Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Silly dreams

When I had The Kid, I couldn't imagine being a stay-at-home-mom. I loved being the one taking care of him during my maternity leave (because, let's face it, no one could take care of him better than me, right?). But I'll be perfectly honest: I also found it horribly, horribly, mind-numbingly BORING.

Nurse. Change diaper. Rock to sleep. Nurse. Change diaper. Rock to sleep. Nurse. Change diaper. Rock to sleep.

Lather.

Rinse.

Repeat.

I'm not saying it wasn't hard work. I'm not saying it wasn't challenging. I'm not saying it wasn't rewarding. But it wasn't exactly mentally stimulating either.

But I was also young (25) and didn't have any friends with babies (nor had I ever heard of PEPS). Most of my hobbies required far more mobility than a baby allowed. I had career goals that hadn't yet been achieved. And I was too stubbornly independent to even consider for a moment allowing some other person to earn all the money and support me. Ew.

Staying at home just was not for me, and at the end of my 2-1/2 months of maternity leave I was more than ready to return to work.

My, how things have changed...

If I had the option of staying home with The Baby, I would. Without hesitation. In a heartbeat. I would stay home with him, never send The Kid to after-school care again, cook real dinners nightly, and - I think - really enjoy being a full-time caretaker. Especially after so many years of being a single working mother, forced to multitask the act of parenting (anyone else quiz your child on his multiplication tables while he's taking a shower?).

I'm sure I would still find the tedium in the arrangement; sure I would still find aspects of full-time mommyhood to be less than stimulating. But dammit, I want to do it! I want to be "just" a mom, with the ability to put all of my focus and energy into parenting. At least for a little while.

This desire startles me a bit, so far removed is it from where I once was. Maybe it's because I don't particularly enjoy my day job anymore. Maybe it's because I've already climbed as high up the corporate ladder as I ever want to (and, in fact, have been purposefully and determinedly climbing back down). Maybe I've already proven what I needed about my abilities to myself. Maybe it's because I've done this before, and I know that those first few months are the most "boring" they'll ever be; that children get more and more interesting the older they get. Maybe it's because I have a 9-year-old who was, I swear, a new born just last week. Maybe it's because I can see a huge benefit to The Kid as well as The Baby - possibly, even, a bigger benefit to The Kid than to The Baby - if I were to stay home. Maybe it's because I am a mammal after all, and whatever latent maternal instincts we humans have retained demand that I stay close to my children. Maybe it's just time for something different.

Whatever the reason for this change of heart, the fact remains that staying home is not a possibility. Financially, there's just no way. So I will make the most of the short time I have at home with my kids and, when it comes time, go back to work with a heavy heart.

And everything will be fine, just like it was before. Maybe it's for the best. The fact that I've recently taken to reenacting Laser Cats (but with babies!) should make it pretty clear that the boredom has already begun to creep in.

4 comments:

AO xoxxo said...

I hope that you are able to live your dream someday. I think it is awesome that you want to be a mom and leave the corporate world behind! And you wouldn't be "just a mom"!! You will be there to remember everything about your children as they are growing up! And when they grow up they will remember that you were there! Whatever you decide your kids will always know that you love them!!

Nicki said...

This being a stay at home mom is something that I ponder, too. I think I would love being able to work for home. Unfortunately, it probably won't be an option. *sigh*

Wishing you the best.

Momma Sunshine said...

Dude. I can't believe how SHORT mat leave is in the US. Here in Canada we get a full year (though not at 100% wage, but still). I couldn't imagine going back to work after such a short time period!

In any event - enjoy it while you have it! These are wonderful days.

Martini Mom said...

Yes, Momma Sunshine, that is something that irks me. It is a common thing to hear U.S. women heading back to work mumbling things like "before my next kid, I'm moving to Canada/Europe." The states grant you 3 months of maternity leave (not at full wage), IF you work for a company large enough to be held to the Family/Medical Leave Act. I don't. So I'm actually taking a leave of absence (zero pay), which my employer is not required to grant me. Thankfully, he DID grant it, and I expect that I'll have a job to come back to (though that's not required either - again, because of the small size of our company).

I shouldn't complain, though. I'm lucky enough to be with someone who can support us long enough for the three months. I've known women who could only afford to be out for 2 weeks. Ack!

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