Deciding to stay home with my children was not an easy decision for me. I know it is an easy decision for many women but I really struggled with it. This is not due to not loving my children or not wanting to spend time with them. I was in graduate school when Oliver was born and then I worked for CPS to pay off my MSW up until April of this year. It became comfortable to me. While I was apprehensive to work for CPS, I learned several things about myself and was reminded that I can do hard things. I liked interviewing children and having them trust and open up to me. I liked being the voice for those who could not defend themselves. I appreciated my supportive supervisor and co-workers and enjoyed working in an environment with people who were there because they care about the safety and well-being of children. I found joy in something I never thought I would do or want to do. And yet here I am, looking back on an extremely difficult job, appreciating the opportunity I had to make a difference. After I told my supervisor I was going to turn in my notice, I cried. I was that attached to my job. Sure there were plenty of difficult things about my job - I'm not trying to candy-coat the high case loads, getting yelled at on a regular basis, spending hours in court to simply stand before the judge for 30 seconds, conducting interviews on a 120 degree summer afternoon in Arizona on someone's front porch, seeing and hearing heartbreaking situations over and over again to the point where I became objective to the words in the reports...the days were never long enough to accomplish what was required of me and paperwork was always stacked high on my desk and shelves. My message light was constantly blinking, demanding my attention, and I often cringed when my phone rang, dreading who might be on the other end of the receiver and what they might be upset about. But the good and the bad - it became a part of me. It strengthened my character and gave me hope that even though most people don't, people can change. It gave me confidence that I can do anything if I am determined, feel right about it and have support. It made me appreciate my blessed life; my beautiful children, my wonderful husband, who - though isn't perfect - is perfect for me and treats me with respect. This is why it was difficult to close that chapter of my life, if only temporarily.
Staying home has been an adjustment not only for me but for Oliver as well. We have both learned a few things and things are going much more smoothly than they were initially. The other day I had to stand back and soak up the joy I felt as I heard Oliver repeating the words from the book, The Little Engine that Could, as he pushed his little trains along their wooden track on the living room floor. I find myself smiling from ear to ear as Oliver and I dance around the living room to music or kick the ball back and forth as Joshua is jumping and smiling in his jumper nearby. I love watching Josh wobble as he's learning how to sit on his own and rock back and forth on his hands and knees as he's building up the courage to begin crawling. I love that Oliver seeks my comfort when he falls down or doesn't feel well. I love that I am there to comfort him and give him hugs and kisses and put bandaids on his scrapped knees. I love seeing the pure joy on Oliver's face as I chase him and tickle him and he laughs uncontrollably. I know someday he won't eagerly say, "Mommy, you want to chase me?" Instead he will want to be in his bedroom with the door closed, listening to music or doing his own thing. He won't always come to me or his dad when he's seeking comfort. Today, he wants to be just like his dad and copies him constantly. If daddy walks out to the truck with his hat on backwards and pushes the buttons to unlock the code to the truck door, Oliver is following suit, turning his hat around backwards and pushing the buttons as well before climbing into his carseat. This is such an impressionable time where I have an opportunity to influence my children for good. It is a time to put my past endeavors aside and focus on the things of eternity - the things that really matter most right now, which things are putting my efforts into raising our children and strengthening my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily.
this post and I can't help but smile at the first-time-mother version of myself who had no idea how difficult raising children could be, no idea how I would pour over parenting books and kneel in prayer as tears run down my face, asking for patience and guidance in parenting my son. And now here I am, right in the middle of it. The daily grind, the mundane, the joyful, the trying moments (hours, days...), the self-talk to get myself through the day, the adorable quotes that make me laugh, the love that fills my heart to the brim for both of my children, the continuos daily chores (dishes, laundry, sweeping, feeding...), Joshua's adorable "square smile" and sweet disposition, reading the same stories over and over again, the way my heart melts when Oliver randomly says, "Mommy, I love you," the moments I get to witness that I would otherwise miss.
I'm grateful for all of it. I am blessed.
|[Photos taken in May 2013]|