Changes

In just over a month I will begin my internship as a Marriage and Family Therapist.  My heart leaps with excitement every time I think of it.  I’ve waited so long for this and worked very hard to get here.  At the same time my heart sinks a bit when I consider what I’m going to be missing while I’m working.

When I was pregnant with my oldest child I felt strongly that I should stay home with him (and any other children I might have) until he reached school age.  Of course, then I didn’t know I’d be home schooling.  I knew that losing even my small income would put a strain on our finances but I was certain that somehow it would work out.  And it did, but not right away.

I was so determined that I would be a stay at home mom that I did not look for child care in my last months of pregnancy or during the first month of my 6 week maternity leave.  Finally, I was forced to realize that I would have to go back to work and I tearfully began to call day care centers.  I found a great one but it made no difference in how wrong it felt to me.  Ah, but the desire of my heart remained and a few weeks into my return from maternity leave I proposed to my boss that I be allowed to work from home.  I expected him to say no but he agreed that the arrangement would be workable.  And for two years it absolutely was.  How blessed I was to be able to care for my child *and* contribute to our income.  This lasted until there was a change in management locally and the new manager did not appreciate the benefits of my telecommuting.  I was given the choice of returning to the office or, well, there was really no other choice.  Having just worked through a second maternity leave only taking off the two days I spent in the hospital I was pretty upset.  I made the decision to quit and agreed to train someone to take my place.  It was scary to leave that income behind, especially consider we had just purchased our first home, but I looked forward to being able to focus completely on my children and not be concerned with work.

Naturally, I filled in my free time with a job as a preschool teacher and went back to work on my BS later that year.  And since then I’ve always done something to contribute to our income whether it was working at my sons’ preschool, writing, doing a short stint as a hotel receptionist and I’ve been in school full time for years.  But, unless they were in preschool, it’s always been me or my husband with the children.  And I’ve been fortunate.  I never forget how blessed I am in this regard.

But, now I’m at a stage in my education and career where I must be away from home.  Over 20 hours per week (nearly half of them commute time!) I’ll be away from my babies.  And they aren’t babies anymore, but it’s still hard.  It’s such a transistion.  An exciting and yet sad transistion.  They will be fine without me, of course.  They don’t nurse or need me to fall asleep.  They can fix their own snacks and get their own water.  But I’ll miss them.  And eventually my work hours will increase.  While my husband can be here in my absence for now, eventually we’ll need a nanny to fill in during the time we’re both at work.

While some days as a stay at home mom were long and monotonous I will never forget how blessed I was to get to be with my children from waking to sleeping for these 9 years.  I wish it was possible for all mothers who desire this lifestyle to have it.

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