This blog is the story of my journey from lawyer to stay-at-home mommy. After finding out I was pregnant with baby #2, we decided that we would give it a go for awhile with me staying home with the kids. I worked after having our first child Deacon, so this experience will be a new one for me. I decided to blog mainly so that I would have a memorialization of the process since those first few months with a new baby are a fog anyway. But years from now, whether I never made it back or whether I am spending my days in suits and heels, I want to be able to look back and see what God is teaching me in these days of going from the courtroom to the playroom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Forbidden Question

In our marriage, we've decided that there are several words and topics that are off the table for discussion. For example, no one is allowed to talk divorce or bring up negative things from the past before we even knew each other. So, as I am now entering into my third month as a stay-at-home mom, I have added a question to that no-no list, and that question is....So, what all did you do today? (Gasp!) This question is generally asked while shaking one's head as one looks confusedly around a messy house with messy kids yelling wildly and demanding things like gummy bears, or "yummies" as my son says. Never in my wildest imagination could I have anticipated such a seemingly benign question would ignite some serious fireworks for yours truly.

Used to be that when I got home from work, I could answer that question with precision and tangible evidence of all the things I had done that day. Took a depostion. Settled a case. Prepared for a mediation. Drafted a motion. Now...well, I am lucky if there is something other than dinner on the table to show that I have, in fact, made a contribution to our household rather than eating bonbons and watching Days of Our Lives.

The other day, Matthew sauntered into the house just as I was performing some mundane household chore while holding a crying baby. He innocently posed that dreaded question, and as we say in the South, bless his heart. He didn't even know what hit him. If you have ever stayed at home to raise children, you understand why this question is so very loaded. Laundry magically appears when you have just finished washing, drying and putting away every single piece in the laundry basket. You find toys you didn't know you had and they have to be put away again. And again. I mean, forget contemplating whether a tree really falls in the forest if no one is there to hear it. Try figuring out whether you actually did, in fact, clean a trail of pee from your son's expensive Pottery Barn rug (aghh!!) to the bathroom if the carpet ultimately ends up looking the same as it did when your spouse left for work that morning.

Perhaps my frustration really stems from what I perceive as my inadequate answer. Most days I can point to some half complete laundry and maybe a somewhat decent dinner as evidence of what I have done. Oh, and does it count that I know all the words to the theme song for Jake and the Neverland Pirates? Seriously, can I get an "amen" from all you careerwomen-turned-mommies out there? Don't leave me hanging on this one. Learning to leave behind the pats on the back from a satisfying work life only to feel discouraged when your two year old tells you that you smell bad can be daunting. In my defense, I had just been for a long run.

So, as my husband wiped the verbal beating off his face that recent evening, I began to really think about coming to terms with what my days will look like over the next few months. And if I can teach my son something new, or give my infant daughter the quality time with me that she wouldn't otherwise get if I were working, then I have accomplished something magnificent with my day. If I can teach them about Jesus and demonstrate His love, then I am providing mightly for their future. If I can look back and say that I have savored every moment with these wildly fabulous kids before they grow up and consider me no longer cool, then I maybe I can be more secure in answering the forbidden question. Maybe then it can come off the no-no list. 

7 comments:

  1. These days where you wear yourself out each day and don't see much in the way of results pass so quickly (in hindsight). My first is finishing his sophomore year of college and my youngest is finishing his first year of middle school. In ways it's nice to have the time and peace and quiet to get all those jobs done that seemed to always be half done when they were young. But if I could I would love to go back and enjoy one more day blowing bubbles or watching roly-poly bug ball up to hide. You won't regret the time spent being at home with them. In fact, it won't be too long until that "question" will come off the no-no list and you'll proudly say "I raised my kids today!" And those kids are really blessed to have parents who want to, and can, have a parent home full time. Good luck!
    (PS... I'm Ann Bradford, your second cousin???)

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  2. This is a fantastic post! I have been a stay at home mom since the birth of my first. I have 3 under 4yrs old. I too hate this statement when the hubby comes home and innocently asks what I've been doin. I've trained him to first say, "wow looks like you've been busy" and then I find the what did you do today not as harsh. My response is also better. I think it is great you are staying at home with your kids. Well, from one worn out mommy to another, God bless you and good luck!

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  3. Welcome to full-time Mommyhood, Jamie! It takes some getting used to, for sure. For me, the hardest part what that there was no cadence to the week. No "if I can just make it to Friday, I'll be OK" since everyday is pretty much the same. I've heard that it's the "hardest job you'll ever love" and most days, I agree with that assessment. :)

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  4. Love your post here! It took one day of swapping places with Sara to realize how much a stay at home mom truly does!

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  5. Welcome to stay-at-home-moms Club! It is the hardest, most under-appreciated job in our country, but it has the most rewards! Your reward instead of a paycheck is your children looking up into your face and saying 'Mommy you're the best Mommy in the whole world" after a long day. Hang in there... Jesus will give you grace for the moment. After staying at home since starting a family (about 8 years) I have to tell you that it is the most rewarding job, knowing we are raising tomorrow's leaders with hearts for the Lord.
    Denise Steyaert~ high school volleyball
    steyaertfamily.blogspot.com

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  6. Love the blog! I've got 3 weeks of maternity leave left and I'm wondering the same things about my days at home. What did I get done?
    My mom has posed this question "Do you remember if our house was clean when you were two, or three or four years old" My response "Um.. No". Her closing argument "NO!, but you do remember reading books, going to the pool and the memories we made!" I have no doubt you are a wonderful mommy. Miss you and love you my FL friend!

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  7. Don't sweat it...just have him stay home a whole day with both of them, that's what it took in our house!
    The first Saturday I worked a long shift, and my awesome hubby was home with the 3 y.o. & the 4 m.o., I came home from work and he just shook his head..."I just don't know how you get anything done!" He's so thankful when he comes home now - much better perspective!
    Truly, I married a great man, and I'm sure you did too!
    Take care & Enjoy the ride!

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