My one dream growing up was to become a Mommy. I wanted four babies and wanted to be there for every milestone in their life. I wanted to go on field trips, help in the classrooms, and participate in the PTA. I wanted to help my children to read and do their homework. I wanted to read every book my kids read. I wanted to make sure we were eating healthy and sticking to a budget. I wanted to take care of our home and have a place of order. I wanted to play with my kids and enjoy every second of being a Mommy.
Of course once I became a Mommy reality set in. My home is in a mess more than in order. I was always tired. Babies take up a lot of time. Laundry and dishes are never ending. Kids are always hungry. They grow so fast that keeping track of clothes that fit and clothes that don’t fit is an endless chore. Being a full time mommy is so busy and exhausting. But I loved it.
I also loved that I was able to stay at home with my babies and enjoy all the time with them. I loved hanging out with other moms as we let our children explore, play, and have new experiences. I don’t care for cooking but I enjoyed making new things from scratch and hearing my children tell me I was the best cook ever. I didn’t mind all the laundry and trying to figure out how to best organize and make our home better. Yes, I was always tired trying to make everyone happy in our home but I loved it.
When my life changed, it was NOT my choice. I had to go back to work because now I had to take care of my children AND provide for them. I was NOT ready to go back to work full time, I was pregnant with my fifth child. It was scary. How was I going to do it ALL by myself. It was a HUGE task just doing my half of the work of tending to the children and the home. It was scary.
Gratefully, when young, my Daddy encouraged my sister and I to get an education for “just in case.” He wanted us to be prepared IF a spouse passed away. I was obedient to his advice and got my teaching degree before I was married. Though my reason was different for why I had to go back to work, I was prepared. So while pregnant, I was able to substitute a few times a week and was able to barely provide for my family on a part time income.
I substituted until I gave birth on Christmas Eve 2013. Up until her birth I worried about how I would take care of four children and a new baby. God did provide in miraculous ways to my humble cries for help. I was able to stay home with my baby for 7 months. This was a HUGE blessing to be with my baby for so long. BUT I knew that eventually I had to leave her because I had the responsibility to provide for my family now. I was nervous to leave my baby because she refused to drink formula or my breast milk from a bottle or cup. It was even more difficult to leave baby because I had never left a baby before THEY were happy to see me go. I was blessed once again to find a part time job at my children’s elementary school library AND get into college to pursue the opportunity to keep the school library job full time.
With a new part time job AND being a full time grad student, life really changed. I started to feel like I was failing as a mother. I now did things I never did before…
- Sign up for a school event and forget to go.
- Feed my children ready made food from cans and ready made packages for dinner almost every night.
- Miss doctor and dentist appointments or constantly rescheduling them because of schedule conflicts.
- Forget to give my kids lunch for a field trip or run to 7-11 to buy their lunch for a field trip.
- My house got even messier.
- Kids ran out of clean underwear and clothes.
- We ate less fruits and vegetables. My kids were getting constipated.
- My children outgrew shoes and clothes and I couldn’t replace them right away.
- I couldn’t relate to the moms I used to hang out with. I felt left out and forgotten a lot. I didn’t have friends to talk to that understood my problems any more.
- Bed time schedules got later. The kids stayed up so I could see them after my night classes.
- Kids got sick more often.
- My oldest started struggling in school for the first time and I couldn’t just go talk to his teachers right away.
- Food rotted in my fridge because I forgot to use it.
- On days off taking baby to the park or on a walk, I’m still thinking about work and if I have enough money for the week/month.
Life is so so different as a working mother. After one year of this crazy schedule, I think we are all slowly and better adjusting so that there are less mishaps and healthier eating. We still have to figure out many things to improve our family routines and schedules. I’m forever grateful for all those who have helped and are still helping me with my home and children so that I am able to work and go back to school: my parents, cousins, my friends and church members. My parents have been there for my children and I pretty much EVERY day since baby was born. I am so blessed.
Change is difficult. Especially change you did NOT want. Yes, I still miss the life of being a full time stay at home mom but I no matter what, I AM STILL A MOM.
Originally written 9/14/15