People ask me how I like being a stay-at-home-mom, and the first word that comes to mind is “dreamy.”
Ever since Ava came home almost 5 years ago, I’ve wanted to find a way to spend more time with her. The obvious answer would be to quit working and stay at home, but in order to live where we lived and do the things we enjoy, that wasn’t possible. When we first filled out the adoption paperwork for Evan, we said we could take a child up to 4 years old. Assuming we would get an older child and thinking he might need some extra time and attention for attachment, we decided I should stay home for at least one year to make sure the transition went well. In order for us to live on one income (and pay off some debt) we had to move out of Boulder.
As much as I love Boulder, I have to admit, this stay at home life is pretty incredible. As a teacher and mother, I found life to be a little stressful- work was never done and I was never the mom I wanted to be. Now, there is very little stress in my life, I have time to do fun things with the kids, and do a few things for myself. I take Ava to school three days a week and her school is in Boulder, so Evan and I hang out in Boulder going for hikes, jogging, playing at parks, meeting friends, and swimming. Two days a week Nathan takes Ava to school, so Evan and I can stay in our pajamas until 11am if we want to.
Our days are often full, packed with activity. In the winter after picking Ava up at 11:20 from school we would go sledding or swimming, or come home to do some sort of craft project or bake. Now that the weather’s nice, I take a lunch and we have a 2-3 hour picnic with friends after school or we come home and play outside with the neighbor friends.
Sure there are things that still don’t get done like cleaning, laundry, paperwork, thank you notes, and house projects, but we are living the life I would love to give our kids, one that’s relaxed, allows for time to discover, and one where we are all having lots of fun together.
And, as much as I love it, as much as I know it’s good for the kids and even Nathan, we’ve decided I will go back to work in August. It was an incredibly hard decision to make, one that we took a few months to discuss. In the end, we realized that our need for adventure, our need to experience life to the fullest costs more than we can save on one salary. We have so many dreams and goals for our lives together. We want to bike through Europe, hike the Appalachian trail, live in China for at least a month, sail the western coast of the US, publish books and make movies (Nathan’s dream), own a cabin in the mountains, show our children the world by visiting every continent (except maybe Antarctica), give money to causes we believe in, and if we still have money after all of that, send our kids to college.
I feel so lucky to have had this year at home with the kids. I also know that I still get to be a SAHM two and a half months out of the year while I’m on summer break, so I can’t complain too much. And finally, I am lucky I have a career that I actually enjoy and feel passionate about- I just have to figure out how to be a good teacher and a good mom at the same time.