BurlingtonVT Moms Blog is partnering with Vermont Midwives Association to bring you our latest series titled “How I Became a Mother” in honor of Mother’s Day. Each of us has a unique journey on how we got here…here being in this crazy thing called motherhood. Some of us have grown our families through adoption, some through donor sperm. Some of us have struggled with infertility while others of us have needed to rely on faith and science. Bringing a child into this world is no less than miraculous regardless of how it’s done. These next two weeks we want to share with you the stories of how we became mothers, to let you know that no two families are born the same. Join us on this journey as we celebrate Moms!
What Kind of Mom?
I am someone who enjoys adventure, and new experiences. For a few years my mother was afraid I would run off to somewhere in Africa and live there forever. I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding day. I was also never one of those girls who (consciously) yearned to raise a family. I didn’t know what my future would hold, but that was just part of the adventure.
When I do get an idea of what I want I seize it and run with it.
One day, while in grad school, I suddenly announced to my boyfriend that I didn’t want yet another “dating anniversary.” Poor guy thought I was going to wreck his plan because he was already hiding a ring in his closet and planning a proposal. Then one day, several months after getting married, I made another abrupt announcement, “Do you want to have a baby?” And he said yes.
About six months later I was pregnant. It was late 2008, the start of the Great Recession, and I found myself laid off from my job the Monday before Thanksgiving. I looked for new work over the next few months but was conflicted. Conflicted about interviewing for jobs I wasn’t sure I would want to keep after my baby was born because I didn’t know what kind of mother I wanted to be. My own mother stayed home when I was little so it was a familiar path. Yet, I had just recently gotten my masters degree and felt like I had better use it.
I unexpectedly lost my first baby, Delia, to Turner’s syndrome when I was 22 weeks pregnant.Three months later I was pregnant again, terrified this second baby would die too. Even through that worry, I still fretted over whether I should seriously pursue new employment or not. I was fortunate enough that we were in an economic position to have that choice.
I ended up finding a part time, temporary job while I was pregnant. After my son was born it just felt right to be home with him. I held onto him extra tight after losing Delia. I knew I wanted to raise him myself and witness all his firsts. The decision to stay home was made, and two years after my son was born his little sister came into the world.
I have been a stay at home mom for four years now and it has been very rewarding to watch my son and daughter grow. Difficult, grueling, and humbling too, but worth it. I try to keep one foot in the professional world by serving on local boards and I did a little part- time consulting for a while. There are times that I worry about re-entering the workforce. Will my skills still be relevant? Who will want to hire me after so many years out of the workforce? What will my kids think if I don’t restart a career when they’re older? There have been times when I’m the only stay at home parent in the room and I feel less valued because I don’t have my own paycheck, and any office stories I can add to the conversation are 5 or more years old.
Still, I wouldn’t trade this time with my kids. They are only little for a very short time. The memories we are making are absolutely priceless. A free-spirited friend of mine once told me “We are more than what we do to earn our daily bread.” I know this is true, and I would add that not being the breadwinner doesn’t make us less valuable. I have a very fulfilling life raising my children, and a very important job guiding them to be conscientious, intelligent, and caring individuals.
I don’t know what I will do for work after I finish being a SAHM. I know it’s a temporary gig, but I choose to live in the moment. My decision on what to do next may become clear as suddenly as deciding I was ready to marry and start a family.