I've been at home full-time since November. Six months. Doesn't really seem like six months. I haven't completed nearly all I thought I would. I honestly thought that by now I'd be twiddling my thumbs with boredom.
I've almost always worked outside the home doing something. When I first got married, I was in college full-time then I taught school. Even when the kids were babies I taught part-time. I liked it and I liked the money that I made. Truth be told, sometimes it was easier to go to work than it was to stay at home. Sorry working moms, but I had someone clean my house and I ate out a lot. It was fun to go to work and sit at lunch with my friends and not have to wipe anyones face! Sure I missed my kids, but I only worked for three hours a day, usually during nap times. It was a nice escape. I started staying at home full time when my daughter was eighteen months old and my son was three. I began to miss being with them as they began to skip that morning nap. We also were planning a move back to Oklahoma to be closer to family so it was a good time to stay home.
I really struggled after the first year or so being a stay home mom. I'm a pretty busy person and I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I finally realized that I was doing the most important job ever, the job that in fifty years will still be paying off, and that job is mothering. I was a teacher to my most important students ever, my own children. We colored, playdohed, dressed up (I'm so glad the UPS man just rang the bell and didn't expect me to answer it with all those colored clips in my hair!), sang, collected bugs (and still do) and everything else a mom normally does with preschoolers. We made volcanoes, mento cokes, finger paints, bath salts and more to learn about the world around us. We made countless dinners for friends at church and neighbors who were going through a rough patch or had a new baby to care for. We volunteered at church to help others in our community.
I realize that all my hard work turned my two kids into smart, caring, inquisitive young people who, I hope, learned what being a mom and dad means from my husband and I. No other job pays less but no other job has such lasting repercussions as being a parent. The big problem is that by the time you think you've figured out how to do it, you job of training is past.
I still have many years to go in this job. I'm not perfect and if you asked my kids to give me a job performance rating some days it would not be so great. I guess you can't be perfect at a job that lasts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for fifty years or so! Some days you're just going to be off a bit. Oh well, I'll just keep reminding myself of that as I get through another day of teen parenting!