Guest Post: Fork in the Road

Once again I find myself at a fork in the road. Has this happened to you? I
can go this way for this end result, or I can go this way for this result. Both
have their good and bad sides. Both benefit everyone, but ultimately you choose
the one you feel slightly outweighs the other.

This has been about 83.76% of my thought process for the past 2 months.

I found myself no longer in a paying, away from home, working environment.
We had enough savings to keep the kids in preschool for about another month so
I could look for another job. So I looked … and looked … and looked. The
closest thing I got was a form emailed letter saying that my application had
been received, they keep resumes and applications on file for a year, and if
something that met my skills opened up, they would contact me.  Thanks. I
was in HR.  I know what that means. And no one goes back through resumes
and past applications.

The time came to take the kids out of school. We told their teachers,
cleaned out their cubbies, and at the very last minute, Grandma stepped up with
a check to cover the next 4 weeks. Enough time for them to (almost) finish out
the school year. So I kept looking for a paying job. And looking, and looking,
and looking.

Then I thought … it costs so much to keep the kids in preschool/daycare.
For the past 18 months I worked 50 hours a week (on a slow week) in the office,
then replied to every email, every phone call, every request from a customer on
nights and weekends, I had software at my house that allowed me to run the
office from home in case there was a power outage, or other such issue that
rendered us helpless, and was stressed to the point of physical health
issues, mental health issues, and ultimately I was “replaced” because
I wasn’t reliable nor was I committed enough because I needed to miss work on
occasion when my kids were sick. No lie. I wasn’t reliable, I wasn’t committed,
and I wasn’t an asset any longer. WOW!

Yes, these are of me sitting on the concrete floor of the warehouse
garage, sorting through massive amounts of invoices that were logged, filed,
and recorded incorrectly.

Adding, tallying, and reconciling years worth of purchases that were a total
jumble of a mess.

All the while, I’m sitting on an industrial grade floor mat. Wow … Just imagine
what my work ethic would have been like if I had only been committed to my job.

So … tomorrow I will once again be a full time Mommy, chef, nurse, maid,
play mate, teacher, and wife. I played this role for 18 months right after my
baby GG was born prematurely, and I loved it. We found ourselves in a money
crunch and needed a little extra to get by. We’re out of that pickle now; we’re
wiser and know where our priorities lay. Don’t get me wrong, the extra money
would still be nice, but not at the detriment of my health or my family’s
health and well being.  But on the same token, the thought of paying
someone my entire paycheck to baby-sit my kids is silly to me.

 Soapy water painting is a lot of fun.

This counts as a bath … right?

Finding that balance of mommy, woman, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece,
and friend will be both fun and hard. I have glorious plans for how we’ll spend
the next year and a half until my oldest is eligible for Kindergarten in the
fall of 2014.  Here’s what I see us doing… 

I’ll wake up at 6:30 every morning and ride my exercise bike while watching
the news. This gives me a little alone time before the kids wake up, and starts
the day off right. If the kids aren’t up by 7:00, I’ll open their door and
go downstairs to have coffee and watch the Today Show until they wake up and
come down. Breakfast will follow, and then we’ll sit down at the computer and
see what activities are available for us for the day. I’m hoping for a lot of
free field trips, petting zoos, library visits, picking fruits, and kid
seminars at local craft and home improvement stores. Between activities away
from home, we’ll send time doing creative learning activities. I bought each
child a notebook, and we’ll pick a letter a week to focus on. We’ll cut
pictures out of the paper and magazines that represent that letter and glue
them into our books. We’ll practice writing those letters and studying the
sounds. When the weather permits, we’ll be outside as much as possible, either
working in our small backyard garden, swimming in the neighborhood pool, or
learning to ride our bicycles and roller skates. Each meal will be a learning
activity too.  We’ll learn where our food comes from, how to clean it and
cook it and what tastes great.

In addition to the notebooks I bought for the kids, I also bought one for
me. Each night, after they have gone to bed, I’m going to write down what we
did that day, leaving them a journal of all the fun adventures.

Plans aren’t always followed through on. Supper is on the table, but
the family was engrossed in a new movie, so supper waited. 

My little Sous Chef.

Our first two heirloom tomatoes of the season.

Tomato blooms for the cherry tomatoes.

I’m very excited to be starting this new chapter of my life. I’ve been on
both sides of the working Mommy fence, and, like I said before, there are
plusses and minuses to each. I have two or three very good friends who are
FANTASTIC Mommies and have zero interest in being home all day with their
kids. They find they are much better parents because they work out of the home in
a paying employment position. I, on the other hand, find that too stressful. I
need and want to snuggle, teach, explore, and experience this time with my
babies. I need to not feel pressured and fearful of losing that paid position
if my child is sick and needs me. Pretty soon they’ll be teenagers, and I’ll
look back at my journal of the time we spent together and I’m sure I’ll cry
happy tears and longing tears for their sweet days of childhood. But for me, I
would rather look back and sweetly remember the days in the sprinkler, the
snowmen, the fall leaves, and the new spring gardens, than to look back and
realize that I was sitting in a boardroom while my kids laughed and ran and
climbed, and discovered the world.

So here’s to skinned knees, “why” a thousand times a day,
“She hit me”, “Don’t jump on the furniture!”, baseballs
through windows, butterfly kisses, bedtime stories, watching the stars at
night, “He’s looking at me”, the occasional chocolate for breakfast,
“I want GranMa!”, secretly learning our ABC’s, and 123’s while
playing games, and all the sweet moments to come. 

Cheers, y’all.

About The Author: I’m a new (again) stay at home mom. My kids are 4.5 and 3. A boy and a girl who are 18 months apart. I have my bachelors degree in English from George Mason, but I’ve worked with numbers most of my life as either a financial manager, or other such accounting type role. I’m 39, married to a fireman, we have 2 huge dogs, Stella and Homer, we live in Manassas, but I could throw a stone and it would land in Bristow. I have a fear of birds, yet I buy bird feeders and bird seed. I can’t stand stink bugs, cicadas, or Zombies. I have a gluten intolerance, I’m overweight, I don’t enjoy to diet or exercise, and I have watched General Hospital (off and on) since I was in 4th grade. We have a cat named Kevin, and a gigantic goldfish who’s name is either Iron Man, or Captain America, and since I can’t remember, I call him “fish”. I drink boxed wine because I can buy it cheap and in bulk. I believe that little girls should have dresses that twirl, and little boys should learn from day one to open doors for girls. I just learned about 3 months ago that it’s no longer “proper” to double space at the end of a sentence. I decorated my kitchen around a platter I got for Christmas one year. I’m happiest in my kitchen, in my garden, and while writing. I’m originally from NC, and my older sister and her family are still there. My father lives in Shenandoah county, my mother passed away from cancer in 1996, and my stepmother just passed away in April from complications to liver failure. I’m a ridiculous Daddy’s Girl, I was a total Tom-Boy, and I have a handed-down love of British cars.

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