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New Year’s Eve, Already?!?

December 31, 2009

I got up with Shane this morning, letting my husband sleep in since he let me have that luxury yesterday. The little man & I trudged out to the living room, rubbing the sleep from our eyes, and settled on the rug with his new little train set. We carefully set up the wooden tracks in a figure eight, and then my son scurried around the room gathering toy farm animals which he set down inside the loops. According to him, it was a “train farm,” and the cows “moo-ed” and the sheep “baa-ed”, the ducks “gack-ed” and the horses “moo-ed.” OK, so it’s evidently a quite unusual farm with some rather quirky animals, but I digress…

It was a typical morning. A quiet, peaceful start to our day.

Once he was happily settled in with the “Train Farm” and the gack-ing animals, I made myself a mug of tea and warmed a chocolate chip muffin, and settle in with the computer. The blog entry I started the night before, a recipe for Indoor S’Mores Bars, just needed a few tweaks before I hit publish. I tweaked, I published, and that was that.

A normal, typical morning. A normal, typical post.

It wasn’t until I pulled up my google reader and started browsing other bloggers posts that I realized that today was not just another ordinary day.  It was December 31st, the last day of 2009, the eve of a brand new year. 

Where has the time gone? 

One year ago today was my last, official day of work.  As I wrote on my previous blog on the first of this year:

2008 was an unforgettable year. I became a mother, and we became a family when Shane entered the world in February. I returned to work, and struggled desperately with the working mom juggling act. I have to express how much respect I have to the women who work full-time, and still find time to manage everything else that life throws at them.

I failed at it all, big-time.

I felt like I had become a sub-par teacher. I had barely any energy for my students, let alone my own son. I was snippy towards my husband. When I was home, my time was taken up with trying unsuccessfully with keeping up with household chores, and trying to also find pockets of time to spend with my son & husband. Pretty difficult when I’d get home from work, make supper, put Shane to bed, try to catch up w/ a chore or two, pass out in the recliner, go to bed…rinse/repeat.

My house looked as though one of those notorious crazy hoarders lived here…in my case, I was hoarding dust bunnies and clutter. I used to love cooking, and trying out a wide variety of different, interesting recipes, but my dinner repertoire was reduced to spaghetti and meatballs or Kraft Mac & Cheese…or take-outs. I felt physically exhausted, borderline depressed, and emotionally drained. Something had to give.

That something was my job.

I can’t figure out what was lacking in me, why I couldn’t “cut it” as a working mom. I’m sure my chronic lack of organizational skills played a big role. But still…I’d see mother’s drop their preschoolers everyday, looking impeccable as they’re off to their office jobs, and more than likely I’d be sporting potentially unwashed jeans, a maternity top (still!), and if I was lucky, still-damp hair from the shower. Make-up was limited to concealer that pretended to cover my stress-zits. I’d look at these moms and marvel at how they could pull it off…working, dressing with such sophistication, making it to the gym, finding time to scrapbook, planning lavish third-birthday parties, going out for cosmos w/ the other mothers…and try to figure out why I couldn’t even manage to fit in a shower every morning.

And the sad thing is, it’s not even like we’ll be losing my income. I barely had an income, after Uncle Sam took his cut, the daycare center took theirs, and we paid for all those other hidden work expenses like the gas used commuting and the convenience foods we’d been living on. If we could get by on that little bit left over, we can find a way to get by without it.

I pray to God that I can make this work for us…staying home with Shane. I’ve been all over the internet, searching for tips to help me cut the grocery bills and save money in so many ways. I’ve been researching things I could do on the side to earn a little money here & there. I’ve got to make this work. The thought of going back to the way things were is nearly unbearable.

I have been so thankful, each and every day of this past year, that we were able to make the necessary changes in our lives so that I could leave my job and stay home and raise our son. Sure, there are days when I’m tempted to sell him to the gypsies…and there are an equal number of days when I’ve been tempted to run away with the gypsies myself. Yet, I’ve found peace. For this moment in time, this is who I am, this is where I am. Home with my son.

My days have a different ebb and flow now. Our calendar is no longer based around a Monday through Friday work week. Instead, it’s based around the weather and the seasons. Around whether Daddy is home with us for the day, or off working. Around play-dates and doctor’s appointments, trips to the playground and the grocery store. Around walks to the library and rainy-day dance parties. Around shared naps, nursing snuggles, messy-art disasters, and giggles over an early morning “Train Farm.”

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2009 8:16 pm

    I tried working after my first child. I was a nurse and like you I only brought in a small amount of money after childcare and travel costs. I gave up after six months and it was the best thing for our family. I was lucky to have a supportive husband who was happy to go along with whatever made us all happy. Now that my kids are 7, 9 11 I have returned to work during their school day hours. Life has become a juggling act again but at least the kids are not affected by it. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to be at home with them when they were pre schoolers.
    I’m sure you feel the same.

    • January 1, 2010 9:01 am

      I am so grateful to be home with him during this stage in our lives. And in the grand scheme of things, it is such a short phase that I’m trying to cherish every moment of it!
      I’m hoping to go back to school, myself, once Shane’s old enough for school. My degree is in early childhood education, but the thought of going back to teaching again makes my stomach lurch. I’ve been thinking a lot about completely changing my career path, and am interested in becoming a lactation consultant, so I’ve been learning about what steps I’ll have to take to achieve that goal in the future.
      In the meanwhile, though…I’m loving the life I’m living! =)

  2. December 31, 2009 9:06 pm

    I’m so glad you’re able to do that, and you’re doing such a fantastic job at it too.

    It’s with much mixed emotions that I am heading back, but given the choice, I’m pretty sure I’d rather be home. But, like you, I am so glad that I got almost a full extra year beyond what most people get in Canada.

    I can’t say I will miss 2009. I have been waiting a long time to kick it to the curb, and yell obscenities at it. I wish that all the issues that arouse during it were done, they’re not, but I am in a much better place now than I was last New Year’s Eve, that’s for sure. I’m still going to kick it to the curb :).

    • January 1, 2010 8:55 am

      It must be a bittersweet descision to make. I could be way off base, but from what you’ve written about your previous employers, they sound pretty supportive and like a great place to work. I think my job wouldn’t have been as stressful as it was if my employers were more supportive of emplkoyees who were parents…maybe I could have stuck it out longer if that had been different.
      Shea will be in the same childcare center as you, right? I bet he’ll love the interaction w/ other kids! It’ll probably be an easier transition for him than you (they’re so resiliant!)
      Best of luck! You’re in my thoughts! When do you return to work?

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