Thursday, September 4, 2008

Identity Crisis Freakout Session

Last night, it hit me... What have we DONE? There is a person growing in my belly and we can't give it BACK! Up until yesterday, I've been alternately excited out of my mind or complacent about the whole thing. Then about 18 hours ago, the panic struck. What am I thinking? I can't be a Stay at Home Mom! I like Starbucks too much! How am I going to get my venti no whip hot chocolate on the way to work if I don't drive to work? There's no drive-thru in my hallway! How will I know how to act during the day if I'm not wearing heels? How will I introduce myself? I don't even like the term Stay at Home Mom, but I haven't found a suitable alternative.

Here's my problem: In theory, I believe that staying home with the kids is noble and selfless and beautiful. But now that my days as a working woman are numbered, I'm beginning to fear (correctly, I've heard) that this new career will be frustrating, mundane, and unglamorous. And it's not really taking care of the punk that I'm worried about. It's managing the household. Is it really possible to feel fulfilled when your primary responsibilities require no resume, no degree, no references?

Our society puts a lot of pressure on women and the choices they make about their families. McCain's running mate Sarah Palin has brought this issue to the forefront for many people. Can a woman contribute her time, talents, and energy to a career and still be a good mom? Can she be a leader in her community and still be the kind of leader that her kids need her to be to them? Can she volunteer to help people in need and still give her family a stable, happy home life?

All my life, I've planned to stay home with my kids. My mom stayed home with me and I had a wonderful childhood. I distinctly remember walking in the door from school and being greeted with the aroma of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. She volunteered for my school's PTA. We always had dinner together as a family. When I got a migraine, I knew she'd be available to pick me up and take care of me at home. I want to give my kids a stable, loving environment at home in order to help them develop the confidence and talents necessary to carry them through the rest of their lives. See? Doesn't that sound fabulous? But when it comes right down to it, I know that most of my time will be spent cleaning up messes, feeding little bellies, and being a chauffeur for the next 100 years.

Is it really possible to be satisfied with one's life as a Stay at Home Mom? (And is there a better title?)


Bundy Family said...

I like to call it CEO of the household. Or I've herd of other creative names such as Human Resource Manager. I think the hardest adjustment for me coming home was not fulfilling my need of feeling wanted, needed, and respected like I did at work. I didn't hit the full job of stay home mom till I had two kids which need a little more entertainment than a newborn. I've heard of some moms do get bored the first couple of months when baby is so new. I say this is a time to catch up on all the things you've been putting off for awhile. Also new talents could be developed in these months. As far as not having a degree we might not go to school to become mothers, but we deffinetly have a degree in Nursing, Human Development, Psycology, and many others. I think of mother hood as a whole new identity. I've developed so much in the past few years and have found so many more strengths and weaknesses I never knew I had. The best support I've found is from Kory and I always strive to keep our relationship thriving and growing even more so. So I hope you don't feel so lost of who you are because you will continue to be you and grow to become even a greater WOMAN!!

Brit said...

Here's the thing: you WILL have lots of mundane, frustrating, messy, tearful moments that will make you think "I gave it all up for this???" And then your little punk will do something fabulous--like give you a "leg hug" for no reason, or learn to say "please", or start feeding himself, or master some really tough physics homework with your help and you will see that THOSE are the moments that matter the most. THOSE are the moments that bring you the real joy and fulfillment that nothing else can. To be that kind of mom that is available, is there, and makes the chocolate chip cookies (literally and figuratively) is to be the mom that helps a child grow and develop confidence; and allows them to make a difference for good in the world.

That said, just because your family becomes your number 1 priority, doesn't mean they have to be your ONLY priority. If you find you need an outlet, then take it. Take a class one night a week, keep performing, keep tutoring, train for a triathlon (I'll cheer you on from the sidelines because I"m not crazy enough to ever do one), or whatever; just do something. And don't let yourself feel guilt for needing some time away to recharge.

And then call me and we will meet at Starbucks with kids in tow...

Heather B said...

Well, I think this is a valid and totally real concern. I'm not sure I'm the best one to give advice, since I never loved being a working woman (THAT was very unfilling for me, because my only post-college job left me feeling UN-RESPECTED and UN-FULFILLED...but I hung in there for 2 years until I had the baby.)

So...I just have to say, I believe that the unbelievable, indescribable joy that comes with having a child will make up for your days of getting dressed up, driving to Starbucks, etc. etc. etc. I can't promise it, because every person is different, but I can say I never get bored, even in the beginning when the baby was new and sleeping all the time...and I always feel loved and least for now.

That's the beauty of being the mom. You get the prize of being the baby's most-loved, most-preferred person. I can't TELL you how rewarding it is to have your baby give you the hugest smile, squeal, or laugh, when you go pick them up after they've woken up for a nap. Or ANY time they are away from you. There is nothing better than that unconditional love that you will get from your baby. To me, it makes up for everything I gave up to be a mom, which in perspective, doesn't seem to be much. I can't wait for you to experience it.

(On a side note, I do know some people who have to find alternative ways to fill the void that they had from working...and there's nothing wrong with that. You can find those solutions, I'm sure of it.) But I agree 100%, the stability that comes from having a mom at absolutely priceless.

Jill Johnson said...

This is a hard subject. I always felt like I needed to stay home too. When Carter was born I did just that. I went into a deep depression. I needed more. One kid all day at home. It was awful. I went back to work part time until McKinley was born. It was the best thing I ever did.

I have really learned how much people who live here respect Mom's that stay at home. It is by far the hardest job in the world, and you don't get told everyday how wonderful of a job you are doing. That sucks. Every once in a while you see your efforts blossom and it is awesome, but not very often.

Michael Paul, Holly, and Trae said...

Meili, Im so glad you found me and Im so excited for you that you are having a baby boy! boys are the best! Congrats! you look great! so I felt the same way you do about being a stay at home mother. My mom was and I loved it growing up!! NOw that we are all grown up, my mom still stays at home. Instead of working she has hobbies; such as lunch with her friends, sewing and shopping. I just don't see this for me as I grow older. My husband and I have decided that I'll work part time for now but maybe the more kids we have, it may change, but at least you have school done that you can fall back on when the bambinos are grown!
I do still work at Mindful Women, today actually my first day back from maternity leave. come get a Prenatal facial or pedicure so we can catch up and talk baby talk!

Agent Pepper said...

I don't even know what to say because I didn't grow up with the same mom that you did. My life is completely different from yours because mom didn't stay at home with me.

Use that as your determination to be a stay at home mom, and you'll do wonders. Besides...what else am I going to do on days that I don't have school but come up and visit you during the day?

Sarah Garner said...

I felt the same way... and I didn't love my job. I thought I couldn't wait to get out of there (possibly sporting an extended middle finger or two) but as time came closer and closer I realized I liked the respect I got working in a professional environment. I LIKED the respect I got when I went anywhere in my suit. People definitely talk to you differently. And I did get very bored the first little while with Hunter.

BUT, like everyone else has said, this is the opportunity to develop other talents and hobbies. You have to learn to juggle sometimes, but that's part of the challenge that I enjoy sometimes. If you don't allow your brain to turn to mush it won't (well, maybe it will a little bit, but that is thanks to pregnancy, and it's too late to go back on that one!:) )

Brit hit the nail on the head. There are times that you want to sell the kids to the gypsies, then the little toe head comes running at you with his arms open and a huge grin on his face and just melts your heart. You know during those moments that theres no where else you'd rather be.

If you get bored come to my house! You'll go running back to your own bored house after 5 minutes!

ps... I'm always up for a Starbucks run anytime you are in need of a fix!

Evangeline said...

My mother stayed at home and always complained about it!! now i am old enough to make a decision, and i am sooooo determined not to become a stay home mom, just so i won't find it hard one the kids leave....:) I love your blog by the way!!!! can I add a link?

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