I distinctly remember the night I told Eric that I wanted to be a mom. We had just come home from a wedding and were oohing and ahhing over one another, drunk on being in love. We were sitting on the couch discussing our lives and our life together when Eric asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I replied, "be a mom". He kind of rolled his eyes in a 'Well duh' kind of way and said, "but what else do you want to do?"
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a mother. And a teacher. When I was older I wanted to be a mother, teacher, lawyer and work for the International Criminal Court, and work for an orphanage and be a foster parent and.... the list goes on. As long as it was something to do with children, I wanted to do it. I went to college and thought I'd enter into early childhood education but I decided it wasn't for me. So I worked towards a secondary education degree and specialized in History, Geography, Communications and Political Science. Are you noticing a theme here? That dream of being a mother was still the number one priority. And I decided that being a stay-at-home mom was the most important part of being a mom. I had been a nanny and while there certainly isn't anything wrong with working, I just knew that I wanted to be the one who, day in and day out spent all of those hours with my kids.
About a month ago my youngest sister came to town for a week long visit. In that time, she was bored out of her mind. She adores her nephews but the responsibility and exhaustion from being around the three and one year old wore her pretty thin. I wonder what she thinks of me? Does she see me and ignore my education and focus only on the stay-at-home aspect of me? Or does she see how I've become a "fun sponge" who would prefer to watch Psych and White Collar while drinking wine on the couch, getting in bed by 11 o'clock? Or does she see the hard work that I put in each second of the day to make life easier for my kids and me? Or to her, is it annoying that everything I do revolves around nap and bedtime?
My 10 year High School reunion is this Summer. In the last 10 years I've lived in four states, received a Bachelors Degree, got married, worked at a gym and two different Starbucks Coffee houses, worked as an Executive Director, moved six times, bought a house, remodeled a house, had my house flood, re-built a house, and gave birth to two children. I'm almost 28 and a stay-at-home mom. Something to brag about?
I'm not using my education, I'm not working for what I set out for but I am doing my dream job. I'm fortunate enough to get to stay home. I'm not a famous lawyer nor will I ever attend Law School, but I am a teacher. Just ask my sons, we "play school" all the time. According to my sons, I'm also a baker, a chef, a "good fixer", a "maker", a "book reader", a cleaning guy, a good driver, a boo boo kisser and a good snuggler. I am a mom. There are days I struggle with the notion that I do more laundry than a laundromat. That I am a mom who drives cars in circles around a handmade masking tape track more than Jeff Gordon. I am a mom who stays up late each night so I can have more than one episode of Bones to myself. Most of that "me" time is spent posting pictures of my kids on Facebook and scouring Pinterest and the Internet for activities for the next day.
My kids consume my life. I know I let it happen more than other parents. I choose to reschedule my hair appointment because my kids are melting down at dinner and I don't want to leave them with a sitter when I know they need me. I know there are probably 100 books out there that say I'm some kind of crazy for making appointments at 8 PM so I have a family dinner with my boys and get them a bath before I leave. But I'm sure there are 100 other books that say I'm doing it exactly right. I don't care what kind of parent you are. You are the kind of parent that you need to be for your children and your family. For me, that means I feel like it's MY responsibility to raise my boys to be educated, strong, compassionate, loving, driven, and happy. I don't want someone else to do it. If it means that I don't work for 7 years until the youngest one is in Kindergarten, then fine. I've been able to spend the best years of my sons' lives with them. And I'll have seen their first everything.
So, maybe I am a fun sponge, old, or not as decorated as my former classmates, but I have a rich life, covered in mud and sticky fruit snacks, decorated with finger paint, drool and Hot Wheels cars. According to Forbes a Stay-At-Home Mom would have made $115,000 based the different types of jobs they do and the number of hours they put in. While I'm not paid in any legal tender, I am paid in sweet words, cuddles, slobbery/snotty kisses and a love that only a parent can understand. I have two people who I not only created, carried, delivered, and nursed for a whole year, but, I have also shaped into humans and continue to nurture them so that they can be the best at whatever they choose to be. To me, that's the most important job in the world and I'm lucky to have it.