Saturday, July 16, 2011

A thick, hearty life.

I could never be a full-time stay-at-home mom. EVER. When I was young, my mom and dad worked a lot and we were in daycare and after-school care a lot, and in my late teens and early-20s I always said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom so that my kids wouldn't have to go to extended day after school. Well, turns out I ended up just fine and my parents have had careers, not just jobs, and much thanks to their careers, I am now able to have one of my own. I know how to manage time, I know the value of a Friday night in after long week, and I sure as hell know the value of a dollar.

Before all the stay-at-home moms out there bite my head off, I appreciate you very much. I could never do what you are doing- not because I am better or smarter or more motivated or anything like that whatsoever. I couldn't do it because I don't think that's where my happiness lies. And maybe your happiness doesn't lie in the workplace, or maybe you were happy in the workplace, but you are happiER at home with your kids or in PTA meetings or cleaning or doing whatever it is that stay-at-home moms do that I am not privy to. You do something I could not do, and I admire that.

For my life, I have to say this: Mom (specifically), thank you for taking care of your career and your kids, even if that meant a little less time with them (us). I'm over my selfish "you loved your job more than me!" thing. I know that's not true. You loved us so much that you sacrificed time with us to be able to offer us the best of the best. The best school, the best soccer teams, the best cleats... and you made the time you did have with us good. Even if that meant we were cleaning rooms in between soccer games on Saturdays rather than laying on the beach. We did find time to lay on the beach, too, though.

Anyway, I say all of this because after my first week of full-time work, I have never felt better! I have had jobs in the past where I absolutely dreaded going-- even cried in the car on the way there-- but I have found something I am really proud to do and something that challenges me and keeps me on my toes. My mom must have felt that way too, and now that I know how it feels, I would never have wanted to take that away from her. To be able to be a good mother and make a difference in the world (she really did in her field) is something I would love to have the opportunity to do. I don't think that without her example and guidance, I would know passion for work like I do now. I don't work to show up, I don't want a job just to pay the bills, and I'm not counting down the days til my retirement (thank God- that's a really long way away).

I really encourage anyone reading this to find something you are proud to do; something that challenges you-- something you look forward to doing each day. Find something you look back on fondly at the end of the week. Find something that doesn't make you curse Monday morning. Really, you aren't helping anyone if your attitude toward you work is poor. Maybe you think, "Well, someone needs to do this work, might as well be me," but if you don't enjoy it at all and you don't put your all into it, that someone would probably do a better job than you are. Hate to say it, but it's true.

Make something of your life.

Would you rather drink a soup with a water base and no spices, but maybe some noodles and freeze-dried veggies- something that could sustain you but not satisfy you, or a stew with delicious meat, fresh vegetables, exotic spices, and a thick, creamy broth- something that makes you feel full and something you want to share with others? That's the way I look at my life. I want something that can sustain me, fulfill me, and something I want to share with others. If that something is your children and you get all of that from being a stay-at-home mom, then do it! If that something is a full-time job, then do it! Be sure to keep tabs on your happiness! It's important. Don't save your "happy days" for the short time you will get to enjoy once you retire (assuming you will be able to), or for when your kids can take care of themselves. Do what you need to do to find some happiness every day. I mean that happiness where you are happy in the moment, smiling on the inside (on the outside counts too), and nothing in particular is happening. The happy-to-exist thing. Find that.

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