I have officially decided that it *is* possible to let a topic stew in your brain for too long. Today's post has been swimming around in my head for so long that I now have so much to say and so much that seems like it's already been said. But it comes down to this: Parenthood is a fickle job.
Let me preface this by saying that I am a 33-year-old college educated gal. I worked and studied hard while I was in college, spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights with my nose in a textbook, and took my education very seriously. When my husband and I started talking about having kids, I knew that I wanted to stay at home with them and my husband was supportive. Life took over and I was not able to quit my professional job until Rosemary was 2-years-old. Those two years were among the most stressful and exhausting years of my life.
My friends and family have been incredibly supportive of our decisions. I have worked here and there to earn extra money, but for the last few years, my number 1 priority has been my family, and as a result I feel our family is significantly healthier and happier. Money has been tight - at times dangerously tight - but it always works out and it has been so good for us, and so unbelievably worth the sacrifice. Despite some really hard times and tough lessons learned, I can say that through it all, we have been amazingly blessed.
The way things have worked out, we are parents to 1 child, and now that she's in school full-time, random people on the street (again, I stress - not friends and family) seem to want to know what I'm going to do now. And, yes, I do have things going on. I have been and will continue to freelance write, substitute teach (with the intention of - someday - teaching my own classroom again), and take up whatever else miscellaneous projects come my way - as long as it's in the best interest of my family.
But this last month has been the time that I have been the MOST thankful and grateful that I am blessed to be able to call myself a stay-at-home mom. The stigma that my education is going to waste as a stay-at-home mom is infuriating; and I sincerely believe that people who call themselves feminists should be insulted by this ever-present philosophy.
While my first day of Kindergarten post was all happy-happy, a few days into it, things took a turn for the worst. It's not a fear of separation she's facing - it's a fear that has been ever-present in her life so far (all be it, irrational) and something she's going to have to face and conquer. Every day things seem to get a little better, and some days it feels like 1-step forward/2-steps back. Our days and nights have since been filled with worries, there were a few morning drop-offs where Rosemary wasn't the only one crying, and I have been so thankful that my focus has been able to be entirely on my child; letting her know that I believe she can do this on her own, but that I will also help her and support her through it. Thankfully, picking her up lately has been a joyful experience, but there was definitely a time when she would burst into tears the moment she saw me. And I feel like the luckiest mom in the world that I was able to pick her up, hug her, and take her home.
Please don't get me wrong, this isn't a post criticizing those of you who choose to work. It's a post saying that we need to stop judging those who do the best they can for their families, even though it looks different than our own choices. All of a sudden, this college-educated girl has about 6 extra hours in the day to do laundry, clean the house, knit, sew, and read. But I'm also able to invest as much time and love into my husband and daughter as they need. I've chosen to have lunch with my daughter a couple of times and attend her first field trip with her. Those visits made a gigantic positive impact in her attitude toward school and what I hope will become a lifelong love for learning.
So let's all turn off our judgy attitudes and agree that raising silly, smart, happy, well-rounded kids is an excellent use of a college education.