I started out the woman that was going to have it all. I worked full-time, had a toddler and a baby on the way, while I took my last few classes and graduated with my MBA just shortly before baby number two arrived. I was determined to make it all work and to have it all. I am not telling you this because I think I am wonderful, or to brag about doing it all, I am doing it to get to my point. I worked hard, got recognized and did what it took to have a demanding job while balancing life with very young children.
I also, was the mom that gave her kid that dose of Tylenol right before rushing them into daycare to mask that slight fever, so I wouldn’t miss my weekly operations meeting. But let’s not stop there I was the mom that had the daycare provider peeling her 2 year old off her leg and holding her there so I could get out the door. I couldn’t be the female that missed something because I had kids. But it gets worse, I was the mom that turned on the TV when the toddler asked me to do a puzzle so I could respond to all my emails and make sure I wasn’t missing anything in the 14 hours before I got back to the office.
And my worst offense, I was the mom that rolled her eyes when stay at home moms complained how they could never get anything done and how difficult it was to accomplish anything with children. I thought to myself, “I get it all done and bring home a pay check, boy would my life be easy if I could just stay at home with my kids”. Well, don’t hate me yet, you get what you wish for sometimes. After 20 years of working hard, putting myself through college and doing whatever it took to have a career, I was laid off with less than a month’s notice when my company lost their lucrative automotive contract that I had been assigned to for more than 10 years. This just 30 days after my husband had lost his job for the same reason.
Stay with me, I promise to get to the funny stuff!
I now have a full understanding of how time can elapse when you are with children. One minute is not 60 seconds, it’s multiplied into whatever your child wants to make it that day – and believe me they can stretch a minute further that a fat person can stretch spandex. Getting out the door becomes a movie, not a trailer, and don’t even get me started on the grocery store, mall or restaurants.
If my five year old doesn’t want to catch the bus, she won’t, and she will make me feel like a bigger failure than when I lost my job. It can be as simple as not brushing her hair the correct way and suddenly she is in full melt down, asking for a new mom and providing me with a list of things I have done wrong in the past 90 minutes. Ridiculous things, like I didn’t give her the right napkin with her breakfast or that I picked out the shirt she hates to wear or that I didn’t say good morning to her hamster.
Let me add my favorite part of being a stay home mom, the ability for my children to reset to zero anytime they don’t get something they wanted. I can take them to the park, get them McDonalds, have 10 kids over to play chalk and bubbles and the moment they ask for their third popsicle and I say, “I think two is enough” they instantly forget everything I have done and I am the worst mom ever. Their memories, that are like an elephant’s when they are promised something (they can actually provide the time down to the second when I promised DQ or a new toy) completely go blank when I try to point out everything I did up to that third popsicle moment! Basically, I am screwed for all my hard work that day.
The funniest part is that I love this life. There are mornings when I am dropping the kids off to school and my hair is sticking straight up and I have on mismatched pajamas and I see the pretty moms heading off to work and I think, “Oh, that was me”. And then I remember the things I missed out on when that was me. I do miss working and I definitely miss the praise of the great job I would do, especially when I am working on my acceptance speech for, “Worst Mom Ever”.
For the working moms that may read this, they will think I am nuts, for the stay at home mom’s they will understand, and for my mom – she is laughing hard on the inside because payback can be hell! For me, this is my version of bliss.