Something has shifted inside of me the last few weeks. My anxious voice is not as loud. I pause a lot more. I soak up little moments like never before. My smile has enhanced, even when no one is looking.
And I realize- I’m overcome with gratitude. I am so grateful for my life TODAY! I’m grateful for…
…every morning I open my eyes (sans hangover)
…feeling settled in our home, our city, our state (a feeling that hasn’t been present since…2007)
…my family, my friends- both near and far!
…my health, my family’s health
…my sobriety and new way of thinking
…the food in my belly and clothes on my back
…my home church
But what I’ve realized even more is the gratitude that has come over me mostly stems from the opportunity to become a (belated) stay-at-home mom.
If you would’ve asked me six years ago if I wanted to stay home with the three kids I was about to crank out in a matter of 3ish years, I would have laughed uncontrollably! Never in my wildest dreams did staying home sound fulfilling.
What I did want was to work with dramatic teens as a school counselor. And somehow I was able to make that happen all while knocked up and/or nurturing our offspring.
But late last year as I began the Kindergarten process for our daughter, my eyes opened and saw life differently. I started to question my strong desire to be a working mom and whether I had given my daughter enough of me. Did I spend enough time with her? Did I snuggle with her enough? What is she going to cherish about her early years? Will she have more daycare memories than mommy memories? Did I best prepare her for the school years?
In addition, my mom guilt and stress were reaching an all-time high. If I was feeling this crazy about simply dropping three kids off at daycare, going to work, and picking them up- how might I feel when all three were in school? Perhaps at different schools? And then in different activities? How would I handle it all in single-mom-mode for unbeknown days-on-end throughout the months, years? Would I be able to handle it all without having a mental breakdown?
Obviously, at the time, I wasn’t handling my motherhood-induced anxiety to the best of my ability. *NEWSFLASH* DRINKING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF WINE DOES NOTHING TO SOLVE MOM GUILT AND STRESS! So, again, my eyes, and soon heart, started to open to a new idea.
What if I hit the pause button on work and stayed home for awhile?
The idea both excited me (which was beyond weird) and scared the living poo out of me! I was excited at the thought of less stress and more quality time with my kids. I was scared of not bringing about any sort of income. I was excited to be more involved with our home-life– chores, appointments, etc. I was scared I’d tire from the Groundhog Day feeling of mom-life.
But ya know what? Here I am, almost four months into this new gig, and I LOVE IT!!! However, I didn’t realize I loved it so much until just the other week.
My daughter had an eye doctor appointment, so I happily volunteered to take her while my husband took on the boys. Her eye appointments can last upwards of 1.5-2 hours, depending on whether or not she has to deal with dilation. This particular appointment, she got dilated. And it didn’t phase me.
Then, after she was good to go and got her mega-shade sunglasses, we headed to her school for a Jog-a-thon fundraiser. We were early, so she had to check-in to class first while I chatted with some other parents. Soon the kids were released from class, and the look I saw on her face as she waved to me from a distance was PRICELESS! She was the definition of HAPPY! And my heart just melted.
She did the first lap solo, and then I jumped in with her. She wanted to walk with a couple of her friends, but she also wanted to hold my hand- like death-grip style. Again, she was SO HAPPY! When kids asked, “Kylie, is that your mom?” She was ecstatic to answer, “Yeah! This is MY mom!” And oh, my heart, people! My heart! I was HAPPY!
There was no pressure! No anxiety. No checking my watch to see when I’d have to return to work. No guilt. Just precious, precious time with my daughter. And I felt GRATEFUL!
There have been several other little moments that make me want to burst with joy like…
…doing artwork with all three kids mid-afternoon
…holding my middle son’s hand as I peacefully walk him into his preschool
…enjoying afternoon snuggles (and naps!) with our boys
…spending quality time with our youngest, even if it entails cleaning toilets together
…running errands with only ONE kid because we have time to do so in the morning hours (when in single-mom-mode)
…running errands SOLO at ANY TIME (when my husband is home)
..cooking more for my family (because I’m not so dead tired)
…staying up past 8 o’clock with my husband (because I’m not so dead tired)
…doing more activities for myself like coffee dates, Bible study, etc. (again, because I’m not so dead tired)
…being available at ANY MOMENT for all three of the kids’ needs, wants and desires
There really is no other word than GRATITUDE for this new attitude that I have towards my present life. I know not every mom gets to experience these years at-home, and I’ve heard over-and-over, “You won’t regret it!”
Well, folks! I think it’s safe to say; I do not regret this decision one bit! And I’m 100% grateful, thankful, and content with this precious time in my life!