More Just Doing Nothing

The decision to be a "stay at home" mom was one that initially just happened to me rather than one that was contemplated, pros and cons considered, discussions had, plans made. It didn't come from a deep previously-held belief that I absolutely had to stay home. I had fully intended to return to my job at that six week mark (a mere 42 days!) and can look back at the assurances I gave to my skeptical looking employer that I would indeed be back and know that I thought I was telling the truth. Even when, at four weeks, I was able to determine that there was no way I could go off and leave my teeny wisp of an infant in just a matter of days so I could sell more software, I still thought another couple of months would make all the difference.

Looking back at how naive I was to my own feelings is like reviewing those first attempts at driving a car. I thought I looked fairly competent and even felt confident in my abilities. But in reality, it's a miracle I made it through those first couple of years. I was fooling myself better than I was fooling everyone else. My boss knew I was done. He humored me, allowed me to maintain the act, but he knew that I wouldn't be hocking any more mortgage reports for him. Ever.

Twice in the last week, two separate people have told me they work because they always knew that they "couldn't just do Nothing". Those exact words - both of them - independent of each other. It may be foolishly optimistic of me, but I don't believe they meant that statement to be highly offensive to the likes of me, one of those "do Nothing"-ers. Or did they realize it? Maybe they caught themselves after it had already slipped out, but it was too late. Or maybe they didn't care.

I've never taken part in the Mommy-wars. "To each his own" has truly been my mantra when it came to work vs. stay home. Moms work for a whole variety of reasons and who am I to judge them? There was a time when it was required that I go back to work for a period of 8 months and the whole time I spent feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed and cranky as hell. Knowing my limitations, I got out of there as soon as the getting was good and before I completely lost my will to live. That's me. It doesn't have to be you and that's cool with me.

Very soon after leaving that job I was expecting Little A and I started to feel deeply that I was meant to be a stay at home mom. My "calling" - at least for the next 18 years or so. Not because I was better at it than the next person or because I thought it would be so much easier, but just because it felt right to me.

You will not get any complaints out of me for my current situation. Except maybe the typical ones about the kids driving me crazy or how I just can't seem to get a handle on dinner, laundry, lessons, school, etc...

Funny how a few thoughtless words can be so thought-provoking. I know I've got it great. The freedom and flexibility to choose whether to work or not. That may change six months from now, so I appreciate it while I've got it. The time to do things for myself and still make sure my family is getting what they need. Time to participate in meaningful ways in the community, volunteering in various capacities. Maintaining my sanity.

These are privileges that I will never take for granted while I'm hanging out here Doing Nothing.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

What was it Debra Winger said--Anyone who says the can do it all (work and raise children) is either kidding themselves or a really bad parent. Something like that. The working world will always be there; your kids are only kids once, no do-overs.