Friday, 5 June 2015

Confessions of a New Stay-at-Home Mom

Rosie and I on Pentecost Sunday.

Up until about a month ago, I had always flirted with the idea of going back to work. I liked having the option to one day decide to go back to my previous life where I got dressed up every day, went to earn my own money and have adult conversations. Although the position I had was not in my field, I truly enjoyed my job as an administrative assistant and I worked for a great company. My employers were really good to me and I felt appreciated for my work.

Then Rosie was born and I found myself working for this tiny dictator who never seemed content with  what I was doing, was constantly yelling at me ( crying), would use sleep deprivation as a torture technique and NEVER seemed to appreciate what I was doing, albeit notice my existence. It was an immensely tough transition. I went from talking on the phone to dozens of customers and many coworkers, to being by myself all day, every day. I think I could have coped with the loneliness but on top of it, I had to spend my entire day dying to myself in order to take care of this tiny human being who needed me all the time for everything. By the time my husband would get home from work, I would be starved for conversation but I also needed to be alone. So I’d hand the baby off to my husband for some "me" time (which usually included some kind of household chore…fun) and by the time I was ready to talk, Dane would have fallen asleep on the couch. Had it not been for my mom coming to see me and being there to aunswer my phone calls, I think I might have lost my mind.

The first 3 months of parenthood were so tough and while covered in baby vomit with a newborn attached to my boob, I would find myself imagining I was getting ready to go to work and talking to coworkers over a cup of coffee. I even daydreamed about organizing the office files exactly the way I wanted them. I quickly learned that although I had previously dreamed of staying at home with my baby, it was not exactly what I had imagined it to be. How so you may ask? Well in my stay at home fantasy I always had time to get ready. In fact I was wearing a 50’s housewife styled dress with a matching hair-do and heels. My house was spotless and my baby napped on demand. I was involved in many social endeavors including volunteer groups, mom and baby workout classes, mom and baby drop in’s and the likes. I was very organized and would cheerfully do groceries with a baby who never fussed so I could prepare delicious homemade suppers for my husband that would be ready the moment he set foot in the door. Speaking of my husband, he would be well taken care of and our relationship would just magically grow in love and commitment to each other. I could go on but I think you get where I’m going with this.

Instead I was left with old over-sized ripped t-shirts and sweatpants. A 3 day old unwashed ponytail with hopefully a shower in the last 48 hours but sometimes, sadly, it could go longer. My house was a DISASTER with piles of dirty laundry stacked everywhere. My baby never slept and if she did, it was on me after endless hours of nursing. I barely had time to eat never mind volunteer my time and going to play groups was made impossible by my A) lack of a vehicle and B) the effort of bringing a newborn into public was just too much work.  My suppers were mostly  out of a box and would not be cooked until Dane came home from work and could hold the baby which meant we were eating very late at night. By which time we would be too tired to talk and also I was just like “Eh get away from me and don’t touch me”.

It was in those first months that the idea of going back to work really appealed to me. But time went on and by some miracle I started to “get it”. My stay at home fantasy started to kind of come together (minus the heels) and the idea of going back to work became less and less appealing. Dane and I both grew up with our mom’s at home. It was something that meant a lot to the both of us and we had agreed that if the opportunity came we would take it. As time went on and my maternity leave began coming to end, we knew it was time to make a decision. Actually there was really no decision other than the fact that we knew money was going to be tight. We are by no means well off financially. I mean we’re not destitute but it’s not like I’m buying steak every week. We have one vehicle which we bought used, we rent our house, I meal plan and price match to cut on groceries. We rarely eat out. We shop at second hand stores, we don’t have cable. We make sacrifices.  But even with all the planning and the fact that I knew it was coming, the day I told my employer I was not coming back was very difficult. I felt like I was closing up a chapter of my life. 

For a few weeks after the decision I also thought of maybe going back to work but doing something else. Like a part time waitressing job, or a work from home position or maybe even my own business. I was hesitant to really say : I am going to stay home with my daughter, that is  my life now. Then one day, for no reason whatsoever, but possibly because we had been praying for guidance, I saw my life as it should be. I knew I needed to stay home, not just for Rosie but for my husband and myself. This is where God needs me to be right now. It may mean that sometimes Dane works during the weekends and it may mean that we don’t go on fancy trips never mind take vacations but this is the cross God is asking us to bear right now. Sure I get lonely sometimes and my life does get quite repetitive. But it’s amidst the loneliness and the repetition that I encounter God – in those every day moments. He reveals Himself to me in a sweet smile from my daughter or her cute little laugh, through a funny moment shared with my husband and from kisses sneaked in while the baby is playing. This is how God has chosen to lead me to sainthood. It’s not glamorous or exciting but at the end of the day after I close my eyes, I rest in the the knowledge that I have accomplished His plan for my life and isn’t that what we all are trying to achieve?