Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Staying At Home

#1.  Yes.  Two posts in one day.  I'm sorry!  All I can say is, I guess I have some drivel to say, and you are totally welcome not to read if its too much.  I will never be offended.

#2.  I'm not sure why, but it seems like there are fewer comments than usual.  Although I got one today that was typed all in Russian, and it had a link in it, and it was about sex.  Fortunately I read Russian.  Or unfortunately, as it turns out, when it comes to spam.
I'm wondering if this is indicative of the obsoleteness of blogging.  *Everyone* facebooks now, which is also reportedly obsolete.  What is current?  Is it Twitter?  Some other thing I am hopeless at?  Phbbbbt.

#3. I have a thing for lemon in desserts.  Especially lemon merengue pie.  My mom made it on the weekend while we were there and OMG people, pie needs to be another food group.

#4. I hate breast yeast infections.  I've got sore boobs and two purple faced babies.

Its interesting, I've been trying to articulate in my mind exactly how I feel about this stay at home mom thing.  I've articulated it pretty clearly here, but I keep thinking about it, so.  It's like, I actually like having a job.  I like working.  I like balancing working and parenting, it's pretty rewarding to do both and to feel like B and I share the roles.  Childcare roles.  Breadwinning roles.  It's good.  But I gave it up because I couldn't balance it anymore.  There are other factors.  I don't love my job the way I used to, which I expected because most paramedics burn out within ten years [I will hit ten years this November].  I have a sensitive, artistic type soul, and the stuff I see at work really affects me.  I also have never made much money at this job, so it isn't really financially worth it for me to work if I'm only going once a week or less.  Once a week is too often for me to maintain balance, but too infrequent for me to contribute financially in any meaningful way.  Also anything less than twice a week and its hard to maintain paramedic skills to the level I prefer to maintain.
So it is time to move on, and it makes the most sense to move on home.  I like to work, but having four kids was a choice that meant I had to choose to stay home.  Some moms with four can work!  This isn't a universal creed, and I'm grateful that I have a partner who works [very hard] and supports us so that I even have this choice to make, but its what makes the most sense right now.

On the one hand, obviously I have ambiguous feelings about this.  I feel like a truant feminist.  I KNOW, I KNOW, feminism means the right to choose to stay home OR NOT TO, but it feels different when it is me.  I had some small pride wrapped up in being a working mom feminist.  I mean, I know I'm a stay at home feminist, but I am making it remarkably easy for other people to put me in a box.  I cook, I clean, I have four kids, I drive a van.  And now I don't work.  I work damn hard, but I don't work.  Even my hair sticks me in a box.  Maybe I need to pull a Rachel and get dreads.  Something, anything, that says hippie artistic type who makes her own choices instead of mennonite mom.  I gotta not care.  Most days I actually don't, but then some moments it dawns on me: I crochet things.
This article on PhD in parenting actually addresses this whole idea pretty articulately.  Pretty thoroughly. Its worth a read.

On the other hand, I am so relieved not to have to leave Amarys and go back to work when she is one.  I only really have one more year at home with Riley before he starts the gradual journey into school, so it is nice to think about being here for it, not missing any days.  It is definitely a relief to drop work off my plate, that large juggling act that I like, that I get a rush out of, the mayhem I run towards [kind of like being a paramedic, really: running towards chaos], part of what I like about having four kids...It is nice to drop one item.  Simplify life.

On the other other hand, I stress about how we will make it, financially.  Right now I'm still on maternity leave so I'm making some income, and with the new house money is tight.  Quite.  It's house poverty, so I can't elicit much sympathy because there is so much choice involved, but it still is pretty squeezy in the bank account as it is, so how will we do it with even less next year?  I'm not sure the crochet and the doula-ing will really make much.
Who knows where we will be next year anyways?  Another city, another province, another country.  We like the idea of our kids having an unconventional childhood.  Running around in the woods, or living on a farm, or moving overseas.... We are wide open, and happy to see our kids grow up outside the box.

I might look like I fit inside the box, but we all know I don't....


melissa said...

I read you often, but seldom comment. No explanation for that, I guess. I opened your post (from my reader) yesterday to tell you how much I love your descriptions of your children and never did it.

Anyway, I completely relate to the love of having multiple balls in the air, and the great feeling that comes with keeping them all up. It's a wonderful thing to be able to choose staying home, but every once in awhile, the grass on the other side catches your eye and looks mighty green, too. I know this choice is best for us, too, but I miss the feeling of accomplishment that comes from managing several things at once.

literal mama said...

I think making the decision to stay at home is a wise decision. It is saying that your family deserves this temporary sacrifice of you, 100% of you. However, I get the pull. The pull of profession, work, contribution, other self. I think you can find that balance by participating in other things. Take a course (distance, night, etc), sign up for programs, write, doula, paint. Carve out time or days that are yours. Days when you leave home or disappear into another space to work. Days that replenish the soul and allow you to continue to find balance. You don't have to return to a traditional work environment to find that place. You just have to make the decision to put a priority on that time. Treat it like a job. Keep that part of you going for when it is time for you to work outside the home again.

literal mama said...

I will never regret this extra time that I have taken with my babies. I will never look back and think that I should have returned to work earlier. I will always be grateful that I was home with them when they were little. I was their primary influence. I shaped them. I solidified my role as mom. We are fully attached and when they leave me and are cared for by others, I have faith that they know who they are and are strong in their personalities.

Rachel Clear @ Clearly Speaking said...

I know how you feel. I do. I think you will look back on this time as very blessed, no matter how "squeezy" the bank account. :) (I've never heard that phrase, but I like it.)

As for the hair... haha! That makes me smile. If you get dreads, your mom will FOR SURE have to follow suit. :)

Rob-o-SE-yo said...

maybe if you make sure there are paint-stains on all your clothes and on your hands, at all times, people will know you're a hippy artist-mom.

Blogging isn't obselete. Twitter is shallow. This comment is already over 140 characters. How can you connect with someone that way?

I LOVE lemon meringue pie, too.