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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stay at Home What-Now?

Hello - my name is Tracy and I'm a stay at home mom. 

I've been a SAHM for three years, four months and 2 days. Phew! It's good to get that off my chest.

My whole adult life and throughout my pregnancy I was 100% certain that I would return to work after my one year maternity leave in Canada. We even toyed with the idea of me returning after 9 months off. My workplace was amazing and filled with wonderful people.

So how did I become a stay at home mom anyways?

Cover of The Compleat Housewife
Image via Wikipedia

When Ender was just 8 months old our family ended up moving to California for a great employment opportunity for my husband. Even though the adventure was certainly right up our alley, I was sad to quit my job and leave our family and friends behind. My husband entered the US on a TN Visa, then switched to H1-B, meaning I am allowed to live here and attend school as a resident but not permitted to earn any income. Thus began my journey as a SAHM.

I am going to be brutally honest and admit that I was not happy about it. Somehow the thought of being 'just a SAHM' carried a stigma for me - I would be someone who didn't contribute to our income, dependent on my husband for everything. What would happen if, god forbid, our marriage failed or something happened to Rich?

So along with the incredible role of 'mommy' (which is the best thing that ever happened to me) I also harbored the secret suspicion that I would now become a freaky woman who could only discuss kids, go to play dates and forget how to socialize or have conversations with adults. I would get out of shape, throw away my hair products and makeup and stop shaving my legs altogether.

What's it really like?

I was so wrong. One of the first things I did in Cali was join some mommy groups and meetups since if nothing else, having a toddler will bring you instant connections with other toddler owners. Cue the image of me standing on a street corner trying to entice other mommies to come and pet my kid, sort of like a dude picking up chicks with a cute puppy.

Diatribe of a Mad Housewife
Image via Wikipedia
Actually, the women I met were amazing, capable, hilarious women with beautiful personalities and epic appointment juggling skills. Some were working and others, like me, were SAHMs. Of course, along with those great ladies there were a few uptight, judgmental, bitchy gossip moms. I learned to sift through and find women who I liked and admired.

Meanwhile, I was definitely learning that this job (and yes, I now call it my job) is really really hard and the mental toll is immense. It falls to me to make sure our son grows up happy, healthy, responsible, empathetic, conscientious, ambitious and a thousand other qualities. Yes, my husband is involved but he's got a lot of other responsibilities, like taking out the garbage, earning income and answering the door when the pizza delivery guy shows up.

So now what?

Two and a half years later we are close to getting our green cards and the possibility of returning to work draws near. It will be great to rejoin the workforce, have something of my own, out of the house. But I will most certainly miss spending afternoons playing and doing activities with my little man and my socially retarded dog.

I never thought I would say this in a million years, but maybe I could find something, you know.. part time.

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