It has been so long since I have blogged that I had forgotten my password. Can you say "6th time's the charm?" Hey, at least I got it on the 6th try and I didn't have to have a new one sent. ;-) First, I was working a lot & didn't make time to blog. Then, my children grew 2 feet and requested that I please not blog about them. A lot has changed (or is changing) though and I can't believe that I haven't documented these last two years very much. It makes me very nostalgic looking over some of my older posts and realizing how little my kids used to be and how little they are not any longer. Kind of reconfirms something for me... I made a fairly big decision and quit my job. There were several motivating factors in this but the final "straw that broke the camels back" was when Dustin told me that he was going to take a job working out of state. Nevermind the fact that as of now he STILL hasn't left & I don't know if he will anymore.
I pretend that being a stay at home mom is a selfless act of love but I secretly suspect that I may be suffering from a touch of narcissism. I strongly feel that if I am not home that my life will fall apart. As if no one could possibly survive / function if I am not available 24/7 to orchestrate. Me & only me. It's ridiculous but that's my gut "mom instinct" right now. Before this, I was working full time at my day job (pouring my heart & energy into other people's kids until I was all out of patience or "fun-ness" for my own kids) and taking care of the park as well. Dustin had started a new trucking job working long hours and we were lucky if we saw him for an hour each evening (a very overly tired, grumpy, unfocused hour at that.) Technically, the kids were old enough to take care of themselves overall & we weren't really any busier than most American families. But it still wasn't RIGHT. Russell started having behavior problems at school. Which may or may not have happened anyway. Eleven is a rough age, but... All of the kids had several missing assignments and were turning in very little homework. My house was a train wreck of a mess 90% of the time. And we were eating yucky, processed foods like frozen pizza & chicken nuggets most of the time. This is not how my gut says I should be raising my family.
I started getting anxiety as Lane got closer & closer to several big milestones (high school, driving, and the really scary one: the age that I was when I got pregnant with him.) And I worried at 3 AM about whether I was around enough to be truly present, to really KNOW what they are doing and who their friends are and to be available for those spontaneous conversations that they need when they've had a bad day or a great day or are trying to make a tough choice... I decided that we don't have very much time left before they are grown. So many years have just flown by already. I didn't make enough money to make it worth missing the tiny bit of time that we have left & with a few budget tweaks & side jobs we could "make do" and have a stay at home parent to hopefully "finish strong". I'll have DECADES to work while they are adults.
This choice still scares me though. As crazy as it sounds this is one of the rare times that I am actually thankful that I didn't go to as much college (yet) as I wish I had and therefore don't have an important career to walk away from. If I were making a higher wage or had amazing benefits or something then this choice may not have gone this way. As it is, I feel guilty about not bringing in that paycheck. I wonder if my kids will ever look back on their childhood as adults and appreciate that I spent more time with them than I spent money on them or if they will just resent me for not being able to afford as much material stuff as some of their friends have. I don't enjoy the comments / looks that I get when people ask, "What do you do?" and I tell them that I am a stay at home mom. Thankfully, I am still a park caretaker because that is at least something to respond with to at least delay the eventual "Oh, that must be nice." (said in a "So you're just a big mooch, huh?" tone.)
I know that this lifestyle isn't for everybody. I am just thankful that we can make it work for us right now in this moment. I'm sure the time will come when it doesn't work anymore & then we will make the necessary adjustments, but for now this our "new normal".