The first few days of not having a job were fun- like a vacation... I took my in-laws to the airport, got to spend a ton of time with my son and husband and got caught up on stuff around the house. Then I began to miss the structure of my work day. I missed having coffee and adult conversation with my coworkers. I missed having 25 minutes in the car on the way to work to zone out, maybe listen to some music or an audio CD while I was driving.
My coworkers were starting to get new jobs. Remember the woman who'd been with the company 32+ years? She had 18 months or so to go before she could retire with full pension and medical benefits. She got a job in the collections center about an hour away from where we used to work. She'd be taking a pay cut and making that drive in order to keep her benefits in tact. Eventually, all of the people from my old office found positions in the center. I was happy for them, but the fact that they were getting jobs made me nervous... I was looking for positions, and probably could have gotten one of my own in the collections center, but that meant an hour drive. A 40 hour work week becomes 50+ when you factor in the drive. 50+ hours away from my family, for a job I thought would leave me feeling sad and depressed. So we made the decision, as a family, to keep looking for the right position, and be very choosy about it. In this job market, that means that I am essentially a stay at home mom.
And that's a good thing... right? I always wanted to stay at home. I though that it was important for our kids to grow up with mom there. My mom was a single parent, which meant that she worked and I was in some sort of child care from the time I was a few weeks old. And it worked, I am a relatively well-adjusted human being without deep scars from being in day care. But because I didn't have a parent who stayed home with me, I wanted to be the parent who stayed home with my child. When our son was born, we did not think that we were in a place for me to stay home with him, but then the decision was made for us, and we decided to go with it. And all of my dreams were fulfilled! HA!!!
Staying at home is harder than I ever thought it would be! When I was a working mom, I didn't think that things could get more difficult... when I was at work, I was thinking about my son- was he okay? Did he eat? Was he happy? It was distracting- I was used to being able to focus 100% on my job, and now, I felt torn... I would get calls at work from my husband or my child's caregiver and it was a nightmare trying to parent remotely. When I left my son in the morning and he was crying, it broke my heart. I needed to be at work, but I needed to know that he was okay too. I felt like I was constantly balancing two worlds and neither one got the attention it deserved. Being home would end this balancing act- I would have one place to focus ALL of my attention! I would never have to leave my crying son again!
And that's true... home, these four walls, they are my entire world. There is no place outside of them that I really HAVE TO be... And I never HAVE TO leave my crying son again. That also means that I never GET TO... He's all mine- all the time. I love him and I love that I get to be with him, but sometimes, I would also love a quiet cup of coffee... or a conversation with a real live grown up. I found that I missed my other world, my work world. I missed the interaction, the sense of accomplishment, feeling productive and part of something bigger. I missed the work me, who always got dressed before noon and showered on a regular basis. She, the work me, had really cute clothes and shoes and didn't have to worry about getting spit up on...
So that's where this blog comes in... How do I go from the work me to the stay at home me and not loose my mind in the process? How do I stretch my family budget to cover the expenses now that we are down to one income? How do I find real live adults to interact with? How do I keep my baby entertained so that we do not drive each other nuts? Hopefully somewhere along the way, the lessons that I'm learning can help you too, whether you are a stay at home mom, a working mom or somewhere in between.
(BTW- I know that stay at home moms work, believe me I know that! Please don't read too deeply into the terms "working mom" and "stay at home mom".)
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