Haiku of a Stay-at-Home Parent

Haiku of a Stay-at-Home Parent
by Me

Sometimes there are days,

Calgon please take me away.

Still, always thankful.

Although I never envisioned myself EVER being a stay-at-home parent, I think it's one of those blessings in disguise. I always grew up thinking "I'm always going to work. I will be independent. I won't live off of my husband." Well, I still am working...although not outside the home. I am independent still and have a bunch of individuals who are very dependent on me now. I am definitely not living off of my husband. Through fortunate and unfortunate events, I had enough finances (my awesome mom started bank accounts for us when we were young and invested our money wisely) accumulated that paid for the down payment on our second home (and paid for our wedding and various other things).

I still wondered how I would've balanced career and parenthood. I'm one of those kinds of people that, when working, put A LOT of time and energy into work. I used to make work a was a luxury that I could afford to do since I didn't have kids. It felt really good to earn my own income and work hard for it. One day, it'd be nice to work outside again. Right now, I'm aiming for graduate degree and then see what the future holds. It'll definitely be nice to have the grad degree in hand as a fallback or in case of any unforseeable circumstances which would necessitate my need to work. I'd even be happy to just have that degree in hand and stay at home until my kids didn't need me.

I also think about when I was in grad school & pregos with Jaron. Kaia had just turned one and I had an assistantship with the Multicultural Student Services office. Sean, luckily, was on shore tour by then...allowing him to have a bit more flexibility with his hours. Obviously we needed to put her into some kind of childcare program. We opted for the
Goddard School which was amazing. But, going from a not-wanting-to-stay-at-home-parent-ever to being a stay-at-home parent to grad student parent was hard. I spent less than 1.5 hours with Kaia in the morning, dropped her off at school, go to work, go to class, and then come home in time to kiss her goodnight. Sean would pick her up, play with her, fix her dinner (or rather, reheat whatever I had cooked), bathe her, get her ready for bed, read to her, and then wait for me to get home to tuck her in. That was a hard time for me and balancing those feelings of guilt and wanting/needing to do something for me (also for our fam since we need that fallback option). It wasn't w/o it's outside drama too. One mom told me that she stayed home with her boys to be a good mom and also didn't trust our judgement that we were putting Kaia into a reputable childcare program...funny since I am the QUEEN of research...especially when it comes to my family(not to mention one of the boys said he distinctly remembers being in daycare WITH his brother IN a SINK...yes, chilling out IN THE SINK). Yeah, whatever...I know other people were happy that I was going to grad school since some also didn't envision me being a young mother (neither did I..but on the flip side, that same 'stay-at-home' mom had told me I was getting too old to have kids before we conceived Kaia...I was the ripe old age of 24) OR one that stayed at home. So, yeah....anyway.

Anyway...despite all the frustrations, mediations, various methods of discipline, etc. I don't think I'd trade this life for anything. In a month, Kaia turns 5 years old. That's one apartment, one townhouse, and two homes in three states that's she's lived in her short life. I don't know how time has managed to fly by this quickly. I love my kids and think they are so amazing. They've DEFINITELY challenged my notion of my previous misconception of stay-at-home parents. That's not to say that I didn't have completely AMAZING examples grandmothers, Aunt Maury, Aunt Karina, Mama Yuan, Jaimee, Liza, etc....all whose hardwork and dedication raised amazing, intelligent individuals. I also applaud the moms working outside the home too who also provided great examples of strong women who either worked out of neccessity or mom, my aunts (my mom's sisters & in-laws), etc. I still don't know how I would pump out homecooked dinners in time to feed a hungry family w/o the gourmet-ness of them suffering. I think it's amazing how all these women balance home, work (inside and outside), marriage, friendships, everything...always putting others' needs in front of their own.

In the next few months, we'll find out what the Navy has in store for our family. If we end up back in the Hampton Roads, VA area...then I make seek out a job with my former graduate assistantship. If we're in DC, I'll try grad school. If we stay down here, then...I'll be upping my game as a stay-at-home parent...or possibly some diversity work at the corporate level. Sometimes I feel like I'm letting down my kids w/o them knowing it and strive to be a better mom. I don't know if that's the guilt that us Lee girls always feel with everything or what. But, as I sit here on the computer typing, I know there's something else I could be doing. True, being a "single" stay-at-home parent I do need that time to myself to keep my sanity but yeah, I always feel guilty. With that...signing off!


Ellyn said...

This is a great post, big sis. I've been thinking more and more about this mommy-career woman balancing act and it's definitely unnerving. I'm pretty sure I'm going to dive in headfirst into full-time mommyhood and try to eke out some freelance work at home. Still I'm afraid that I'll go stir crazy with just me and the booger, and feel guilty that I'll be dependant on the mister. It is great to read that - despite the anxieties and mixed emotions - the end result (baby) is worth it. Can we meet up for coffee sometime, thanks! ;)

Ben Lau said...

You know, being a stay-at-home mom IS a full time job, despite the popular misconception. You've always struck me as a person who's driven to DO things, and to do them well, and to do them right.

Keep on truck'n :)