Sunday, March 8, 2015

You're a Stay at Home Parent?....Oh how lucky!

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to stay at home and be a mom and wife to a large family.  I had other dreams as well, to be an Actress, Fashion Designer, Corporate Diva, Doctor, Forensic Scientist, you name it.  Unfortunately, I lacked the motivation and drive to follow through back then, so I ended up going to College to study International Business and Marketing. It seemed like the logical choice since I am bilingual in English and German.  I did ok, in the business world.  Fast forward several years and I came to a cross roads after being newly married in my 30's and being pregnant with my second child.  My husband and I discussed it, and we thought it would be best for all for me to stay home with the kids....he has a son and so did I, and we were awaiting the birth of our little girl. 
As long as I can remember, I have wanted to stay at home and be a mom and wife to a large family. I had other dreams as well,  to be an Actress, Fashion Designer, Corporate Diva, Doctor, Forensic Scientist, you name it. Unfortunately, I lacked the motivation and drive to follow through back then, so I ended up going to College to study International Business and Marketing. It seemed like the logical choice since I am bilingual in English and German. I did ok, in the business world. Fast forward several years and I came to a cross roads after being newly married in my 30's and being pregnant with my second child.  My husband and I discussed it, and we thought it would be best for all for me to stay home with the kids....he has a son and so did I, and we were awaiting the birth of our little girl.

Like I said, I have always said I wanted to do this.  My last day of work was a week before my little girl was born. It was an interesting transition.  Granted, dealing with a newborn, a 7 year old and 5 year old wasn't easy but at first it did feel liberating not to have to go back to work!  I could do things at my own pace (which those who know me is slow unless I actually have a deadline).  I enjoyed making dinner, taking care of us, and spending time with the kids. I missed that with my oldest son, I went back to work when he was an infant. The biggest adjustment at first was the lack of income from me. I was used to making my own money, and now there were things that I would have to forego on because we were a one income household.  After 3 years, we added another son, so now our family consists of 6 people.

Now, let us jump a few more years ahead to the present. I have not been employed for 6 years. Our household consists of myself, my husband, 13 year old son, 12 year old step son, 6 year old daughter, and 3 year old son.  On most days, I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. While my husband is the sole "bread" winner, and I the sole individual that is responsible for our household. I wrote an earlier article on time management, because I literally manage time for 6 people!  When I was a part of the workforce, I had a set amount of time to accomplish my tasks, I dealt with adults, albeit not always reasonable or rational.  After 8 hours, my work day ended and I could head home. My weekends were free. Now, as a parent, my job didn't end, I still had to handle dinner, and take care of things, but the kiddo was gone at daycare all day, so there was no extra mess that was made, it was left the way it was earlier that morning.

Now, since I am the stay at home parent, I am responsible for everything and that is 24/7.  I don't "work" for a living, so anything outside of providing income has fallen on my shoulders. If you have little ones at home, there is no daycare. So they get into whatever they can, when you are trying to accomplish another task. I don't get a break unless I literally take one, and it's hard to get out of "mommy and wife" mode in order to focus on me time. I have to make time out for me in advance and there is always a chance that there is a sick kid, or busy husband that will change my plans. Truth is, it's not glamorous, I don't sit around eating bon bons, playing on my phone all day long and watching tv.  I run around daily, between the doctor appointments, the grocery shopping, the errands for all, and making sure I am back in time for the school bus, there isn't whole lot of time left over for frivolousness! My house is a mess the majority of the time, I feel overwhelmed most days, and sometimes I feel as if everything and everyone is out of control.

The lucky parts, yes, there are some. I get to spend the most time as I can with my kids as they are growing up. I have  flexibility in my schedule to go to school events and sporting events. I don't miss special moments in their lives.  I know I am blessed for all of these things. I can capture all these moments to memory!   I just wish the perception of these blessings did not include that I do not work or that I have no sacrifices.  It's frustrating that some see it as a day at the beach and that it is not a job to stay at home and be a full time parent.  On the flip side, working parents make sacrifices too and no, if a parent works full time, parenting still continues when they get off work. I have done both, I have been a working parent and I have been a stay at home parent.  Both have their positives and negatives.  I can honestly say it's a draw......so please if I tell you I stay at home, please don't make it out like I am lucky, lazy, or spoiled.

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