Who remembers that stupid question the guidance counselor asked everyone in high school? If money did not matter, what would you do with your life? Ok, unless we live in a communist country...money matters. Hence, I became an accountant...money was my life. But seriously, if money did not matter, what would I do? Is get a cleaning lady, chef, and night nurse on that list...how about take fancy trips to Tahiti with a nanny on hand to sit there with Corbin while I take long walks on the beach with my husband....but best of all....how about pay someone else to carry this baby, so I could "have" him without the stretch marks, mood swings, and extra weight that was "ok" to gain since I was eating for two. That reminds me...where did I put that Butterfinger? ;)
We've hit a pretty big milestone in our house recently. Corbin started his first day of preschool yesterday. Yup, my puking, non-stop screaming baby is now a tantrum throwing, non-stop screaming toddler...and best of all...someone else's responsibility for 4 hours a day, two days a week..woot, woot.....PARTY AT THE BRAY HOUSE! Oh, sorry..what I really meant was....tear :'( Ha ha. In all seriousness, I was anxious about it. Trying to make sure his new nap time was right for when I would pick him up and setting up a playdate with a new friend from school, so he would have a familiar face on the first day. I wanted to make this transition as easy as possible for him. And what seemed like a blink of an eye....6.5 months flew by (since the time we registered him)...as did 1.5 years....and it was time for orientation. His orientation was in a private room at the Chik-Fil-A right by our house and after playing with play dough and painting his tote bag...daddy came to play on the playground and eat lunch. He did well for the most part, but was slightly anxious when it was his turn to paint. I figured it would take some time for him to warm up to the teacher and after lunch..he gave her a hug right before he bolted out the door. Typical man ;)
His first day came and he actually slept in a little bit. We had been talking about school the whole day before and continued all morning. Seriously...to the point where Richard was like "I think he gets the point", but I wanted him to remember where we were going, so he didn't feel ambushed when we got there. We brought "green bear" with us and talked about how if he got scared or wanted to cry, he could just hug "green bear" to feel better. When we got there, he told me he was scared :( , but he was ready (he seriously said this). So we got out of the car and headed towards the door. When Miss Shelley answered, we made a big fuss...yay for school...I walked in, but Corby didn't. He just stood there, hugging "green bear" and then told us he was scared again. It was so sad. But once the kids started to arrive, he got excited, and then his new buddy, Fletcher, got there and he was downright happy :) He even gave me my 3 kisses (our family's tradition..they stand for "I love you") and said "love you" as I was leaving. He loved it. Not a tear from my big kid. I was so proud. Unfortunately, mommy was not so lucky and was very sad picturing him all wrapped up in his swaddle as he ran back to read a book with Miss Shelley. :( Tear....
I spent so much time concentrating on trying to make it easier on Corbin that I never even thought that it would be tough on me. The pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc on my emotions lately and poor Richard is left to pick up the pieces. My current breakdown was about how no one understands how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. How people think that there is this abundance of freedom that comes with raising your children on a 24/7 basis. I listed off all the sacrifices made the day I quit my job....from going to the bathroom alone...to driving with the windows down and radio up....to showering while a lil' one stares at your privates (only to later announce that Mommy's wee-wee has fur..sorry for the TMI, but seriously..already??). It's not easy. But with motherhood...whether you work or whether you stay home...you face a huge identity crisis. If money didn't matter, who am I? If I'm not defined by my work...if all the years I spent defining who I will be (without the knowledge of how much it will be changed by a baby), meant nothing....who am I? I've taken baby steps in realizing who I am as a mother and since I stay home, it is a struggle I face on a daily basis...with no real break. What choices I make and how well I do this job...define me. Just like it did when I was an accountant. All of a sudden, I had to let go and walk away. Be who I was when Corbin was not attached to my hip. Who I was when I could just go to the store without a bribe to get in the seat..get out of the seat...sit nicely in the cart...don't touch that...get back in the seat...crap its time for lunch...what am I going to make for lunch...crap its nap time...damn...I have to sit here until he gets up. And as I stood outside that preschool door. I had no idea what to do or where to go.
I could never help anyone without kids understand what this is like. How lost you feel most of the time...how every part of your comfort zone is ripped away...how it feels like every time you get to a point where it feels "normal", you start from scratch one more time. I know this isn't the last time this will happen. I know that in 3 months, my world will be turned upside down one more time...then Hudson will start preschool...they will both start kindergarten...and each time, I will be left to figure out who I am in this new phase of my life. I had a constant when I worked...things in my life might have changed...I might have bought a house...I might have gotten married....I might have gotten pregnant, but every Monday morning..I got up at the same time, I walked through the same office door, and I went home at the same time. It's easy to go back to your constant...hold onto something. This is my challenge. As a SAHM. But its also what I love. I have learned more about who I am in the past 2 years than in the previous 26. Stripped away what wasn't important and embraced what was. I don't think you ever really know who you are, but who you are in that moment...that circumstance...that "job". I showed up, with Richard, to pick up Corbin just a little early. I had been counting down the minutes. I didn't want to drive with the windows down and the radio up...don't really mind the visitor in the bathroom. I couldn't wait for that moment when he ran around the corner, saw us, and started jumping up and down yelling "mommy". Maybe freedom means something different to everyone, but my freedom is knowing that at the end of the day...no matter what life has handed me...we play outside until bath time...make daddy "coffee" with cups and the running water...we sing a "put on your jammies, so you don't get cold" song...and give 3 kisses before daddy reads a bedtime story. It may not sound like much....it may not be super exciting to some....it may not be a corner office with my name on the door....but its who I am....right now :) And I think I'll take it.