Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Chapter 2; Pg.1 - The Mommy File
August 3 of this year marked the fifth anniversary of my mommyhood. We celebrated, as most people do, with a party in honor of my daughter's birthday, as opposed to a day of margaritas and manicures celebrating the fifty pounds I gained, stretch marks on my thighs, 14 hours of labor culminating in a grand finale of pushing a little bundle of squished up mush, ten fingers, ten toes, black hair on a little round head topping what I'm sure were the biggest shoulders ever out of someplace that shoulders should never be pushed out of.
Because I believe that motherhood should be a lifelong celebration, I not only carry with me joy, love, overwhelming pride, and wallet size photos, but also 7 post baby pounds that I vow to never loose that remind me of how precious my children are to me. See how I made that about my maternal calling and not my undying love for Ben and Jerry's. Feel free to go ahead and use that for whatever you need.
Anyway, for the past five years, my life has been described by two words that are probably familiar to many of you; working mom. For those of you who don't know, a string of health issues led me to resign last week, making this the first time I haven't worked outside the home since I was 16. In addition to our five year old we also have a 16 month old, so staying at home with them is definitely a full time job. My daughter starts kindergarten this year and I have already volunteered for several committees, which means I am already laying out plans to make the elementary yearbook will be better than most high school books with an accompanying website, blog, and flash video.
Monday was my first full time mom day. Some of you may know that I actually haven't been back at work since April when my "routine surgery" went awry. However, there was something different about being off on leave and actually not having a job to go back to. If I was going to be a full time mom then I was going to rock at it. It was somehow okay for me to just sort of scrape by as a mom when I was working 50 hours a week, but if this was my only gig then I better knock it out of the park.
Even after a couple pain killers and an Ambien sleep would not come Sunday night. Maybe it was the seven day migraine I was battling or the relentless abdominal. Or maybe it was the fact that I had just resigned from my job of eight years, wasn't sure if I could qualify for disability, and didn't know when we could schedule the surgery that supposedly could fix the stuff first one screwed up. Either way, my insomnia left me plenty of time to plan my first day in my new career as a full time wife, mom and writer.
First on the list was to get up with the kids and make their favorite breakfast - pancakes and scrambled eggs. Then turn on the tunes and spend a little time cleaning up the wreckage left over from the swimming party we hosted the night before.
However, when the alarm went off at 6 a.m. my pain told me that this day might not be all that I had hoped for. No worries. The kids weren't up yet and I had time to take some pain medicine before the pitter patter of little feet was outside my door demanding food. By 7:15 my daughter's face was 6 inches from mine asking me if it was time to get up yet. After my attempts to convince her it wasn't failed (darn the sunrise), she was ready for breakfast.
Although the pain meds had kicked in and so had the drowsiness that the bottle warns you of. So, when my daughter asked me if she could have a Pop Tart for breakfast, I said sure. In fact, I didn't even get out of bed to get it for her. Dreams of homemade (or even microwaved) pancakes were quickly replaced by Pop Tarts in front of the TV.
Okay - regroup.
I told myself that breakfast aside, I could still get the house cleaned, load the dishwasher, put the laundry away, write a blog post, go to the grocery store, and make dinner. I had illusions of making that play dough out of flour and baking soda (or salt, or something) that my grandma used to make for us when we were kids, but those dissolved somewhere during the hour (or two) that the Disney Channel was raising my children for me.
I quickly learned that working at home is a lot like working the office. I had a "To Do"List" that seemed to get longer instead of shorter even though I was busy all day long. On the above list, I managed to find the living room floor, but not vacuum it, load and run the dishwasher but not unload it, and put one load of laundry in the washer, but on the dryer. If you note the date, the blog post is a week late, and the clean laundry has been in a pile on the floor for six days. I did make dinner, but instead of a pecan crusted salmon with steamed broccoli and cornbread I whipped up a deluxe banquet of Manwhich and Cheetos.
Added to the To Do list were several games of The Littlest Pet Shop Game (which, by the way is the most confusing game ever), dancing, dress up, races between of the Batmobile and Barbie car.
I was in bed by 8:30.
As exhausted as I was, I still didn't sleep well. My mind was swimming with questions and realizations from this first page of the new chapter of my life. Was I ready to give up a full time career as a successful PR professional to spend my days changing diapers and playing The Littlest Pet Shop Game (even if I did get to be the ferret)? Was I a bad mother to even have these feelings? The day, although exhausting, had made me realize how wonderful it was to spend time with my children without the pressure of work hanging over my head. It was literally the first time I had ever been able to enjoy being with my kids without worrying about a deadline, a board meeting, a looming crisis, or an upcoming event. I wrote a speech the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital from crying out loud.
As I lay there waiting for the Ambien to kick in I thought about my last five years as a working mom and aboth this new chapter in my life. I thought about the things I missed along the way the last five years while I was doing my corporate To Do list. I thought about the things I would miss while doing my mommy To Do list. I made a decision right there in my watermelon pj's not to regret any of my choices, in past or present chapters. Those choices made me who I am, and more importantly, they made my kids who they are and after spending a day with them I confirmed what I had guessed all along; Our kids are pretty cool people.
So whether you are a mom working outside the home or a mom working at home please share your tips, tricks and ideas because, let's face it, some days are Pop Tart days for all of us.
Photo credits: You guessed it, those are my beautiful, fun, smart, and incredibly talented kiddos.