It’s a gloriously sunny spring day. We’ve got flowers up and blooming, the pussy willow is all pussed out and is starting to put out leaves, the girls’ starts are sprouting in their windowsill greenhouses: spring is getting ready to explode on the scene.
Thank you, Jesus.
So I have been a stay at home mom for two weeks now (while on vacation for 10 of those 14 days). I have been pleasantly surprised by a few things, that I’m going to share here because some of my friends are doing the same bit of “do I or don’t I” wrestling around this situation that I was.
I pretty much rock as a stay at home mom.
That being said, as a mother, I didn’t really have anywhere to go but up.
When I was working, I really didn’t have much patience for noise, misbehavior, sass, etc. I did a lot of hollering. I did a lot of, “I can’t handle this, you deal with it” to M. I didn’t do much playing or reading or fun having, because I was so damn tired by the time I got home from work–their special time with Mommy was pretty much comprised of, “Here. Let’s put in a movie. You can snuggle with Mama while she sleeps.” Whee, right?
Turns out? I had to use so much energy and patience just to get through my days at Fashion Emporium that I had NOTHING left when I got home. When you spend 8 hours a day having to smile at women who are treating you like a servant, cheerfully process an $800 return that’s 4 years old and most items therein have been worn, or just dealing with the current business climate: you come home exhausted and tapped out.
Not to say that it’s been all glitter and monkeys since I quit. We still have sassing going on (particularly from Sarah…sweet fancy MOSES she can sass!); we still have misbehavior–I mean we have two kids. All the stuff that was there before is still there. The difference is in my ability to respond to it in such a way that it doesn’t lead to screaming, tears, slammed doors and tequila shots. With one exception (after a long, hot, tiring, crank-inducing day at SeaWorld) I have not looked at my family and said, “I’m done. I’m just done.”
I used to say that a lot.
Now, I have the time and the emotional resources to help them through their little fits, to moderate their conflicts without issuing timeouts to the end of time. I have the time to sit and snuggle and read to them. To play Polly Pocket with Nea while Sarah is napping or distracted by “Elmo’s World”. I have the patience to let Linnea help me cook dinner, or have Sarah make her own bed (does it look good? Eh. It looks like a two year old made it. But that’s OK, because she is, in fact, a two year old).
The longer I am away from my job, I realize just what it had cost my family and myself. I am grateful I had it. It helped me take care of my family at a time when no one else could. But I’m not sure why I struggled so hard over whether or not it was the right thing to do to leave it.
My girls have a Mommy again. Not crabby Aunt Mama who comes to visit from time to time, when she doesn’t have to be at some mysterious place called “work”. My husband has a wife again, someone who can take over her fair share of the child-rearing, so that he can relax, or study, or putter around, or do whatever it is he needs to do to feed his soul; who isn’t so exhausted at the end of a day that all she wants to do is watch television and go to sleep; who reads books again, has conversations again, who laughs with him again.
It’s good. When we were in Texas, and someone asked me where I was serving a church, I didn’t have to writhe in shame and answer, ‘Oh, I’m working on the management team at Fashion Emporium’ (and it always seemed so shameful to me…to be working at the FE instead of pastoring…like I was letting people down or something). I proudly said, “I’m currently on leave from call. I’m staying home with the girls.”
So, you know: not without challenges. But overall: one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Thanks to all who encouraged me to take that job and shove it. 😉