“There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy….” ~The Beatles Lennon/McCartney
I have been out of work for four long years. It didn’t start out that way, however. I was supposed to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree, find an amazing career and quit my job as a student loan customer call center representative; a job that I had managed to hold down for 11 years since I started at the ripe age of twenty.
Well….I got the degree.
It actually makes me anxious and uncomfortable when someone asks what I do for a living; I stutter and close my eyes and force the words out, “stay at home mom”. Okay, so I don’t necessarily close my eyes, but I sure wish I could and not have to answer that question. For the longest time I said I was a student, but then that got old, and I knew I had to let go of that crutch and move on.
To be honest, my children are 10 and 16, and because they attend school, I’ve never really considered myself to be a “stay at home mom” and some may agree with me. In fact, I remember just last week, I was asked, “…And what do you with your life” Yes. Just like that. And I got flustered. I got butterflies. I stumbled over the words; why do people have to be defined based on what they are doing in life? Okay, so I know that it’s usually just a piece to a conversation puzzle, but I just find it irrelevant.
“I’m a stay at home mom”. Ugh. Even when the words stumbled off my tongue, I wanted them to roll into the ice water I was holding and freeze. But it happened. It was too late. I said it. However, I wasn’t prepared for what she was going to say next, “..And how old are your kids?” Okay, so it could be a reasonable follow up question to get me to open up and share; engage in a conversation, but her eyes weren’t very warm or inviting. No. They were judgmental, and took on a life of their own. I felt like she wanted to know how old my kids are so she could secretly determine if I met the conditions to be a stay at home mom. Sure enough, after I provided the ages to my children, she pierced her words with judgment a little harder, and said, “oh well, I guess they are hard to manage at that age…” Alrighty then. I had to laugh. I later made a mental note to just tell people that I am…oh never mind….
I know that not everyone has the luxury of staying at home, raising their children and taking care of the house, but when I am home, seeing the love my my kids have for me is validation enough. Also, I am thankful that I have been given the chance to be able to stay home with my kids for the past few years, simply because it has provided me with an insight to my children’s lives like I’ve never had before.
Currently, I’m slowly emerging into a new journey, a new path; trying to spread my wings and help people lose weight, get in shape and eat healthy. I can’t help but sense the absence that my kids, especially my ten year old son, feel when I cannot just watch television on the couch, or listen to every single one of his funny stories, or latest creation; ALL OF THE TIME. I also miss the quiet, long conversations my daughter and I used to have out of the blue, (you know when we’re not yelling at each other). It saddens me at times, but I always go to bed and remind myself that I need to grab it back somehow, make time for them, and never let go of quality moments, no matter how old they get, or how busy life gets. I know I’m not far away, but all of the undivided attention that I was once able to provide to my children is slowly shifting. However, with all that is going on, I am also beginning to appreciate my role as a ‘stay at home mom’ a lot more, and am also starting to realize that, that role, whether the kids are in school or not, should not be devalued at any cost.
When my son and I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Celebrity Apprentice (he loves that show), he proudly says,
“Mommy, you inspire me”
It’s moments like that. Words like that. They fill my heart with solace; taking any doubt, harsh words, or judgments that anyone may have cast upon me, away.
My response? “Well, you inspire me too!” and he says, “No, really mom, you inspire me,” and proceeded with some of the reasons why, making me realize how much he has been paying attention to me; how much time we have been spending together, and how much of an impact I’ve had on his life by being at home these past four years.
I did leave him speechless and confused a bit when I responded, “Well, you inspire me to inspire you.” He didn’t know how to handle that one!
While my daughter may not be so vocal, I know she is supportive and understands, simply because of her actions. Not all the time, but she’s a teenager! And believe me; she sure does act every bit the part!
My family is like an old house; filled with memories, open to new ones, shakes and rattles here and there, but can usually weather just about anything. I always try to remind myself that that clouds are always temporary, a broken window can always be fixed, and a door can always be opened or closed. Once the foundation is solid, nothing can tear it down.
With them, I am provided with experiences, moments, the courage to persevere, the desire to live with passion, and most of all unconditional love.