This year, my husband and I decided that we were tired of doing the evening-o'-hell-dance. We
were tired of cramming an entire days worth of parenting into two or three not-so-fun hours. We were determined to make a change. Our oldest daughter is headed into (GASP) dreaded middle school. Our youngest daughter is heading into Pre-K. We've come to the realization that our kids need us more now that they're in school. So, we decided I would quit my job and be a stay at home mom. We took the plunge.
I was so excited to stay home with my girls. I had visions of a spotless house, perfectly well-mannered children, a vegetable garden growing in the backyard, and a beautiful home-cooked meal laid on the table every evening. I imagined my family life was simply perfect..Southern Living perfect. How can someone not be excited about staying at home with their family?
Reality slapped me in the face with a quickness. I never did have the unrealistic expectation that I'd sleep in every day and that staying home would be easy. I certainly did not think that I could change the dynamic of my family overnight.. I did, however, hope that we could jump into the swing of our new lifestyle rather quickly and that the adjustment would be an easy one. Life has a funny way of proving me wrong. Quite often, actually.
You see...my kids are now together 24/7. They miss their individual friends and tend to take that out on each other. Sisters naturally tend to disagree but when they don't ever...EVER...get a break from each other, the disagreements quickly escalate from bickering to WW3. It amazes me how kids can be so mean to each other! To keep drama at a minimum, we try to keep activities going and we
attempt to get out and explore our community. Until the rain comes in...and this summer has produced so much rain that I think Mother Nature is straight up telling me 'Nah, Nah, Nah, Boo, Boo! You quit your job so I'll show you!' Much to my dismay, Mother Nature does not have a complaint department that I can email my problems to. We're wrapping up the wettest summer in history and we've pretty much just had to suck it up.
I've also learned cooking is not my forte. In the beginning, I googled countless recipes. With excitement and long grocery lists, we tackled the grocery store in search of random items such as zucchini (for a family that considers corn their staple veggie..this one is huge), ground ginger, garlic cloves.. We'd come home and I'd 'whip up' meals that somehow..every time..seemed to qualify for the Pinterest FAIL blogs. Not one to give in easily, I'm still trying to get it right. For someone who is in her (VERY) early 30's, you'd think I'd have cooking down pat. The good news is.. my husband is one who will happily choke down the disaster I place in front of him. He'll smile and say 'Yeah..it's great!' while our kids are bawling because they've discovered they loathe zucchini. They're far more transparent than he is.
My point to this rambling blog is this: It's hard to be a parent. Period. It's not easy when you're working, away from our home and children because you feel as though you're missing out on so much in their lives. Your house is always a disaster and you find yourself in the middle of a rat race, feeling as though you're always coming in last. It's just as hard though, to be a stay at home parent. You find yourself missing out on the adult world. You will have days when your husband comes home and you BOLT out of the house.. trying to seek out whatever peace and quiet you can. Your house is a mess, either way. Your kids are sassy, either way. Laundry will pile up, either way. You are stressed either way.
I don't regret my decision to stay home with my girls, for my family it's what needed to happen. I will say...without a doubt... being a stay-at-home mother is the hardest job I've ever done. I do miss working outside of the home and the face-to-face interacting with adults but when I did work I missed my kids even more. I see working moms that resent home moms and I also see mother who stay at home who resent the working mother. There simply is no happy medium. Reality is..parenting is hard.
The most important thing is.. I'm lucky enough to have the children God asked me to look after. I love being with them and I hope that they love being with me. Working or not, I've decided to care for them to the best of my abilities...even if that means forcing them to eat horrid zucchini.