I am so blessed. So few people can honestly say, "I have my dream job." I can. When I was a kid and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, "A mommy." Okay, well, there was a little variation from time to time where, "AND a veterinarian," or "AND a marine biologist," or "AND a figure skater," but I always wanted to be a mom, too. I confess: I've always been a multi-tasker. I don't know how NOT to be. I decided in high school to be realistic, so until I was blessed with the man of my dreams to have a family with, I would settle for raising other peoples' kids. I babysat, I nannied, and I went to school to be a teacher. At every meeting with my college adviser, she tried to convince me to switch my degree from Early Childhood Education(birth through second grade) to Childhood Education(preschool through sixth grade), because the money and the jobs were more readily available for some one with the latter. I refused, always saying, "I love babies." She thought I was nuts. I couldn't understand how she didn't get it.
When I did meet the man of my dreams, it was less than ideal circumstances. I was dealing with some traumatic experiences and subsequent depression and anxiety, but he saw me for the person inside and loved me anyway. The man is a saint, I tell you. SAINT! Among the issues I was dealing with was the realization that I might never be able to biologically have my own children. That was like the ultimate punch in the face to my dreams. I'm not anti-adoption. FAR FROM IT! But for me, the person who always wanted nothing but to be a mommy to be told I may never have children was devastating. It was almost a deal-breaker for my incredible knight in shining armor, but in the end we came to terms with it.
Then, in our first year of marriage came our first daughter. We were in awe of her. I was in heaven. I still had to work my job outside the home, but I quit my teaching job to work opposite shifts with my husband so we could hand her off in the afternoons and skip the whole childcare thing.
Then, when she was 22 months old, our first son was born. He had special needs(more on the at my other spot, My Sensational Square Peg ), and he was not an easy child to parent, but still I cried every day as I left for work, wanting nothing more but to be home with my babies. I knew they were always in the best of hands they could be besides mine- my incredible husband's! It couldn't get better. But it sucked. And I cried. I loved my co-workers, I enjoyed my job(most days), but I wanted nothing more than to be home with my babies.
Then, when our guy was 23 months old, our second daughter was born. She was a miracle of miracles, not only because she was our third baby to be born despite doctor's prediction I would always miscarry before I knew I was pregnant if I did conceive, but at 20 weeks we were told she had strong indications of a chromosomal defect that was "incompatible with life." We chose life. We prayed, we cried, we cried some more, and we gave her a name that meant, "God has healed me." When she was born she was the picture of health. A miracle. And we decided we were done having babies.
That's when I got my dream job: I quit my job and got to be a stay-at-home mommy. When God gave us one last miracle, our #4 this past year, I felt like he was our bonus baby. Like our family was complete before, and he was just this awesome frosting on our life's cake.
I'm a mommy. My babies are my pride and joy. I look like crap every day. I'm lucky if I remember to put on deodorant or brush my hair daily, and I can shower every other day it's a major bonus. My nails are never painted. I don't remember the last time I had a martini, and the last "girl date" I had with a friend was when said friend was 8 months pregnant with her 2.5-year-old. And I could not be happier. Truly. I get burned out, I get touched out, I cry my little eyes out, and at the end of the day I still hate the feeling of coaxing on bed time because I don't want to wish away a day with my children. I refuse to get a "Smart phone" because I see the majority of parents with their minds on their screens, missing so many of the priceless little nuances of awesome in the fleeting moments of their babies' lives. My children don't know pop culture because we don't do much TV or internet. I spent the first 2/3's of my life longing for a family, and 2/3's of their lives being the primary bread-winner in the family, dropping tears on my steering wheel every day. I'm not better than anybody. I'm not inciting "mommy wars." I don't look down on anyone, whether they want to be a SAHM or not. This is MY journey, these are MY dreams, and I'm living MY life. And that's okay. I could not be happier.