This Christmas day had me thinking about what I want out of life. What I want for my children and my future. What is more important to me and our family. I always go through certain stages of grief when I become stay at home again. It is almost always the same. I go from Super Mom and Wife in the first 2 months where everything is cleaned up and put away and I dive into closets and drawers to rearrange and clean out and suddenly around month 3 I hit a wall. I know what it is. I can analyze it but to stop it is harder. I hit the dip. The depression and I have a hard time getting myself out. I get tired of doing it all and getting no thanks or acknowledgment for it. I get tired of picking everything up after everyone but I don't want to be the wife and mom that bitches and moans constantly so it builds up and I stop doing it all. I start only doing the things that have to be done and if there is no deadline it doesn't get put on the to do list. Oh, my to do lists. They are sad now. I write them out and then ignore them and then I see them again and just get depressed. I, by all means, do not sit around all day picking my nose. I have a very active, giant two year old that I run after all day getting him off the top of my desk or stopping him from pushing his chairs or rocking horse over to a child gate to climb over it. I am constantly putting out fires it seams of dirty diapers, laundry, meals and picking up children from school, helping with homework and getting them in bed.
My husband started a new work schedule. He works 8-6 M-Thur. so that he gets every other Friday off. This is another adjustment. By the time he gets home most nights it is 6:30pm and the kids go to bed at 7:30. So each day he only gets an hour with them except for one Friday where he is home when they get home from school. It makes for a VERY long day for me.
|2014 Willow Tree Ornament|
My being home now is a choice that I go back and forth on if it is really what I want. I love working. I love being around other intelligent grown ups. I love the immediate change I have made. Being home is different. I know this is what is best for my children but the rewards are small and far between. There is no paycheck and the gratitude is little to none when it comes to kids. I take enjoyment from hearing my kids interact with one another. They are really forming good lasting relationships. If I had them in aftercare then they wouldn't even be in the same room after school. Being a mom and wife is frustrating a lot of the time but the good moments are REALLY good. I get to go on field trips and see the plays. Pick them up from school and ask them about their day in a non-rushed manner. I get to be in the moment with them and not constantly worrying about if I have everything for dinner or will I have to feed them fast food again.
|Dough raising for homemade bread|
As a parent how do you choose? How does one keep themselves sane and do what is best for their family? I'm reading Radical Homemakers which is really helping me see my value as a stay at home mom with a very expensive Master's degree. In our current society, that values more what you can buy instead of make and produce, it is hard to stay focused on all I do for my family by growing our veggies, raising chickens for eggs, keeping bees for honey, knitting, sewing, baking from scratch, and learning now to clean with safe chemicals. Making a home. Raising a family. Being here for them. Choosing to produce instead of buy.
|My backyard flock|
I choose to be home because I choose my family. I choose forming good solid bonds with my children, I choose spending more than 2.5 hours a day with my children that are just rushed because dinner needs to be made and then things need to be cleaned up. I choose having time and energy to make home cooked meals instead of fast food or frozen meals full of chemicals that I can't even pronounce. I choose to cut back, have a smaller home, have second hand items and older cars because in the long run that is not what kids really care about. They care that their mamma is there for them. That she is willing to cut back and live a less lavish lifestyle so that she can be home with her kids. They care that their mamma is there to cheer them on and not some care taker that might not even work there tomorrow.
As you see in this post this choice was not easy for me as an individual that loves other grown ups and needs to be mentally challenged but as a mother it was a no-brainer. I choose my children because they are little for such a short time and before I will know it they will be too busy with their own lives to need me this much. I tried working. While I was happy at work I felt guilty about leaving my children to be cared for by someone else not even related to them.
|Road Trip back from the grandparents.|
I am far from perfect. I do the best I can with what I have but when women say that they can't afford to stop working what they are saying is that they are not willing to give up the huge house, the new car and the cable package for their children. It is possible to live on one income. It is hard. It takes a lot of work and planning but you can choose your family over running the rat race. You just have to downgrade to the point where one income is enough and then make that a home. Your home made by you and not what commercials tell you it should look like. I have a friend that does an amazing job of keeping a home on her husband's income. Her home always looks like it is out of a magazine but almost ALL of the things are bargain finds at flea markets, second hand stores, craigslist, and antique shops. If she can't find it that way she has her husband make it. She even dug her own fence posts and built a fence around her back yard herself. They bought a beautiful home that needed a LOT of work cheap and did almost all of the work themselves fix it. I have another friend that is home with 5 kids all 7 years or younger who she homeschools, keeps a neat home, grows her own food, keeps chickens and goats and makes a lot of food from scratch. These women are superheros in my mind. On top of this they themselves look amazing.
I don't have the first friend's talent for homemaking. I also don't have the second friend's patients to homeschool and I certainly am not keeping myself in shape at the moment even though I am trying. I am not an interior designer or a school teacher at heart. I knit, sew, cook and bake with the best of them but the work it takes to keep a home like she does is more than I have the energy to do with 3 kids 6 years and younger. I do the best I can with what I have. I am a housewife first and foremost.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to being able to stay at home. If you are a single parent or you have lost your spouse then you have to work. Also if your spouse is unable to work then that also leaves you to be the bread winner. I have friends that are stay at home dads and that is awesome. At least there is one parent there to take care of the child or children and home. People are not bad people or parents if they choose to work away from their children but if there is a will there is almost always a way. It just takes choices that you might think are steps back when really they are steps forward.