Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Surviving Day 1

`Yesterday was the day. The day I've been looking forward to, and dreading all at the same time. Yesterday was my first day as a Stay-at-home mom. And we survived.

But let's start from the beginning. The best day of my life occurred on June 12, 2013. After waiting years & what seemed like a lifetime, our little man, Collier, was born. A perfect 7lb, 13oz handsome guy was brought into this world, healthy as could be. Around 3 weeks, however, we realized Collier was having some health issues (more on that later). I was blessed to have 12 weeks of maternity leave, and dreadfully counted the days until I had to return. As the days dwindled down, Collier's issues started getting worse. Finally, I returned to my job at a primary care center on September 9. I was so incredibly thankful that my mom was able to stay with us for two weeks while I attempted to return to my career. After a few hectic days, however, we realized it wasn't going to work. I would have to do something I never, ever wanted to do- I would have to be a stay-at-home mom.

Alright, now before I'm persecuted and crucified by all the moms out there who chose to do this, let me explain. From the time I was a child, my mom worked full-time as a CPA. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of myself, a big-headed, even bigger-haired child, sitting at the front entrance of my daycare center at 5:00pm, waiting for my mom to pick me up. While some kids may have hated having to do this every weekday, it was all I knew. Sure, I had to go to daycare everyday after school, and I spent most summer days at home with my siblings, calling my mom's office to tattle on who was refusing to change the channel or who was wondering too far outside, but I learned very early on that this is just what my Mom does- she works. A lot. But because of her career choices, we were able to have nice things, amazing Christmas presents, fun family vacations, many things that I knew wouldn't be possible if she didn't work as hard as she did. I never, ever resented her for her career. In fact, I was proud of her. I idolized her, I still do. Looking back, I'm sure it was really hard on her as a mom. However, it was really easy on me as a kid. Like I said, it was all I knew. Also, as much as my Mom worked, my Dad worked just as hard. So it's no surprise that both of my parents instilled a very strong work ethic in my siblings and I. With these ideals, I always dreamed of being a mom, and I've always intended on finding a balance between my career and my home life.

So I did what I supposed to, went to college, got married, had a baby, yada yada yada. The moment Collier entered the world, I knew it would be so hard to place him into the arms of a stranger and go back to my 9-5 world. I knew I'd cry, I knew I'd call every 10 minutes, I knew I'd forgo grocery trips & gym sessions after work in order to run to my little man who I knew just HAD to miss me as much as I missed him. I knew all of this stuff, and I was as prepared for it as one could be to such a life adjustment.

But then the world flipped on it's axis. I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. And it scared the shit out of me. How would I manage to be in the house all day long, watching trashy tv? How would I manage to not isolate myself?  How would I manage to stay active, not gain 100lbs, not stay in my pajamas all day? How would I manage saying goodbye to a job that offered health insurance, a steady paycheck, a chance to progress and grow in a huge company, a job I worked so hard to get? How could I still teach my child an important lesson I wanted to prove to him since day one... that although he's the most important part of my life, he's not the only part of my life? 

And how would my parents feel? The hard work ethic they taught me, the four-year university degree they basically paid for, the proud moment they were able to tell people that their daughter was a "working woman"- all down the drain. One night, after my mom had cancelled meetings to take care of my screaming baby who spent all day in pain, she told me something I wasn't expecting. She told me I needed to stay home. She told me how she's been around lots of babies- sick babies, healthy babies, colicky babies, but never a baby like this. She told me my baby needed his mom, and she knew his mom needed him just the same. She told me that, besides, looking back, she knows she made the best decision for her, but that she sometimes regrets working so hard and not staying home with us. Mind. Blown. 

My last day was on Friday, and all weekend I was scared of the unknown Monday would bring. Me, the baby, and our house, alone all together. But when I woke up Monday morning, I saw two huge blue eyes looking up at me, reassuring that this was a new experience for us both, that this was quite possibly the best experience the both of us would ever have. Then, we got up and went on with our day. And it was so amazingly special. I noticed traits about his personality, learned more about his likes and dislikes, and noticed things he's doing that I completely overlooked in the past two weeks (He found his foot! He reaches for toys! He laughs at Pocoyo! Whats next? College?!) The day was full of adventure, discovery, and even lots of cooking and cleaning during nap times. We had baby kisses, baby cuddles, and moments of tears and pure laughter. That night, I went to bed eager, as if I was impatiently waiting for Tuesday to come so I could start my new job all over again. 

I'm now a Stay-At-Home Mom. And it's truly the best decision I've ever made.