Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Timely...

And maybe three times if she has two children... sooner or later we might want to think about Dad, and finances,  and long term effects, short term benefits.


Sophia is on it, but she's really only just starting. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Why Stay At Home? STILL, A Very Personal Decision.

I've covered this topic before. Of the massive amount of 11 or so posts I have on this blog, I'm already re-covering my material.

I've been "out of retirement" and "back to work" for over a year now, and I am currently counting down another 6 days until I go "back into retirement" as a Stay-At-Home Mom. (That's SAHM for you rookies.) The transition this time, has been starkly different than the first time I stayed home. The first time we decided I would stay at home we had just had a 10 week premature baby; our family had been through a trauma and we were ready to reprioritize.

At that time, when people would ask why I personally had made this decision, I had a dramatic story to tell. I was incredibly sick and probably could have died. My premature and skeletal baby clung to his wires and little plastic castle in the NICU, and I had a new lease on my life. No one second guessed my decision as a mother or as a woman doing what she thought was best for herself and her family.

Who wouldn't miss this?
THIS time, however, the difference has been amazing. When people ask why my family and I have made this choice, I have give the following answers:

1. I missed my family.
2. I was overwhelmed.
3. I wasn't pleased with my job.
4. I want the time back to enjoy weekends together rather than only having time to prepare to survive the upcoming week.
5. I want more freedom to guide my son's preschool education.
6. It is a financial adjustment for my family, not a financial burden.

Many of the answers above are selfish. I understand and I take full responsibility for that. But, sometimes women like to glorify that as mothers they need to sacrifice everything that exists of themselves for their children. They believe they should never come first. I disagree with this mentality. I think I'm a better mother when I get my turn on the priority wheel as well.

I think my family benefits from allowing me to do the things that I need to do to make myself happy. I'd never want anyone I love to have to constantly sacrifice things THEY truly want and need to make MY life easier. I challenge the "Mommy Sacrifice Theory", and embrace the "Mommy Equality Model", and I believe it teaches my children to be more selfless. (Yes, by asserting my selfishness at times! lol)

Being a parent does not mean you suddenly become the least important person in the world. It means you have to learn to balance and be prepared to sacrifice things, and you will face that challenge regularly. No one gets everything they want all the time. (Well some people do, but quite honestly those are not the kind of people whose company I enjoy...) I don't get everything I want. My husband doesn't. My children don't. I don't want to be a person everyone has to constantly sacrifice themselves for, and I don't want my children to expect that from anyone, or to have to be such martyrs themselves.

Making Friends in the Garden
I can only speculate that this change of tone, and the shift from "we had a traumatic experience" to "I want something different for my/our lives" is the reason for which I have garnered such ire from some women. My first "retirement" everyone was happy, amazed we could do this financially and fully supportive. This time, I'd have to say that responses are about 50/50 supportive vs. disgusted, and I find that amazingly disheartening.

I have never judged anyone for their decision to stay home or to go to work. Men or women. I have never judged anyone for actively crashing through life, however haphazard that effort may seem, it is effort, which is more than a lot of people can say who just resign to float along the stream. I wouldn't begrudge anyone the opportunity to find what they truly want, and where they truly want to be. I think these are requirements that all people should seek out in their lives, and I feel bad for those who don't understand that they can have what they want, as long as they are prepared for the shake-up and work that ensues when you make commitments to big life changes.

The amount of ire that some women have shown me for this decision has been amazing and daunting. Yes, I am capable of work. Yes, I am good at what I do. But no, I don't want to do it anymore. I'd rather be somewhere else. That somewhere else is with my family.

The number one irritation I have is the "potential" quote.

"...But you have so much potential."

Yes I do, and why wouldn't I spend it on my children and family?

Movie Time on Mother's Day

I have potential. I don't know what industry or mode I wish to give it to the workforce for the next 30 years of my life, so now, I'll spend it with my men. Their desire for my involvement will wane quickly in the coming years. They will stop coming into my room at 5:30 am, cuddling and talking my ear off. Work will be there when I'm ready. Maybe when they don't want or need my management and guidance as much, I'll be ready for work.

I think as women we should not be so quick and harsh to judge decisions other women make for their families. We have enough going on in our heads as it is without worrying about the lives of others; lives that we ourselves don't even have to live. Its a waste of valuable time vocalizing how appropriate or inappropriate it is for someone else to have a traditional job, and its an unnecessary tax and judgement on a careful consideration someone has made.

I'm wasn't trying to start a feminist movement by working. I'm not trying to take the world back to the 40's by staying home. I'm making a choice for me, and my family. I'm trying to live my life and find my path. I like to think I'm brave enough to change my direction when I'm off course and unhappy. After all the goal is to "die with memories, not dreams", right?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Broken Concentration

We are in the throes of our busy August, and I've had so much on my mind I've not written simply because I couldn't find anything one thing to focus on. So here is the mish-mash of things going on, thoughts, and happenings that have rested themselves in my head and heart, leading to a state of constant broken concentration.

My 30th birthday is tomorrow, and I'm underwhelmed by the prospect of moving into my 30s when I already feel so old. I've never been one of those people who has really cared about getting older, and I'm actually slightly annoyed that this birthday bothers me so much. I'd love to age fearlessly and with grace, but I guess that isn't my innate style.

Next weekend Dan's uncle is getting married, and we are traveling to Rochester for that. The following weekend Dan's family is having a get together on the same day we are doing my first 30 mile bike ride, for which I am completely unprepared.

I've started a new audiobook, Anne Rice's Angel Time. I tried reading it once, but lost interest and lost time. I'm disappointed because I have not felt engaged in her writing since she left the Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witch series. I miss my old "go to" author. Guess it may be time to research some new material.

With the heat lightening up a bit the past several days, I've been trying to make opportunities to get the boys outside. The other day, Colton took his first wagon ride through the neighborhood, while Tyler rode his bike. He seemed much more comfortable traveling that way, than he did in the bike trailer.



After a failed morning of furniture shopping early on a Sunday (apparently no furniture places in Lafayette open before noon on Sundays) we stopped for a quick look at the botanical gardens close to our house. We didn't get far, as it was close to lunch and a pretty humid day, but the boys were interested and we learned the umbrella stroller is useless for off roading!



I have already been thinking about and starting some christmas shopping. In past years it wasn't a big deal to do most if our shopping the last few months if the year, but now that we are surviving on one income fairly successfully, I want to not destroy our credit card debt free lifestyle for something I knew was coming for months! I've found some sales, and have even planned out what I'm going to be making for whom this year, I've almost got one of those gifts accomplished!

We are nearing the end of our green beans, zucchini, and maybe peppers & okra for the garden, and are clearly starting to hit tomato & gourd season. Tomatoes are wonderful, but at times a daunting task to keep up with, especially if you don't want to be wasteful. This is our first year for gourds, and I'm excited about those. I'm going I'm doing the right thing in waiting to pick them until the vines die off. It feels wrong to just let it all sit there when it looks ready!

A whole lot of little things, with no real time to focus on anything. The break in the heat has brought me one solid reoccurring thought however: I can't wait for fall.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Karate Ship - Tyler's Imagination Mode

Feeling Overwhelmed? There isn’t always a solution.

I was just literally rained out of green bean picking so I guess this is as good a time as any to stop and write for a moment. Tyler is playing his leapfrog for an hour, which keeps him quiet during Colton’s nap, and gives me some time to get some things accomplished unhindered.
I knew that when I stayed home my workload would change. I knew it would be busy, varied, and I knew it would be difficult at times. (Like any job.) I didn’t really anticipate the occasional arrival of the feeling of being overwhelmed with things to do. I suppose that isn’t something that we can ever truly escape, whether we work like dogs, divide the time between work and family, or dedicate our time solely to our families.  
I have to admit that now I find the feeling of being overwhelmed more difficult to deal with. When I was at work, it was easier to say, “I’m one person managing a big life, and some tight deadlines, I’m going to get overwhelmed and just have to breathe and trudge through it.” That is difficult to do now. Perhaps I shortchange what I do and what I am accomplishing, but I get frustrated because I feel like I used to manage it all with less time. I guess the difference now is that I am doing more as my own boss. As my own boss, I have myself to answer to and my expectations of myself have always been more unreasonable than anyone’s expectations of me.
How to manage this? For me, tackling projects, and multi-tasking with something I enjoy (one ear dedicated to an audio book, another listening to the boys) is the easiest way to get things done. Oddly enough, this is the same way I dealt with my workload while at work, I just gave myself more of a break! However, when it comes to free-time and getting things done throughout the day, it isn’t always a steady stream of work dedicated to crossing things off of my to-do list like it was at work. I had an office where I could shut the door to focus, and a list of things to get done by this time, and I didn’t always have the level of interruptions or “fire-fighting” I have now.  The list of things to get accomplished now is constantly overshadowed by the #1 Priority of someone else’s needs or need for attention. (I can’t be home and ignore my kids all day so I can cross things off our list!) There is very little opportunity to focus. (Sometimes that can be a procrastinator’s dream when it is a distraction from something you really don’t want to do in the first place!)
Being your own boss though, means being accountable for the things that happen, as well as being accountable for the things that don’t. Owning to that responsibility at times is tough, especially when you feel like you are falling behind.
I guess I tend to like to get the nasty things done first, so that I can quickly get to my “reward” of having some peace of mind. Overwhelmed, for me, comes when everything on the list is something I don’t want to do, and one accomplishment leads to another task I’d rather avoid. The simple for me to address this I suppose would be: Being a grown up sucks sometimes, but at least I’m doing something good and I’m finally where I should be. I always wanted to have myself to answer to, how does that feel today? Plllb.
I guess it beats being bored!