A New Chapter, An Old Book!
I have to admit, there is a part of me that has always been drawn to that era, to being able to stay home, nurture my family, care for hearth and home, wear aprons, put on make up, greet my husband with a kiss and a cocktail!
In the beginning, when we had our first child, I did stay home. And along came our second child just 19 months later. I stayed home for about 3.5 years then. Yet that time was such a blur. Those days were the infancy of discovering that our oldest, David, had special needs. With the day to day grind of being at a loss, of being in tears many days, of barely getting my teeth brushed, I missed out.
I missed out on just enjoying the moment, of looking at it in the new light and through the new eyes that I have now, some 5.5 years later.
My sons are now 7 or 7 and a HALF as Aaron always corrects me, and 9. They are both in school full time. And up until about 4 weeks ago I had been back in the workforce for 5.5 years.
I'm going to be brutally honest. Those last 5.5 years have basically been a few good days, with many months of hell. Barely making it, going through the motions, sometimes dreading the next day.
It's no different than any working outside of the home mother. It's HARD! As the months and years moved on after I first went back to work, I found myself becoming increasingly, tired, sick, resentful, unhappy, crying often. To be honest I didn't really know why either.
I just knew I had to get up, get the children ready, send them off to school, go to work, get off work, get the children, go home, cook dinner, clean, homework, get the children ready for bed, try to do some laundry, spend time with my husband, go to bed.
With that, I found some things, the most important, being put on the sidelines. Time with my husband.
Essentially I was pushing him further and further away as I just tried to survive day to day.
With the growing needs of David, and the typical needs of Aaron, working, and trying to care for the house I just had nothing left to give. And for awhile I didn't want to give anything.
For those that may not know David, our 9 year old, is diagnosed with ASD, Sensory Integration Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Asthma, and ITP [an auto-immune disorder where the antibodies attack his platelets leaving him vulnerable to uncontrolled internal bleeding].
This alone seems to monopolize my time. We never know when his platelets are going to reach critical level [which means he could have spontaneous bleeding in the brain which could be fatal.] Add in the day to day journey of ASD/ADHD/SPD and it's sufficient to say that it's hard to look beyond the moment.
In short, I had begun shutting just about everyone out. Especially my husband who works hard for us. He works 2 full time jobs but I was too busy to really see just how much he did.
All I could think and complain about was "Why didn't you help with the dishes???"
It got to the point where I honestly just wanted to be anywhere but here. I wanted to take my sons and run far away thinking that was the answer.
To save you an even longer novel, I will tell you this. I ended up talking to my priest at the Episcopal Church where I attend. He gave me fresh perspective, he prayed with me, he offered REAL help, not trite and black and white quips.
I left his office feeling a little better but still with the outlook that things were going in a direction that I never thought they'd go.
Ultimately that night I approached Eric, shared what I was feeling. And finally I just said I'm exhausted. I can do this anymore. I can't work, take care of a house, and the kids. Basically I just want to run away.
I'll never forgot the moment when Eric said that me working and the extra money wasn't worth throwing everything away over. Just quit, and stay home and focus on the boys.
Suddenly everything clicked. It was an A-Ha moment. And I have very few of those. A literal, my life rolling before my eyes like an old vintage slide show. I saw in retrospect how increasingly unhappy I had become trying to be "Superwoman". A career, child rearing, maintaining a June Cleaver house. I just could not balance it all.
It clicked! While I loved the extra income, it was coming at a huge price, my family. And no amount of money is worth that.
Fortunately our circumstances are such that I can be home. I give huge kudos to those that can balance it all, that have to balance it all. I am not strong like you. Hats off!!!
But I am thankful that my own husband had infinitely more wisdom than I had given him credit for.
And here we are. Me at home.
Just last night Eric told me that whatever it is we're doing he loves it. He sees how happy I am. That made me feel so good. Time for him! Time for my faith, Time for my children, Time to tend to home and hearth!
The ironic thing is that I say I'm an oxymoron. While I am actually quite the "21st" century women with some liberal views, my CHOICE is to be at work at home mother. And trust me, ALL mothers WORK whether they go to a brick and mortar building to work, or stay home to work!
I chose to live that 1950s-ish lifestyle.
I love having dinner ready. I love pouring my husband a drink after a long day.
I love having time and patience for my children.
I LOVE it!
And most of all I love that my marriage is happy again. Happy! And as our love grows through these trials and victories, I really do see "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger". I understand it a little more now.
I know that this is a mountaintop and of course there will still be valleys. That is just life.
But for now, I am content to serve my family. Yes, my modern who woman me, who believes in choice, has made the choice to serve my family out of love.
Soon my husband and I will renew our vows for our 10th anniversary. What a great way to mark this great milestone and to show what we have overcome and are overcoming!
I may be "just" a housewife. But I assure you that if you pull up a chair in the "Parlor" [aka living room], pour yourself a cup of coffee, and observe, you'll find that there is always some adventure in this home!