I’ve had a real job since I was 15 years-old. I worked as a lifeguard, swim instructor and coach the second I was old enough and have continued gainful employment ever since. In college, I held several jobs simultaneously. In graduate school, I had my own business (Little Polska Aquatics, it was awesome). For a stretch of time in Maryland, I worked full-time during the week, worked per diem on the weekends, and wrote pearls on a string on the side! (Oh, and then I got mono…coincidence?) My point is, I truly love to work. I love to be productive. I love to contribute. (I also have a Mount McKinley-size pile of student loans, so there’s that too.) My former supervisor was seriously concerned about me moving to Alaska with no official job. “I can’t imagine you not working,” she said. “You’re not a stay-at-home mom type of person.” I totally agreed. I sent out resumés and went on interviews yet just couldn’t find the right fit. So I stayed at home. Frustrated. This was not part of my plan.
I was devastated to not have a job outside of the home. I couldn’t believe my new life revolved around nap schedules, breast feeding, and grocery shopping. When one’s identity is wrapped up in working (or anything), it is testing when that facet is suddenly not part of daily life. After all, the premise of my profession is you are what you do! So without that, who am I? #identitycrisis
And then, something happened. I got a job offer. A pretty good one, albeit not in my specialty at all. I considered it. No thank you. It’s not worth leaving my daughter for. Ummm what! How and when did this paradigm shift take place?
When I started making a conscientious effort to be happy and grateful for little things, I realized I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at home with Waverley during this time and I wasted too much time wishing for something else. I’ve been through enough in life to understand this phase will be short and not my destiny forever. Infancy flies by. I’m happy to be with her for every two-teeth grin and developmental milestone. I’m happy to have time to pursue other passions, like taking a photography class and writing pearls on a string. Above all, I am forever grateful that there is a greater plan than mine and by having every single job fail to pan out, I could spend the last weeks of my dad’s life with him. Every day.
At barely ten months in I’m certainly not an expert on Stay-at-Home Parenting. However, in my short stint as such I have discovered a few common occurrences happen on the days I am most satisfied with my new role:
- I have a plan. I tackle my to-do list rather than wither the day away wondering what I should do first. I’ve learned taking advantage of naps and awake time efficiently actually requires excellent time management skills! Who knew.
- I am flexible. So, you know, I am a little rigid sometimes. Going with the flow of life with a baby helps me to not get too caught up in the apocalypse that is venturing off my schedule.
- I take a little time for me. Whether it’s dropping Puppy Girl off at the gym’s daycare, getting a manicure, taking 15 minutes to peruse a magazine (a total luxury, yeah?), these little habits really perk me up. I’ve also found I am much more grateful for these types of things now since these moments of independence are difficult to come by.
- I stay up-to-date on my profession’s happening by reading a journal article, chatting with friends who are working, and staying as current as possible with new rules and regulations.
- I learn new things. Like I mentioned, I am taking a photography class which is so fun and uses a part of my brain that has been idle for a loooong time.
- I read about current events, even if it is only via theSkimm.
Someday soon I may take the leap back into the working world as a part-timer. But you know what? I am not in as much of a hurry as I thought.