In previous posts I've blogged about my experience while pregnant, and during labor, so here's my first on parenting. Unlike pregnancy or labor preparation I didn't run out and get all of the books, or take any class because I figured my years of babysitting and gift of motherly intutition would serve me well. While this is true, it in no way provided me with the knowledge that I expected it to. Why? Because every child is different and newborns are especially demanding no matter how many baby gadgets you have, how much advice you get, or how much research you do. Those facts right there took me at least 2 wks to accept. Up until then I was convinced that I would just know what to do and that because it was my child who of course would be amazingly perfect!
I've now come to the realization that imperfection is perfection because would I want a child who never needed me, or for myself not to learn something new every day? No-absolutely not. After realizing that each day really is a new learning opportunity, it became quite easy for me to make my decision to resign from my previous job and make mommyhood my new full-time feat.
Given my husband's current schedule of school and full-time work, and no family members close by, we agreed that me taking on a majority of the care giving responsibilities would be best for our family. But- being the modern woman that I am, I wanted to keep my options open and therefore considered going part-time at my previous job to make sure that I kept my mind active. Well, let me just say that my mind is VERY ACTIVE, racing constantly with new worries (my latest being germs due to the new fall season and flu/H1N1 vaccinations), new challenges (how many diapers will he need in a particular size to really determine if buying in bulk is really the most cost effective) and new dreams (before I used to always wonder what a child of ours would look like, now I know, so now I wonder what his personality will be like, what type of foods he'll eat- will he be a vegetarian like me, or a carnivore like his dad?, and what I'll feel on the day when I realize that he's all grown up). Thoughts like these are constant, but as tiring and hard as being a parent is, it's by far the most fulfilling job we've ever had.
We're also aware that having the choice for me to stay at home is a luxury that many couples are not able to make due to financial obligations. With us both having professional backgrounds in finance, we've learned about the value of savings and most of all, the freedom of choices that having money can bring. In fact while my husband and I were dating (close to becoming engaged), we often discussed where we saw our lives going. I remember the day when he was leaning on the kitchen counter and nonchalantly said "Yeah, I see us being pretty mobile for the next 10 yrs. or so." I looked at him in disbelief thinking- he wants us live in a mobile home??? He then explained that he didn't want us to get locked into any big purchases (like a home) too soon. Yes, for some a home can be a good investment, but for many (as we hear about on the news so often) it can lead to financial ruin, limit job opportunities, and cause incredible stress. My parents also gave us this advice right after we got married. They said "Take that trip to Europe, or wherever else you want to travel to to really find out where it is you want to live or experience." That advice has been good for us as we're enjoying the flexibility in renting, the option to switch career paths, and provide what we consider to be the best care for our new baby. It's things like that that you just can't put a price tag on, but that we're so thankful for every day.
So- yeah, we still don't know where we want to live yet, Bart's back in school, and I'm at home with our newborn doing endless loads of laundry, cleaning spit ups, and calculating how much time I have to write a blog post before he's due for his next feeding, but we're all LEARNING and GROWING and are HAPPY which are THE MOST important things. If those accomplishments aren't enough for me to feel good about my new role, then I think of this quote:"Parents make more decisions before noon than the U.S. Surpreme Court does all year!"