Before I had Avery, I worked full time and we were two people living on two full-time incomes. We had enough but lived thriftily, in part because I'm convinced I married the most frugal man on the planet, but also because we were saving first for a house, then for a baby. When Avery came, I quit my full time job to be home with her.
Part of the adjustment to being a mom, for me, has come with the fact that I'm not truly a stay at home mom. At least not in the way I always thought I would be. Kyle works really hard at his job but things are still tight with all the unexpected costs a baby (and especially one with PKU) has brought. So I've been "collecting" jobs to do from home. The count now is 4. So yes, I stay at home with Avery, but I'm also a working mom. A work at home mom, or a WAHM, one might say.
I've felt some inner conflict about this lately, but accepting the fact that I'm not really a stay at home mom already sends me some relief. I am so grateful to be home with her every day and play with her when she's first up from a nap and watch her learn new things. But sometimes I have to watch from the kitchen table (my makeshift desk) where I login the computer to do some work. It makes me feel guilty to sit just a short distance away while I want so desperately to just lie on the floor and play with her, let her crawl over my head and paw at my glasses, study her squinty smile accented by a half dozen baby teeth.
My best time to get work done is during naptime. But sometimes during naptime, all I want to do is take a nap myself. Or read a book. Or blog about how it's naptime and I want some time to myself. But there's also other pressing matters that often take over: dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, toys to be put away. And don't forget, there's the actual work for my jobs that I need to do. Thank goodness naptimes last a little longer these days!
There's a delicate, strategic balance among being a mom, a wife, a housekeeper and an employee that I haven't quite mastered yet. On days where I get it right, I feel like I have conquered. Other days, or most days rather, I find myself at 5:00 with a messy house, work still to be done, a hungry baby and a husband who has just come home from working a long, hard day himself.
I'm often torn because while I feel guilty that I can't spend every moment of the day just playing with Avery, I'm also so grateful I have work to do that allows me to be home at the same time. Not everyone is afforded this luxury, I know. And to me it is a luxury. I certainly don't make thousands of dollars, but what I am able to do helps our budget a lot. And sometimes it's the difference between having a Saturday night pizza and scrounging up stuff from the pantry for an experimental meal. I prefer pizza, if you must know.
To say I'm a control freak sounds just so harsh... but that's probably accurate in my case. Before Avery, before Kyle, before being a WAHM, I kinda had it all together. Or at least I felt I did most of the time. I knew what it took to take care of myself, do well at work, and feel successful at single life. In contrast, being a WAHM is a complicated web of things to do that I often feel I have little control over. I do a little more housework and I spend less time with the baby. I do a little more at my jobs and the dishes pile up. Working or not, being a mom is always a juggling act, to be sure.
I am betting I will never get it "just right" all the time. Or even most of the time. But I hope that it will get easier, or at least I'll learn to be okay with that. Some days I just have to let things go. For a control freak, it is so hard, but probably I would explode if I didn't let things slide once in awhile. I just hope that I never mess up enough that the "thing that slides" is Avery. She always comes first and in essence, is the reason I'm trying to do all these things. Remembering that makes it all worthwhile.