Monday, October 30, 2006

Names have been changed to protect....

I woke up the other day in a life that I never dreamed I would own. Has this ever happened to you?

I mean most of my life, I thought, was going to go a certain way. I was going to excell in High School. Rock right on through college and then go on to many, many prestigious letters following my Ph.D and M.D., or D.V.M. The last ones I ever thought I would be happy to have are S.A.H.M. (Stay At Home Mom).

I was raised by the usual overachiever parents...MSW and PhD, and in our house it was just assumed that each of us would go on to higher education and achieve/produce, and achieve/produce some more. It was also assumed that eventually each of us would marry and have kids who would attend daycare, thus giving us, the parents, ample time to achieve/produce more and more. (Because what does America need more than many, many people all intent on achieving and producing?) I was hot on the trail of all of that achieving and producing and then a funny thing happened.... a small, helpless, beautiful baby boy came from my body and entered the "square box" life that my husband and I were living.

I have to say that this took me by surprise.... not the "how?", but the feelings and the instinctual urge to place this little fellow's needs above my own. Now, let's get something straight, I am an older sister to 3. I have taken care of children since before I could think of saying "they're not MY responsiblity", but this "having one of my own" took me by suprise. I extended my maternity leave until he was 4 months old and leaving him at daycare that first day was a pain unlike any I had ever experienced. After a few weeks the pain dulled to a steady ache, but it wasn't until I almost had a nervous breakdown that I realized that my life was not as it was supposed to be.

I think that my therapist said to me,
"What if you just quit your job?"

"Whoa, lady, are you high?" was all that I could think.

I think what I actually came back with was something like,
"I could never do that, we couldn't afford it."

And not missing a beat she said,
"Can you afford to be angry at your self, and your husband, and your baby?"

This lady really knew how to hit below the belt, she was just one cruel, cruel nasty woman.
Why would she dangle the one thing that I wanted in front of me....the one thing that I didn't think that I could ever have.

I left her office that day thinking this was one hour I wasn't ever going to get back.

Looking back on it now (I have since had another baby so the finer details are blurry) she saved my life, saved my marriage and probably saved my kids a few years of therapy down the road.

I think that I was caught on a path to something....making money, having a house, a nice car, achieving, producing, really living the heck out of the "American Dream". I was really unhappy because I wasn't getting to do what I loved doing, being a mom. I was really confused because it never was an option for me growing up, I was raised to want "more" and a career in "motherhood" doesn't pay the rent. Yet, while I was out achieving and producing, someone else was seeing my son every morning growing and laughing. What price can you put on that?

So, I got out.

I guess I really owe that crusty therapist a box of chocolates or something....thanks to her for helping kick me out of my extremely uncomfortable "comfort zone".

Now, I need to work on knowing that staying at home is the right thing for me and my family, independent of American societal "norms". I need to stop justifying my S.A.H.M. degree to people who look at me weird (maybe step 1. is not calling it a degree....) I am producing the next generation and that is a hard achievment to beat.


emilyruth said...

tears falling...
you are so great
& brave...
it's so hard to do something you never even thought of doing
but then someone crusty & old is sent right to you...
isn't that always the way?
lucky lucky kids you have
lucky & blessed:)

you are definatly rocking this motherhood thing
& i think the letters you shoulkd add to your name are:

love you!

Yaz and Rob said...

AMEN Sista' I am soooo with ya. Is it the best decsion you ever made or what. Constant mess and lost patience aside, it really is the best when they are small. But then again I am a SAHM as well!


Thank is diffucult at times to be the woman who does not want it all. I do not have kids yet...but I do have the important money making job that I can imagine will be hard to give up...but when I think of one day handing over my little ones to someone else I tear up.
As a nanny I saw the effects of kids who spend more time with another I can remember distinclty leaving the kids with their mom and seeing them crying at the door because they wanted me. At that moment I told myself I would never let that happen to my kids. I never wanted to have my daughter call someone else she stomached that I will never know.

So dear SAHM's everywhere you truly are doing the right thing and you are learning and producing more important things than any brain surgeon or banker ever will.

Yaz and Rob said...

I am jonesing (sp?)for another post! Just checking in.

rach said...

the whole world should read this

(these are the words i would write on the back of your book if you ever wrote one and if i was ever quealified to write on the back of a book!)