It also means I've managed to find a way to stay busy since quitting my job as a magazine writer and editor in late-2010. Not that being a full-time mom isn't work enough. But some days, I can't help but wonder, is it enough?
Here's the thing. All my life, I've wanted to be a mommy. I was the little girl who played with baby dolls, who played the mom in "house," who took care of the younger girls at camp. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew I wanted to have children. I saved my dolls and favorite outfits for the daughter I would some day have (ha!). I didn't know when I would have kids, but I knew I would have them. And then I got pregnant, and I was ready to quit my job then and there. But I stayed with it for a while, because even then a little niggling bit of doubt began to creep in. What if being a mom full time wasn't as fulfilling as I imagined it would be? What if the writer thing never panned out? Did I want my resume to shrivel up and die in the meantime?
So I worked from home the first year of Jack's life. But I was also his full-time caretaker. Toward the very end I got a nanny a few hours a week, once my boss made it clear that bringing Jack to work wasn't really working for anyone (including me; trying to edit and breastfeed at the same time is tricky, people). I tried putting Jack in daycare, but as much as I feared giving up any semblance of a career, I feared leaving him with strangers even more. It wasn't that I thought they were going to harm Jack in any way. I just knew they weren't going to take care of him the way I would, and I'd always told myself there was no point in having kids if I wasn't going to raise them myself.
It's funny the things you believe BEFORE you've had children.
I don't regret staying home with Jack, especially not for the first 18 months or so. But lately, now that the Terrible Two's have kicked in, I'm starting to think that if we weren't moving to Russia in five months, I would be looking for jobs during nap time instead of blogging. Admittedly, I was hoping that my fiction writing career would have taken off by now, in which case I wouldn't need a "job" job. But that hasn't happened. And after more than two years of staying home with Jack, I'm starting to feel burnt out.
Maybe that isn't really surprising. I've never lasted at a job for more than two years! And while I never used to consider myself a particularly ambitious person, or someone with major career goals, that all changed once I discovered writing. I've been lucky to continue to write and edit since having Jack, but it always seems like Jack decides to cut a nap short, or wake up early, or be generally impossible, on the days I really need to work. Take this morning, for example. John encouraged me to apply for a position at the Consulate in Yekaterinburg as a way to keep busy and meet new people once we move. Of course, I don't even know if I'm going to have childcare, so it's a little premature, but the job requires a security clearance, which takes months to get. At any rate, this morning I was supposed to complete a writing sample at 7 a.m. (Moscow is 8 hours ahead). Jack normally sleeps until 7:30, so I figured I'd be fine. Guess who decided to wake up at 6 this morning? So while I'm busy trying to write a fake letter to an incoming Eligible Family Member arriving at a post I've never even been to, Jack is tugging at my leg, asking for "Chicka Boom song" and "lap." I can't wait to see how my 7 a.m. conference call with Moscow and Yekat is going to go tomorrow morning...
Of course, there are days like last Wednesday, when I get to do this while everyone else is sitting in a cubicle:
|Chesapeake Beach boardwalk|
I mean, if you've got to spend every. single. day with one person, they might as well be short, chubby, and adorable right?
|You don't want to stay home with ME? Say wha?|
I am so grateful that I'm able to stay home with Jack, that I wasn't forced to take a job I hate just to put food on the table. I know how lucky I am. And I'm grateful for my amazing SAHM friends who have helped keep me busy, and sane, over the past two years. Being a mom is fulfilling on so many levels, and no matter what anyone says, it IS work. But is it enough? I don't know. Maybe I'll be able to tell you some day, after another 200 posts or so.