Change sneaks up on you. I met Danny and together we decided to have babies. I wanted to have a family with him. We'd be kick ass parents. It was our opinion that our mothers did us right by staying home with us during our early years, and despite all my ambition, was the low earner on the totem pole, so I became the designated stay at home parent to our babes. I kissed my department store wardrobe goodbye (not very practical and hell, they don't fit postpartum), and said hello to things you can easily launder spit up and poop off of.
No one will ever call me a graceful mother. (Or graceful at all, for that matter.) Stay at home motherhood is daunting. I felt alone. And fat. And hormonal. I was just not me in my own skin. But I don't make commitments lightly and was determined. Every single day, I got up, showered and dressed. I tried my damnedest to be a good stay at home mom knowing the whole time that a finish line was in sight.
I am a fantastic mom to our kids. I know that. But "stay at home mom" is never a hat that fit comfortably on my head. I resented my husband for business trips. At company happy hours I was sure his coworkers made assumptions of me. I used every creative way to say what I did without saying "stay at home mom", including but not limited to the time I recorded my profession as "retired" on a form. (I am truly sorry for that as I am now hounded by the AARP. Seriously. I had to tell them I was going to report them for stalking and to come back in 20 years.)
Somewhere during my tenure as the stay at home parent I decided to change careers. The retail management requirements of worked holidays and weekends don't jive well with family life. Despite not ever feeling comfortable as a stay at home mom, I was very interested in being an active parent to my kiddos. I just needed the adult interaction. I needed validation. I needed recognition and to have goals to work towards. So we decided I'd go back to school when the kids were old enough to go to school.
But what about my blog? My shop? I've sold a variety of things I've made through my shop the five years I've been the stay at home parent, but I like being able to make and sell what I like. Any time I start mass producing something, I quickly grow to hate it. My blog has always been about me. It's my expression. It's where I show off what I make and teach you to make them too, if you want. The 'ads' I post are my friends and shops I respect. The sponsored posts and tours I do are for patterns I'd have bought anyways. My opinion can't be bought. I'm far too mouthy to lie to you all and to be honest, I don't want to shill stuff to you. This it my place and I'm humbled there are so many of you still listening after all these years. Thank you.
Becoming a mother has taken my former self and stretched and confounded and shaken her up until she has settled and grown into this new person. A women with the skills and obstinance from before, but with the mighty roar of a bear. Motherhood tried to break me but I have emerged victorious! I am bigger and better and stronger. I have broken out from my cocoon to stretch my wings.
If you've be around here a while you know I've been taking some classes here and there. Prerequisites for the sonography program I have been accepted into. (Sonongraphy = ultrasounds. Not the people who write down everything that's said in court. That's a stenographer. Think Aquaman, but more badass. Also, it's not just for pregnant ladies. Far from it.) It's going to take me 13.5 months of full time, hard core schooling. From here on out, it's all highlighters and ramen, baby.
This week was the big week. My babies had their first day of pre-K on Monday, and Tuesday was my first day of full time school.
My stay at home motherdom is over. It's gone.
I've been looking forward to this moment for years. I can leave the house without diapers and wipes. I get in and out of the car and don't have two little ones to help. I can walk as fast as I like when I'm late and not have to hustle anyone else up. I'm smart and my peers and professors assume exactly that. No one looks at me and only sees a mom.
So why does it feel so bad in my heart? Why are my eye leaking? Damn my non-robot-ness!
I had the privilege of having dinner with Shalagh last week. We talked about many things, but one of the nuggets she left with me was to look up this poem by Khalil Glbran:
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I am strong enough for myself, but am I a strong enough bow? An ache hollows my heart to know that I must set my arrows to fly, but I know I must. How is it that I've been looking forward to this for so long and now that it's here I feel guilt and fear? Damn you, motherhood. You've done this to me.
And so I embark upon this new chapter of mine. To master a new skill and learn a new trade. To hone myself within motherhood, so that I can be the strong and stable bow. May my aim be true and my arrow fly straight. There's no turning back now.