Monday, March 8, 2010

Hat Shopping: Part One

I need a job.

Not just any job, and the need isn't as urgent as some in this economy. For that I am very grateful. But when I left my last career type position, I always imagined that once the kids were in school I would go back to work. Brian and I thought the best path for our family was to have me at home with the kids. To be a SAHM. Quite honestly, when Bekah was born, the though of putting her in daycare, of someone else seeing her more during the workday than I did, well, made me sick to my stomach.

Bold statement, Susan, you just lost all the Working Moms.

I can't deny my feelings, sorry. BUT I do know, in my heart of hearts, that the decision that is best for me, is not necessarily best for everyone. I do know a number of working moms who really are better parents because they work. I know a number of them who MUST work, bills need to be paid. I know a number of them who equally identify with being a Mother and being a ( fill in the occupation here)- to give up a hard earned career would make them bitter and resentful. Can't imagine that a bitter and resentful woman would make a great Mom. I do know a number of moms who,  when faced with the prospect of being a SAHM break out in a cold sweat. All kids? ALL. THE. TIME. * shudder*

That is it, it's not for everyone. The days can be very lonely,  very long, very frustrating and the cash pay pretty much sucks.

The first year that I was home with Beks was very difficult. We moved when she was one month old, from Chicago to a new state. Small town. No mom neighbors. No family.It was uphill from the get go.

I had put so much personal worth into career accomplishments that I had a hard time seeing the rewards of being a SAHM. I took every " oh, you stay home?" personally and probably put more negative feeling into it than was intended.

I wanted to slug the next person who said " that must be so rewarding". Really? Having a baby upchuck all over you 24/7 is rewarding?

Reading " The Owl and the PussyCat"  for the 10th time that day ,to a tot who only wants to chew on and flip the pages faster than you can read is fulfilling?

Waiting for your husband to come home so you can talk to another adult other than the Walmart cashier and the Pediatrician, only to have him walk in the door grumpy from a bad day at work, reach for the remote and ask what is for dinner adds to my self worth?

But then spring came, the long winter ended both literally and figuratively. I got out of the house, met other SAHMs and began to see my chosen path as the one I was intended to be on. I really never looked back. God provided for us, Brian made enough that we could, if we lived frugally, afford for me to stay at home.

For us, having a parent home all the time makes the most sense. I love being here when they come home, hearing about school , helping with the homework, keeping an eye on their social scene, taxi-ing them around. I like to cook, and craft, and look for teachable moments. Although not a huge fan of cleaning, I'll do it. I love that I don't have to take a day off if they get sick, or have days off from school. I love doing things with them in the summer. I love teaching them to do things around the house, to cook and clean and help out the family. I love that they know I will be here for them. That is actually very rewarding.

When child number 2, Luke, headed off to Kindergarten 6 years ago I was planning my next move. I had developed an interest in gardening and was researching what it took to become a Master Gardener. This isn't a paid gig, it's actually education for education's sake. After earning the title you give back your time to the community. Gratis. But I love gardening that much. I figured I could parlay my acquired knowlege into a part-time job at a landscaping center as well as working the gardening hot lines. But before I could sign up, I got pregnant.

Flash forward another 6 years. This fall Noah, child number 3 and DONE, heads off to kindergarten. I am in my upper-mid-40's and don't know what to do when I grow up.

 All the reasons for me to stay home are still valid ( except for the diaper changing,spit- up and potty training them myself). I do not want to give up being here for them, but I need something more. Cash would be nice. The cost of having children is pretty high-- it's not all diapers and formula costs.. braces, sports, clothes, extra school activities, food...and have you SEEN this economy? Yeesh! But I also want something for me. I need to get back to having emotional rewards that are not just a hug here, a " thanks Mom" there, a peek in on a wise decision and an unprodded " I love you". I need to DO something else.

Maybe it's time to take that Master Gardner course. Maybe it's time to go back to a previous career in Special Event Planning or Photography. Maybe it's time for something I else new and different.

So every now and I again, I am going to be trying on hats. I am going to seriously think about different careers that would give me the flexibility to still be On -Call for my kids, but also get something back for myself. Something that will set an example to my children that God gives us gifts, it's our job to make figure out what they are and follow that path. I am going to pray about it. I am going to seek wise counsel. I am going to listen.

I may not be a full-time SAHM forever, but in my heart, as long as there are children living under our roof, I am going to be a SAHM foremost. I will never, EVER stop being a Mom. Even when I go back to work as a... a.... a... um. er.... I have no idea.

To Be Continued


  1. Whatever you do, you'll be great at it 'cuz that's just how you are. :)

  2. Susan,
    You are in the same place I was 8 years ago. We ended up starting our own business. I wanted flexibility to be there for the girls. Which this allowed. Good luck with your new adventure!

  3. You will never lose this working mom. Your blogs fill me with happiness. Oh, and if you ever decide to earn a few extra bucks helping people start their own little kid-friendly gardens... let me know (just don't call me.) :)

  4. This felt like a flash forward. Si Guy is only three, but soon....very soon....

  5. I'm with Tracy. You won't lose this working mom. And I'm with Becki. Whatever you decide to do, you will be great at it. Have you considered starting a kids party planning business that specializes in gardening activites? Now THAT would be a niche biz.

  6. Please keep that garden idea in your head, especially if you make it a kid-friendly event... By the way, I'm very VERY disappointed -- for some reason I was thinking there would be a nw blog entry today.

  7. Thank you Tracy, I would be happy to schedule a Garden Party with your kids to test out the hat. And there was a new entry on April 8th. I hate to disappoint so much I posted it even before you came to the site today! :)

  8. I am exploring the Master Gardener concept. I, sadly, am very excited about it. I don't know what to do either. Hmm....twiddle, twiddle, twiddle, what to do? I, however, have zero interest in getting a real job. Kudos to you.


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