I am quickly finding out that when people ask you if you enjoy staying home they don’t really want to know the truth. They want to hear you say yes, you love it rather than no it is really boring. Nothing seems to end the conversation quicker than a no. So I am learning to just say yes. I have had some advice to get involved in the school and I just smile because I don’t think I could be more involved. I stay for family reading every morning in my daughters class; I am the co chair of the parents committee as well as a member of three subcommittees; attend all of the monthly assemblies; and all of the parent coffee mornings with the principal. Still I get bored. Then I have to laugh at myself because on paper I wonder how on earth I could be. So I take a deep breath and let go of the what ifs and enjoy what is.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how my daughter isn’t really mine anymore. Sure she used to go to daycare and spent a good portion of her day with her providers but it was still within a confined little world. School however is so much different. There are people who know her and that she knows that I don’t. This is a struggle. My five year old bundle of energy, creativity, and goofiness is her own person and a part of this world separate from me. Other people meet her and form opinions of her without my influence or awareness. I can only hope that I am teaching her to be kind, thoughtful, and a good friend.
These past few months have been tough. My romanticized version of what it would be like staying home have come crashing down with the realities of non stop child care, no money for hobbies, and the isolation of not having colleagues to talk to every day. I find myself being too harsh, too short tempered, and full of self pity. I lost track of the things that I used to like over the last few years and slowly allowed myself to disappear as I focused on being a mom. The perfect analogy for this would be that when we had to move in with my MIL a few years ago I let all my plants die. I used to love to garden and I just left them outside in the middle of winter so I would have one less thing to take care of.
But today; today the sun is shining and I am starting to pull myself out of my funk. So what if I can’t afford all that pretty fancy fabric I see online, as another post I read reminded me quilting used to be all about the scraps and living on a budget. So today I read a sewing tutorial and I am going to make a skirt with my daughter’s old curtains for her to wear. I scrapped together some loose change and bought a small plant in a two inch pot. It will grow. Slowly but surely I can make my life into what I imagined it to be without needing money.
After recently becoming a stay at home mom after almost five years as a working mom I am finding myself reflecting more and more on the pressures and judgements I have been putting on myself. When I was working all I wished for was more time at home and the first few weeks of staying home all I could think about was what I was missing about not working. Now I am starting to embrace the possibilities that I longed for just a few short months ago. I have time to try new hobbies, cook real meals for my family and get involved in my daughter’s new school.
I am learning that I am better than I think I am at things, that I have valuable opinions to add to the school commitee I joined a few days ago, and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. My family appreciates my efforts.