."
I never know just how to respond.
"Yeah, I hate 'ME' time. In fact, I never go anywhere. I love to stay home so much and am such a simpleton that it never occurred to me that I might feel more special and cool if I got showered each day and had a fulfilling career. In fact, can you hold this baby for a minute and keep an eye on that wild three year old, I'm gonna go work on my resume!"
Instead I usually end up quoting some tired cliche like, "well, it's not always easy, but we do our best..."
Lame, but true.
I am not perfect. I am NOT someone who feels content 100% of the time cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, scolding, budgeting, negotiating with a toddler, figuring out what a non-verbal baby is screaming about for over 20 minutes....etc.
I am frustrated that my three-year-old refuses to potty train and that my one-year-old refuses to walk.
I think I need to delete my facebook account, because every time I get in touch with another old classmate I am a little taken aback at how glamorous and carefree a life that is career and travel driven can seem.
In fact, as long as I am confessing things here, every once is a great while, when I've had a particularity trying day with the kiddos, I job search. I get on craigslist and the like and look for work. I do. I think: "I'm not cut out for this. We would be better off financially if I worked. I'm gonna go crazy staying home all day. The kids might be better off if they had someone more patient looking after them all day..." and that's where it stops for me.
I can't do it.
I can't let someone else spend the day with MY children. I am sure I would have to get used to the idea if we were completely without choice, but I lived with my in-laws for a whole year and trespassed upon their kindness when we all probably wanted our own space just so I could be the one reading to the babes. Feeding them lunch. Having learning time with Ambrose while Asher naps in the next room. Teaching Ambrose about love and patience as I conquer my own temper by not screaming at him when he drops chocolate chips all over the new, fancy rug. Falling in love over and over as the cranky, teething baby stops screaming and reaches for my face to kiss and slobber on. The list can go on and on.
Today I was feeling a little sick and, consequently, sorry for myself that my apartment is in serious need of scrubbing and I have no energy to do it. My kids were in various amounts of PJs and lack of clothing, running around with crumbs on their faces and every surface they touched, and there was an endless stream of kid shows blaring in the background that no one was watching. This is the kind of stay-at-home clatter that makes me chuckle as I reach for a cloth to clean it all up on a good day. Today... I wasn't feelin' it. I put Asher down for his nap and he screamed himself to sleep for a good 15 minutes while I lectured Ambrose on keeping quiet while the baby tried to get to sleep. I finally sent him downstairs to get all that wildness out on the lawn and patio toys as I situated myself on the dirty stairs to watch him.
I was thinking it all over as I often do. The way I just don't feel cut out for this sometimes and how better off we all might be if I even just found a part time gig.
Then Ambrose stood at the screen door looking at me and whispered with a knowing grin on his face, "Hi mama."
"Hi buddy," I whispered back with a smile, "I'm really really proud of you for remembering to whisper."
He quietly opened the door and tip toed up the two stairs to where I was sitting. Sat down just how I was on the stair, carefully copying me, and then put his chubby little feet on my lap, his arm around my neck, and asked me in a whisper, "Mama, are we best friends?"
My eyes filled with tears.
"What do you think?" I asked him (trying to keep the pathetic hopefulness out of my tone as best I could).
"Yeah, I think we really are."
"Good. I think we are too!" came my enthusiastic whisper.
Am I saying that if you don't stay home with your children you will never have these moments?? OF COURSE NOT! I don't even think I have a final resolved thought for this post other than: it is not easy for anyone to stay at home, but my choice to do so has taught me so much and bonded me to my children in a way that gives me great joy.
There are the hard moments, the sad moments, the frustrating moments and everything in between, but moments like that really seal the deal for me and make me feel good about my choice. They make me feel like I have purpose and that all the teachings and struggles and times when I have been patient have been pushing us to something good.
I have to feel that or I wouldn't be doing what I am doing.
I feel that I have about five years from the minute my children are born in which they are all mine without too much outside distraction and influence for better or for worse. Only five years in the entire span of our lives. I'm going to use this time to conquer my selfishness, my rough edges, show them unconditional love, teach them, nourish them, and bond them to me any way I can so when they start to spread their wings I can feel secure that I did my best and that they know they are loved.
To each his or her own. This is how I feel about my family. You know what is best for yours. I'm going to choose to not be offended by what I read from here on out because my best friend Ambrose needs someone to build a train track with him and that's more fun than feeling irked.