I have been a high school English teacher for five years. For the past two years, I have also been a mother. I'm not gonna lie: it's been tough. I know there are so many women that successfully work full-time outside of the home and are also amazing mothers to their children and incredible homemakers, but honestly I have struggled with being able to do it all. At one point I had to accept that I would always be lacking in one area of my life (i.e.: cooking, cleaning) due to the demands and responsibilities of the other areas (i.e.: teaching, mothering, surviving). It hasn't been ideal, but it's been a necessity in order to support my family.
In two weeks, though, I will officially be a stay-at-home mom (er, rather, a work-from-home mom - online teaching is a wonderful thing!). With Baby #2 coming in August, my husband and I knew that it was time. It was a very bittersweet decision, but I feel very blessed that this will finally be a reality for me.
I've gotten a small glimpse of what "staying at home" will be like this past week as I've had to miss work to be home with a "sick" little boy (apparently it's bad parenting to send your child to day care with a rash). Up till now, Saturdays have been my day to spend with just Jackson and I. Unfortunately, I am usually so exhausted from the work week and also overwhelmed by all of the house things that need to be accomplished (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing - everything neglected Monday-Friday), that I am not a very fun mommy on the weekends.
The two whole weekdays that I have spent with Jackson this past week, though, have been the best. We made Belgian waffles for breakfast one morning. We played with blocks and cars. We spent an afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We played with pots and pans, pouring water from one to the other. We went to the park. We played with bubbles... inside the house! Throughout these two days of just the two of us, I've been reflecting on the past two years of not being able to stay home and asking myself the question: What have I missed?
I went back to work when Jackson was 7 weeks old, and during the school year he has been cared for by my husband, Grandma and day care. I know I have been there for the big things: first crawl, first tooth, first walk, first talk. But what about the little things? What have I missed out on by not being home with my baby boy?
I've missed giggles and smiles. I've missed getting him up in the mornings. I've missed being able to wipe away tears. I've missed establishing a daily routine. I've missed learning opportunities. I've missed hugs and kisses. I've missed noticing personality traits. I've missed doctor visits. I've missed feeding him. I've missed trips to the library and the park and the pool and the zoo. I've missed making friends for both of us.
Jackson knows his mommy loves him, and I know that I am his favorite (sorry, daddy!), but part of me will always be sad that I missed so many of the little joys of his first couple of years.
The other part of me is just so grateful and happy and excited (and a little nervous) to be staying home with not only one baby boy, but TWO baby boys come August. I foresee many more morning waffles and trips to the park in my future... and messes to pick up, and diapers to change, and dishes to clean, and laundry to wash, and mouths to feed, as well as cheeks to kiss, and hands to hold, and little bodies to cuddle. I can't wait!