Monday, June 6, 2011

2 years and wow is life different...

It has been 2 years since my precious little baby entered the world. Although, she's not much of a baby anymore..she is walking (quite often running), talking, talking, talking and laughing toddler who has a great sense of humor and is far too smart for her own good. However, it has been 2 years since this little lady entered into our world and she has helped to change our lives in more ways than she will ever know.

From the moment she was born, I knew that I had to live a better life and be a better version of myself for her. This was something I always wanted to do for myself but I had a fear of losing the weight I knew I needed to and to also remove the toxic negative personalities in my life who I had been dragging around with me for such a long period of time. I had a fear that if I for some reason moved away from these people that I would be at a loss for "friends" in my life, as I had unfortunately known them for many, many years and in a way had a long history with them. However, none of them in the 14 or so years that I knew them brought to my life the joy that this tiny little person ever did and it was when I realized that it was this joy that I wanted to have in my life more so than anything, that I was able to take the leap I knew I needed to.

In a way, she saved me from myself and now 2 years later my life is a completely different version of what it used to be. I have let go of the "corporate" individual who I used to be and finally embraced being a stay at home Mom and the ups and downs that come along with it. I have made the most wonderful, fabulous girlfriends who are also (many of them) stay at home Moms but who I have found I have more in common with than those who I knew for so many years. Each of them brings joy, laughter and strength to my world that I have not had in many years and I now understand what the term "true friendship" means.

It is amazing what happens in your life when you release yourself from the negative personalities that you have possibly held on to for so long...believing that this was the best you could do because when you realize that the world is a huge, wonderful place full of people who not only share your interests but who encourage you to pursue yours. I feel for those who I know who have not been able to do this yet with their lives and who continue to let the words of other influence their thoughts and actions but I know that it doesn't matter how often they ask anyone on how to accomplish these things on their own that they never really will until they are truly ready in their own lives or have a reason given to them to do so.

In a way, becoming a Mom was the best thing to ever happen to me and looking back over the past 2 years of my little girls life, there isn't a thing that I would change and can only hope that as she continues to grow that she knows every day what an amazing person she is so that when she is older she knows to only surround herself with the most positive people she can in her life and to know that it is the voice inside her own head that she needs to listen to most...not that of others around her as in the end, this is her life to lead and as long as she is doing what makes her happy, it will be beautiful.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Mommy Time" aka ME time.

Almost 2 years into my now somewhat new role as a Mom, I have learned that it is perfectly alright in fact, necessary on most days to make time for myself. For about the first 20 months of my daughters life, I didn't really grasp this fact and part of me would always feel somewhat guilty when I would go out with my girlfriends and leave her with her Father or my Husband and I would go out for dinner and leave her with her Grandparents. I now realize, how wrong I was...

Toddlers and children in general are exhausting during much of the day and whether you are a SAHM or one that works outside of the house doesn't matter...we still MUST take time for ourselves.

However, when I became a SAHM I took it upon myself to think that now as I was the parent and 1/2 of the marriage who was at home all of the time that it was up to me to always have the laundry done, house clean, dinner on the table and all errands run so that my husband could just come home and relax or we could just have fun together as a family on the weekends. Unfortunately, over the course of the 20 or so months having this sort of mindset was not the most positive thing for myself or my family and not only did it create tension but it made me somewhat bitter towards my husband.

How many times did I rattle off to him over the course of a week just what it is that I did around the house or with our daughter that he did not and then harp on him that he didn't understand where I was coming from as he got to "escape to work for 40 hours a week" while I was at home with a baby/toddler 24/7. It took me until our daughter was about 20 months old to realized that the only person doing this to me, was me. I was trying to so hard to try and be everything to everyone in my life that I forgot to take time for one other very important

What made me realize that this had to begin to change was remembering a friend who I had for many years. She had two children, not far apart in age from each other and I saw her try and juggle it all. Unfortunately for her, she did not have very much help in the day to day care of her children from her husband and she was therefore forced to do it all while he spent hours sitting on the couch doing God knows what apart from being a "lazy bastard" as she often described him. I watched her lose herself completely while trying to make sure it all got done and at the same time saw part of her die every time he belittled her for something not being done instead of stepping up to the plate and becoming a hands on Father and Husband so that she could have a break.

I thought of her, looked around my house, at my Husband and realized "my life is not like that, I have a Husband who will help if I just let him". I also realized that I did not want to become like that friend of mine and that if I wasn't going to, I had to give up some control and allow my Husband to participate in the raising of our child and taking care of things around the house that he actually wanted to.

So, we came up with a plan that when my Husband got home from work, he would take our daughter for at least an hour and they would do "Daddy/Daughter" stuff together while I did whatever I wanted to or needed to. Something as simple as being able to check my email in peace and quiet took on new meaning or going to the mall to get new shoes without having to push a stroller or lug a diaper bag felt freeing. Going to the bookstore and actually having the time to look at books and find one that I was really interested in was liberating or just getting out in the fresh air for a short walk was enough to put me back in the right frame of mind.

This hasn't always been easy and there are days when I don't get the time to myself that I necessarily want or crave due to one thing or another and while that might bother me on occasion, it is at those moments that I try to remember how lucky I am and remember that friend I once knew. See, not all relationships or friendships are actually meant to last a lifetime. Some have expiration dates that we don't necessarily see coming but that we can look back on and understand why that person was a part of our lives for the time that they were and continue to hope for the best for them.

As we all know, little girls are raised to become women who can have it all in life which is all well and good but at the same time we are raised to believe that spending too much time on ourselves is a sign of selfishness. This sort of warped mentality has a tendency to back fire on us when we become Wives and Mothers and have to then try and figure out how to incorporate these new roles that we have taken on into who we are and what, if anything, it is that we need to change about ourselves in order to become the best Wife and/or Mother and while it isn't always easy, one of the things we need to learn after we take on these roles is that we don't really have to change ourselves at all...we just have to add to ourselves and perhaps get in the habit of allowing ourselves to ask for help more often and to let someone else deal with the day to day messes for a bit.

These days, I find I do my best thinking while I am out for an afternoon run. Just me...not me with my daughter in the jogging stroller but...just me. I feel my head literally clear as my footsteps hit the pavement and whatever music I am in the mood for is cranked up on my MP3 player and it is at these moments that I smile behind my sunglasses and realize just how happy taking the time for a little bit of "selfishness" makes me... :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The start of something or rather someone new...

In becoming a Mother, I never thought that the early days of this journey would have taught me so much or changed me so much. 17 months ago, I was a rather different person to who I am now but it is only now over the course of the past 6-8 weeks, that I have felt as if my eyes are beginning to open up to who it is that I really have the potential to be.

I am starting to feel as if our lives are finally starting to calm down around here for the first time since our little bundle (not so much of a bundle anymore) came into the world. My life no longer seems to revolve around a constant barage of mounting laundry due to spit-up stained clothes and the general day to day mess of caring for an infant. We have far less sleepless nights now than we did during those initial early days (thank goodness as I am someone who needs my sleep) and I find that we have settled into somewhat of a routine and balance between our play group, running errands, visiting friends and spending time with family.

At the moment, I feel as if I am only just coming out of the post-baby fog that I have had my head in for many months. It is as if I am finally able to stand up straight, shake my head, wipe the grit out of my eyes and look at the world around me for the first time in over a year. Part of this is because since I had my baby, I have been on a mission to lose not only the baby weight that I had gained but also the additional weight that I had been carrying around prior to even becoming pregnant.

The battle of the scale is one that I have fought for many, many years. I have been up and I have been down. At my heaviest, I was a size 22 and I still have the pants to prove it. Now though, after successfully losing around 80lbs I feel as if I am finally winning at this fight that I have been in with myself both mentally, emotionally and physically however the person who has emerged from this weight loss process is not the person who began it.

I feel lighter in more ways than just one and I feel as if my view on things going on around me is clearer. I am different now not only in the way that I dress but also in the level of confidence that I have and how it is that I choose to express this. Having my daughter was the catalyst that I needed for so many years to make me really decided to step foot on this path and to once and for all stick with it. I have had to mentally learn to view my relationship with food not as a "diet" but as "lifestyle". I joined Weight Watchers and have to admit that it saved me...from myself and more importantly has hopefully helped to guarantee that my daughter will have her Mother around for a very, very long time to come.

For me, being 5ft 4" tall and as size 22 was far from healthy no matter how much I tried to tell myself that "I was fine" or that "This is how I was meant to be" and it is only now that I look back at the person who I was then and see just how much of myself I was hiding from the world. I look at my wedding photos and barely recognize the person starting back at me as ME because that person is not who I see now when I look in the mirror.

When I started on this journey to live a healthier life and lose the weight, I never thought that it would impact my life in the way that it has. Yes, I knew there would be changes physically and that I would have to buy new clothes (yay!) but I never knew that it would affect things such as my friendships with those that I have known for many years. I never thought that by losing the weight, I would want to live an overall better life not only by what I put in my mouth but also by making smarter decisions on the sorts of personalities that I choose to surround myself with. I know that in life, there is an ebb and flow to all relationships but for me some of the decisions I have had to make in regards to these relations has not been easy as I have felt guilty about changing as a person and wanting to experience new things or do things that I have not done in so many years only because I was not physically able to do so.

Carrying around so much extra weight for me was like dragging a semi-truck behind me and the more loaded that the cargo space became, the worse I felt about myself. Now though, I no longer feel this way and I know that is because I have been able to unhook myself from this albatross and metaphorically, leave it by the side of the road.

Due to this, I am not 100% sure anymore which direction this blog will be going in. Will be the writings of a Mother going through Toddler-hood for the first time or those of a woman discovering new things about her life now that a page has been turned and a new chapter started? Will it be a sort of journal between who I was and who I am now with a few Toddler related bantterings thrown in for good measure? Who knows. Or, will it be a combination of all of this and with that being said, the start of something else new in my life? Perhaps....

What I do know though as I look at the time and realize how late it is that tomorrow is another day and that I am looking forward to experiencing something new. I look forward to spending time with good friends and spending time with my daughter...even if she is far more interested in either Elmo, Ernie or Grover at the moment rather than the changes occurring in her Mother's life at the moment and her own positive affect in this area....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Times flying...

Wow! It has been a long time since I did any writing on this blog. Seems that I unintentionally went on hiatus for the summer and now that it will officially be fall as of later on this evening that is it back to attempting to document my thoughts as a new Mom.

New Mom....15.5 months later, that term seems almost foreign to me as I am not sure if I can even be considered a "New Mom" anymore. I am definitely learning new things each and every day and doing my best to overcome daily challenges with my daughter but the term "New Mom" isn't necessarily how I would describe myself any longer. In a way, they should perhaps have different levels of Mommy-hood, kind of like how they do with swimming lessons. However instead of moving from Guppie to Goldfish to Dolphin and you could move from "Sleep-deprived Mom" to "Chasing after a crawler Mom" to "In teething hell Mama" and so on. Wouldn't it be nice if being a Mom came with those sorts of tangible milestones and ones that we could look back on or cross off of a "to-do" list. Wouldn't it be nice if being a Mom meant having something physical that you could touch or wear on your chest as a badge of honor to say "Yes! I accomplished that". Sort of like a merit badge in bright colors with sparkles or an award given to Moms for successfully potty training their toddlers? Would be nice.

However, what I have learned in the past 15.5 months is that being a Mom does not come with those sorts of physical rewards. I will never get a raise or bonus for teaching my daughter how to hold her toothbrush or for successfully pulling sticky bits of peanut butter out of her hair. I will never get a special parking space one month for teaching her that it is NOT o.k. to try and flush ones books down the toilet or any extra words of commendation for showing her how sharing is good and explaining over and over that it is not nice to pinch someone while saying "ow" to them. And you know what? I am o.k. with that.

I feel that in the past 15.5 months and in particular over the course of the past 3 months or so that I have come into my own more as a Mom. I find that I question some of my decisions less and that I am learning to trust in my instincts and my gut feeling more. I have learned that being a Mom really is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day a year job. One never gets to take a vacation from being "Mommy" and even when you ARE on vacation, you are still Mommy - especially if they are with you. It will never be quite as easy (at least not for a very long time) for us to just jump in the car and "go" and that is also fine because I know that no matter where I am at any given moment, that I will always be a Mom....and being a Mom to my little monkey in particular is one of the greatest gifts and most amazing surprises that I could have never imagined.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mama doesn't get a sick day...

Whenever I started a new job, one of the first things I would is check out the vacation policy, personal time off and sick days. At my last place of employment, I got 5 sick and personal days...yes, they were kind enough to combine them in one lump for us. At the time, I remember thinking how unfair this was and that we really should be able to split them up or get more.

Flash forward 4.5 years from the last time I began working for an organization to this past Sunday when my husband and I both came down with some sort of horrible stomach bug within about 5 hours of each other. This was the first time that I have really been sick since having our daughter almost a year ago and boy was I not fully prepared for the ramifications of this.

I was in the habit of being able to take care of me first i.e. lots of sleep and not much else. Not with a baby and especially not with a baby who contracted her own fun-filled version of this tummy bug herself. Initially, I got sick then the baby and then my husband came down with what I had all within 24 hours of each other. We think we know where we picked it up however one can never be truly sure however it is not the first time we have come away from this particular place and either myself or my husband come down with a cold or stomach bug 2-3 days later.

Last Sunday was a very long day in which my husband and I took care of the little one in shifts who apart from her tummy issues was otherwise perfectly happy...thank God. However it didn't matter that we weren't feeling well, she still wanted to play or needed this that and the other and of course we had to take care of her first. Coincidentally, this was also the same day where she really began to stand and pull herself up on her own so it was also an afternoon spent putting things away and out of the "wee ones" reach. It is amazing how long those little arms get once they are standing!

Come Monday, we weren't much better off however I seemed to get the brunt of it so even though the hubby stayed home from work he kindly did the lions share of the work that day. My daughter and I then spent the rest of our week in a sort of cave like environment in the house waiting until she ready to be taken back out into the world again. It was a beautiful week - warm and sunny and we had several playdates and outings planned which had to be cancelled due to the nasty bug that had invaded our world.

After several days of fighting her to take fluids - no to Pedialyte - yes to Gatorade and to be taken off of the BRAT diet we thought we had cleared the hurdle on Thursday only to wake up Friday morning and realize "mmmmm...not so much" So, again our plans were cancelled and it is only today, Saturday that we finally got to return to the land of the living!

It is at a time like this when I am really glad to be a SAHM and be able to fully devote 100% of my day to her to ensure that she is well. Sure there were times when I was bored out of my mind (spent a lot of time online emailing and on FB) and the day to day tasks became incredibly mundane. However there were pluses as well, my house is now super duper clean, I finally got the guest room reorganized and we moved the baby's room around. I also relearned the enjoyment of being on our patio and how nice it is sometimes just to sit and read a book.

Things that I would not have been able to do had I otherwise been working as I would have been worried about taking time off etc. It's funny - even when she is sick, this little one is teaching me to appreciate my life as it is now and how lucky I really am.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

338 days young

Today, I realized that in a mere 27 days my beautiful baby girl will be a year old. Of course, I am actually fully aware that her birthday is June 1st as I was obviously there for this miraculous occasion but to know that she is closer in age to actually being a year old...celebrating a birthday than just 3, 6 or even 9 months makes me sit back and reflect.

People always tell you when you are pregnant "The time will fly" or "Before you know it she (or he) will be in college" however hearing those things and experiencing them first slightly different. College is still a long way off, but if the next few years go by as fast or (gasp) faster than this one did, I will literally feel like I blinked and probably wonder where the years went. Perhaps that is why I treasure each and every moment with my precious baby girl.

11 months old is an amazing age! She is way past the point of just needing to be held and cuddled all of the time (although we still have our moments) and she is also much easier to communicate with these days than even a mere 3 months ago. Now when she wants or needs something she points or cries out in a way that we know to mean "bottle", "tired" or "play". She is very independent and does not like you to do anything for her and looks at you with a furrowed brow when you do. At the same time though, she loves to laugh - is such a happy baby and has the most amazing giggle of anyone that I know.

Our little one is learning new things each and every day and I love to sit and watch her just watching the world going on around her. For example, today was a gorgeous sunny day here in Chicago and she and I sat out on our patio where she sat in awe of the leaves blowing in the tree overhead. Every time the wind passed through them her little eyes got wide and she smiled and giggled in appreciation of both the sight and sound. She would then look at me, point up at the tree and say "Mama" as if to say "Look Mama, look...isn't it wonderful!"

Least that is what I tell myself that my genius 11 month old was trying to say to me :-)

Our little Monkey, as we have been calling her since before she was born is becoming quite the adventurer and getting into more and more mischief every day. Just when I think I have moved something far enough away from her little hands she tricks me by learning to stand up by herself with the use of whatever piece of furniture is handy and then half hurling, half launching herself over to whatever it is that she wants to see. Inevitably, she ends up getting what it is and we then have to play the "no" game. It also doesn't matter what it is that she wants, if she gets goes in the mouth. Paper, twigs, grass, old Cheerios that she has dropped on the floor and that have somehow gone under the kitchen rug are dug out and promptly placed in her open mouth. I have had to quickly get over the fear of her biting me with her sharp little teeth (all 6 of them) so as to pry the offending object out of her jaws.

Speaking of jaws, my husband and I have nicknamed out little angel.."The Vampire". She is going through a bit of a biting phase at the moment and it is something that neither of us is really thrilled with however we are doing our best to curtail it as we obviously do not want her to be the child at playgroup or elsewhere to all of a sudden haul off and chomp on another innocent child's arm. As a SAHM, I have quickly learned that Playgroup Bullies are not looked on favorably and nor is the Mother who seems unable to control her child...or at least reprimand them in some manner. Therefore, we are trying to figure out the correct way to discipline an 11 month old as she leans into your shoulder for what we think is a cuddle only to find out that the jaws are open and she is going for our shoulders. This happens moreso when she is really tired and seems to be a sign that it is time for bed, however it is not a habit I want her to have when she is 16 and as she is far too young to have seen the "Twilight" series and I don't actually believe is part Vampire...then it is a habit that we have to nip in the pun intended.

The coolest thing though these days in the eyes of this particular 11 month old...doors. She likes to crawl behind them and swing them open and and and closed to the point where I am truly begining to wonder how she hasn't jammed her fingers yet? Or worse...when will she and how many tears will there be? We had our first bleeding incident a few weeks ago where she crawled across the bathroom floor, slid on her knee and landed face first on the tile. She bit her lip and well, you can imagine the rest. I think she was more upset because of my reaction and although I didn't cry (yay Mom!) I am sure that the look of panic in my eyes didn't help matters one bit. So, I can only live in semi-fear of the day when the little fingers do get jammed in the door and in the meantime am learning to live in a world of closed openings.

Of course, we could probably go to one of the many baby stores and buy some handy dandy - "didn't know we needed this" type of gadget that would prevent the child from playing with the doors however I refuse to get sucked into this marketing scheme. My husband and I went to Babies R Us and stood in front of the wall (yes, wall!) of household baby proofing "necessities" and proceeded to get completely confused by door locks, cabinet latches, electrical outlet covers (who knew there were 10 different outlet is an outlet, right?) and coffee table corner pads. We finally walked out of the store with the outlet covers, some cabinet latches and a couple of larger two sided entertainment door clasp thingies (I believe that IS the technical name) but talked the whole way home about the other ridiculous items on sale for this purpose. Door knob and oven knob covers baffled me as my thought was that by the time the child is old enough to reach either of these things, she should either know what to do with them or know not to turn on the gas. Toilet seat locks...that just sounds dangerous in the middle of the night. Fridge locks? Now, unless she is swinging from the handle of the fridge - I really don't think this is going to be a problem.

We came away realizing that corporations have some people believing that they literally have to pad their entire homes in order to have an infant/toddler but our thought was "she has to go out into the real world someday and that isn't padded necessarily for her comfort or safety - so why go to extremes now?" It also in all honesty, makes ME wonder if we are raising a generation of wimpy kids. I believe that children should be able to touch and explore within reason (as long as it isn't dangerous) as this is the only way that they will learn. I believe that safety is all well and good and that yes, certain precautions should be taken but when I look at the world my sister and I grew up in and that of everyone else from my generation and prior...well, it is a wonder we all survived compared to the semi-padded/pampered world that some of these kids are living in today. I for one, refuse to raise a wimpy kid.

However, with that being said..338 days into parenthood I have realized that I do worry more, I am more cautious and that I put her wants and needs before my own on a regular basis. I am not quite sure when this actually occurred since the first 3 months of her life are pretty much a blur for me but somewhere along the lines, I stopped being so selfish and learned that it really isn't just about me, me, me anymore or even me and my husband it is about her and a family. 339 days ago, I didn't realize that my world had a whole in it..that is until she came along the next day and filled that space and has been filling it ever since.

Each day brings new things to learn, new experiences to have and the possibility of new friends to make. She and I have made some wonderful friends for both of us already through the various groups that we belong to and at times, we Mom's just sit and watch out little ones interact with each other. It is amazing how long you can sit on the grass and just watch them discover new things by themselves and with each other. How they interact at this age and how already, they are beginning to get into all sorts of mischief together. Just give some of them (including our daughter) a year and the antics will seem to some to be complete chaos. Perhaps they will be..but something tells me that for me and the other Moms that I know that we won't see it that way, we will probably see it as another wonderful stage in the development in our children and continue to (at least on occasion) sit back and wonder and marvel.

For now though, I am holding on to every previous minute of the remaining 27 days as I know my little ones first year will never come again. That these "firsts" are just that and that once they are done and repeated and repeated that they are no longer firsts and will at that point be life skills. Therefore, I document everything that I can in her baby book and through photography and video almost to the point of exhaustion. The first year is precious (as are all of the ones to come) as it contains so many milestones that I want her to have a timeline of them in years to least that is what I tell myself. In reality though, I think it is more for that I won't forget and so that in years to come, I can look back and see my precious baby girl as she is now and in some way experience all of those "firsts"...again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SAHM acronym that I had no idea existed until after I had my daughter and is not someone that I thought I would ever be and nor did I intend to. SAHM is used on websites, by bloggers and in general day to day internet lingo (typically by women) and in reference to a particular aspect of ones life. SAHM means Stay At Home Mom and is something that for me, was hard to swallow, partially out of my comprehension and not something I planned for.

I didn't have difficulty understanding this because I didn't know any Stay at Home Mom's..quite the opposite. In fact, I am the product of a woman who stayed home with her children while her husband worked. Growing up, I felt this had it's pluses and it's minuses however it was not something that I aspired to be. Not because I thought any less of my Mother for not being a career woman but because I grew up thinking that I had to "have it all" or could do better by "having it all".

Having it all can be viewed in many different ways and varies depending on whom you are speaking to. To some, it means having a high-powered job and lots of very expensive material things, To others it means having less material objects and being more spiritually connected. Then there are those like me, who felt that having it all meant being both Career Woman and Mother and thinking that I could somehow give 100% in both areas. I believed it would be relatively easy to balance both of these things especially since I would be able to put my baby into daycare Monday through Friday and then really only have to parent in the evening and weekends. Keep in mind, this is back before I really had a full understanding of sleep deprivation or just how long it takes an infant ready to go out or how what seem to be the most simple of tasks can take forever to complete due to constant interuptions. In my head, I knew that I would still be a Mom while I was at work but that there would be someone else taking care of my child and felt that this would somehow make things easier or "ease the burden".

How naive I was. How little did I truly understand about the bond between Mother and Child. How immature and selfish of me to think in this manner. How did I not know then that when push came to shove and the thought of this was more than just that and a reality that what I had always believed and thought to be true would be tested. I didn't know that sheer possibility of this would (and still does) make me feel physically nauseous or make my heart hurt so much that I was in tears. I have never been much of a crier but since the birth of my daughter I have found that I can cry very easily at some things and ones that I never would have before...and then there are those that are unexpected and that catch me off guard. However that is now and this was then...

Still though, I wasn't ready to comprehend being a SAHM. In my mind, Stay at Home Mom's were women who had worked at some point but then decided not to pursue their careers further after their children were born out of some basic human instinct. In my mind, I didn't view those women as having a "job" and although I knew they were raising children to be good law-abiding citizens and successful adults I felt that they were somehow (and I am ashamed to admit)...yes, less. Less than someone like me because they had bought into some 1960's "Donna Reed" stereo-type that this is what they had to do. I pictured them at home cleaning house, doing dishes, folding laundry, watching the odd soap opera here and there and then driving the kids to and from school and then on to what after-school activity there might be for that particular day all to come home and cook dinner for their husband who was out in what I deemed as "the real world". I never realized that not only did they still have jobs but they were doing the hardest job in the world, making the least amount of money for it and that it was a 24/7 position. There are no nights, no weekends, no vacations and very few breaks for the SAHM in fact and as others have said before she is CEO of the family and perhaps this sort of position can't be given a monetary earnings figure because it is still so far out of the understanding of many...including who I was.

They say (whoever "they" are) that "life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" and that is what was happening to me in spring 2009. Not only was life growing inside of me during the times when I was still insisting that I had to have it all but it was changing all around me. The economy was suffering and the company I worked for was collapsing around me. Many times, I felt like I was on a sinking ship and before it all came to head and tipped from one end to the other and finally settled down into the murky abyss I remember wondering where my life preserver was and how we would "survive" things. Although, we saw it coming (the owners, my colleagues and even my husband and I)...we didn't really think it would and therefore we went on with the plan to find appropriate daycare for our yet unborn child.

In mid-April 2009, I sat in the living room of the woman that we were considering to look after our child. She herself was a SAHM who had been an Accountant in her pre-Mommy days but who was now home with her daughter and son and wanted to bring on a child during the day to care for as extra income for her family. I sat there thinking "wow, she's really nice and seems like she is pretty come she can't seem to get a job doing something else besides this?" In other words "how come she can't get a "real" job".

I write this and sit here shaking my head as I now know that this wonderful woman wasn't settling for "less" she was trying to do more for her family without making her children have to go without less time with their Mother. In other words and in her own way...she also was trying to have it all but without giving up what was truly important to her. In a way, she was a bigger person than I as she wasn't willing to sacrifice what was true in her heart and soul just for a much larger bank account, bigger house or nicer cars. She realized that what her children would value most about their childhoods in years to come would not be the material things but the actual time they got with their Mother, the things she taught them and the emotional connection they shared.

I am not bashing daycare providers or those that choose to or have to put their children into these types of facilities...we almost went down that path but while we were planning to do this, our life was changing around us and it wasn't until about three months ago that I began to come to this understanding and ultimately realize the profound affect it had on my life. It has taken a series of events in our personal life to have me become a Stay at Home Mom and it has taken many conversations with other women (including my own Mother) to only begin to understand the level of responsibility this comes with or just how much of myself I will have to change. However, I have also learned recently that it does not mean that I need to "sacrifice" me, what makes me who I am, my core beliefs and/or the values, dreams and ambitions that I had prior to taking on this new role in my life.

I belong to a playgroup for pre-walkers and have met some wonderful women through this..some whom I am still getting to know and others who I truly believe are turning into wonderful friends. During these 2-2.5 hour weekly or bi-weekly get together's we talk as Moms and as women to each other while trying to wrangle the kids. Initially the conversations were pretty basic - getting to know each other etc. but recently and as we have got more comfortable with each other, we have all started to open up on deeper levels. We were talking the other week about going back to work and the when and hows of it when suddenly a few of us actually admitted (out loud) that this is not something we were wanting to rush in to. For the time being and the near future that we just wanted to be with our children and spending this valuable time with them.

I remember sitting on the living room floor and almost feeling myself exhale. I felt like it was all of a sudden o.k. for me to be thinking that I would rather be a SAHM instead of a Mom who also had a career and didn't immediately rush back to work after 3 months and put my baby in daycare just because that is what was expected and what has become more common than not these days. It was probably only then that I started to really relax around these women and let my guard down as I realized they were more like me than I even knew and not only did I not think any less of them but I was proud to be one of them.

With these thoughts running through my head, I then went to my bi-weekly MOPS meeting. The speaker who met with us discussed the transition from ones life before becoming a Mother to what it can be like after you are a Mother especially as one who stays home. Many of her points hit home with me and hard however I assumed I was the only one but as I looked around the room of women who I sat with, I saw many of them also nodding their heads in agreement with this woman and at the same points where I was also nodding my head. I finally felt like there was some sort of voice to this particular transition that I was going through and as if someone was saying to me "It's okay to feel this way, it's normal for some and it is also alright to embrace this new life of yours".

That was my problem...I hadn't learned to embrace being a Stay at Home Mom and nor was I necessarily comfortable with the acronym "SAHM". I felt like I was lost in this new ocean of Motherhood and that it was wrong to grieve about my life before compared to now and I felt guilty that I even thought this way when I had this beautiful baby to take care of and love and enjoy. Over the past week or so though, I have been giving more and more thought to this new chapter in my life and have realized that it is now time to turn the page and really immerse myself in this. I have come to understand that I am no longer on that sinking ship - that is over and done with. In a way when that "ship" did sink it was also my life preserver as it enabled me to have this new part of my life and tap into parts of myself that I never knew existed.

Looking at things now that I feel I have come through the dark waters and am on the other side, I can see how being a woman who is staying home with her daughter has made me more emotionally aware and sensitive to others needs. It has made me think many times before I act (or at least try to) and I don't feel like like I am going through my days in this rushed haze. I no longer feel like I have to fly through one task and another just to have part of myself appear in several different areas instead, I put all of myself into one task - complete it and then move on to the next. In essence, there is actually MORE of me in my day to day life than there ever was before and what I believe there would be if I were working.

While being a Stay at Home Mom was not something that was on the horizon for me or my husband...I believe we are both glad that I am. Yes, extra money is nice and having a bigger house would be great, especially on days when I feel like we are bursting at the seams. It would also be nice to be able to go on some of those wonderful vacations that we used to and to have that flat screen t.v. (that I know my husband would really like even though he will not admit it) but for us, that isn't where our hearts are at this particular time. For us, having the big flat-screen t.v. and the fancy vacation or bigger house at this point in time would mean me having to go back to work on a full-time basis and putting our daughter in daycare and to us, personally THAT is too big of a sacrifice to make.

10 or 11 months ago, I would have never thought that I would have this sort of thought process. I couldn't comprehend being a Stay at Home Mom and now not only am I that...but I am embracing it and learning to be proud of the acronym "SAHM". As irony would have it, when you pronounce "SAHM" as a word it sounds like the name Sam...which makes me smile on a completely different level and wonder if in the end this was all meant for me and part of my own destiny.

Do I know if I will be a SAHM forever...that remains to be seen and if not that is another chapter of my life yet to be written but for now, I am getting to know myself in a different way and come to understand this new person that I am becoming. No matter what I know that Sam will always be a part of my life and I intend to be the best SAHM that I can not only for my daughter but also for me. As women, I think we need to learn to really be proud of who we are, embrace each other on a deeper level and what it is that makes each of us individuals. We need to realize that sometimes "less" or what we perceive as less can truly be more and that the term Stay at Home Mom needs to be said with pride and purpose as it once was. It should not be said in a shameful sort of manner but worn as a badge of honor.

Perhaps I should send a Thank You card to the Captain of that sinking ship known as my prior place of employment as in the end their demise allowed me to sail into calmer waters and have a greater sense of peace and tranquility than I ever knew possible.