Ever since the day, no the second, that I found out I was pregnant I panicked about the age old question: Do I want to be a stay at home mom or a working mom? I've started writing this post about a million and one times and then erased it in it's entirety because I just couldn't get my feelings out. I could not. Which we all know is usually not a problem because I could write about practically nothing all the live long day. And happily at that.
I grew up under the direction of a single mother. Even before my parents split up, she was basically doing it all. When she actually started doing it all (i.e. started working AND going getting her master's on top of all of the other motherly duties) I watched with wide eyed wonder. She was and is still the most amazing woman that I know. Because of her, I've grown up knowing that I would work. I crave that stability, almost too much. And it's not that I don't trust in my husband's ability to support our family. He has quadruple the earning potential that I'll ever have. It's just having the safety and security know that I have a job and I make enough for us to live off of. Silly? Yes. Probably.
Once I got married (and started growing up -- I didn't have much time before I married at the ripe old age of 19 AND A HALF) my opinions and world views slowly started to take shape. I could see a defining shape in my being and I got more comfortable being just me. I owned my strong opinions and was able to apologize for some of my earlier more naive opinions. Am I totally mature? Um, no. I'm still very much selfish and figuring myself out, but I think I've developed a pretty strong core. Funnily enough, every time I thought about staying at home or working with kids, it would almost immediately push it to the back of my mind. I didn't need to figure it out! I was only 19, 20, 21...and I've only been married for 1,2,3...years.
Well, now I'm on the brink of turning 24 and I've been married for a solid 4.5 years. We get alumni mail, we're (somewhat) established, we own a house, we have two dogs, j.rue manages to mow the lawn every week & I keep up on the laundry (HUGE for our defining grown up careers), kids pretty much come next, ready or not. So, we tried and then it happened and now here we are, less than 3 months away from the newest addition to our grown up lives. Why had I not figured this out yet?
Now back to January 30th when I started panicking. I panicked from then until July 1st when I HAD to make a decision. Think of how many stomach aches I made for myself. So ridiculous I am. Yes, the money was a big factor. Giving up an entire income in HARD, I don't care who you are. It's not comfortable. But that wasn't the biggest thing. I was worried about my time and how best to use it. What would be the best for my family and I? Could I, or did I even want to, try to have it all?
I've seen a lot of those "Can Women Have it All?" articles and blog posts floating around the internet. Probably because I'm one of those who actually wondered if some faceless person on Google could tell me that it was in fact, possible. So dumb. Well in my oh so humble opinion and after lots of "research" nope you can't do it all and be 100% balanced and happy and la la la. The grass really is always greener on the other side. I just wanted to find my closest runner up to "having it all" and taking that road. Unpaved or not. I decided to create my own personal "all" that included all of the things that I loved, but without all of the pressures of everyone else.
Honestly, in the first few months of this pregnancy both options sounded completely awful because they weren't completely perfect and easy. And I think that was the key. I wanted easy. And clean and neat. How come no one ever told me having a baby would not be clean and neat?! And I haven't even gotten the baby yet! My heavens to becky.
So, I cried and I wailed and I moaned and I talked to every single person imaginable that I trusted. Know what's funny? No one told me EXACTLY what I wanted to hear. Rude, right? Except, I found out this was a blessing. A few weeks ago when I had to make my most final decision and break the news to my boss I am so thankful that I had so many conflicting opinions in my head. Silly, right? I actually went back and though about how I felt when I talked to each person. I quickly realized that I was most as peace when I was told that I should stay home and that everything else would work itself out. I got all up in stitches when I was told that I could totally make the working thing work and it was the safest. Did this make it black and white? No, but I realized what I wanted. I want to be at home with my babies. I want to take care of my husband and house.
I will forever have a special bond and love for my sister-in-law. She's the one that I felt the most peace with while talking about my options, and trust me, she sat through it about a million and two times. I'm so thankful for her. I'm pretty sure I wasn't given a sister right off the bat because Heavenly Father knew that I would get her before too long.
Will I miss working? So incredibly much. I love this job with all my heart, really I do. How many people can say that? Not many that I've met. We posted the job on Friday and I sobbed. My insides were in knots and my heart really was broken. I'll be leaving a huge part of my identity here in this office. I don't know if you've ever had to do it, but it's hard leaving part of your being and not know if/when you'll be taking it back and putting it on again. It's scary and this is the biggest leap of faith I've ever had to take in my entire life. I still think about changing my mind. Technically, I can until August 15th, but I won't.
Thankfully, I've been able to begin creating "all". I don't have to completely loose my working identity because of this lovely company. They're allowing me to work a small amount and from home. I know this is going to make my transition 1000 times easier and I'll need to thank each of those girls personally when that happens. I think Heavenly Father knew that I wouldn't do very well going cold turkey from working. I'm just a little defective that way. But, as I take one small leap of faith after another I slowly start to see my fears unravel (in a good way, of course) and I'm able to use that new energy that had been tied up to utter terror to build my personal "all". It's not the world's version of "having it all", just mine. And I think unique things are a little more exciting anyway.
Besides being the most difficult decision ever, it's also surprisingly liberating. I've made my bed and I can't eat my cake, or something like that? In my mind it's a done deal and now it's time to tie up the loose ends and move on to my next chapter. Change is kind of exciting, right?