And I loved it.
I like to be busy, I thrive on it. If we are getting all deep about it, I'm sure it was really a coping mechanism for dealing with a lot of tumultuous happenings throughout my life but that's another musing for another day.
When we made the decision for me to stay home with our offspring - I was terrified. And that was difficult to talk about. Some folks were so stoked and ridiculously happy for me and I felt I couldn't talk to them about how scary this was. Other people were terrified for my work life and felt I was walking away from the professional side of myself. I didn't feel like I could talk to them about the part of me that was so excited to be such a consistent part of our Little's early life.
Such a dichotomy! (Come on, you know you love that word too...) How to reconcile this simultaneous joy and terror?!?!
Well, I'll tell you...
It was hard. I left work a couple months before we met Samantha because we moved to a new house further than I wanted to commute regularly. And those months? They sucked. The end of my pregnancy was sooooooo hard and moving during that time was difficult. Without much to fill my day outside of boxes and more boxes, I felt entirely unfulfilled. So used to pouring my energy into external projects and finding self-worth in the results, I had no idea how to keep my spirits up without ten million things to do.
Fast forward to gaining a new family member (We can talk about our birth story and my thoughts on becoming a mom in yet another pondering some other day....) and finding the appropriate amount of joy in doing so - I thought things would be so much brighter! In reality, my healing from birth took longer than I wanted ("Patience is not MY virtue" should probably be tattooed on my forehead, as if it wasn't obvious enough already.) and my days still needed focus. I realized postpartum how heavily my self-confidence depending on DOING and not just BEING.
And then there's now. Somewhere just after the 2 month mark with Sam's life on earth, I found my groove. For example:
Right now I'm wearing a tank top, my husband's sweatpants, some old man-looking house shoes, my mascara is yesterday's and my hair is greasy and piled on top of my head. My accomplishments today include nursing Sam, letting her sleep on my chest, getting a yummy soup in the crockpot, and actually pulling out my laptop and putting down some words to make sense of the day.
But I feel great.
I don't have meetings to run to, appointments to arrive at, or any real reason to put on pants. It's rad.
We had to rearrange our lives significantly to make this happen so I don't take it for granted for a single moment. We are very lucky in today's economy to accomplish this for even a short while (my term has not yet been defined, we will see how long I last!). When we purchased our home last year, we made sure it was a smaller home that fit comfortably within our set budget. We have only eaten out a handful of times since I left my job and I've been honing my cooking skills (and learning to enjoy it!) ever since. Instead of eating out on a regular basis with friends, we stay home and cook meals for each other - finding much more camaraderie in sharing gravy-making and turkey-carving skills than we would talking to a waiter.
This is life now.
And I'm finally digging it.
Admittedly, it's been easier to dig recently because some opportunities have come out of the woodwork. I'm keeping one toe in the work world and have some beautiful options to return, should I so desire. Those came about rather unexpectedly and have definitely bolstered my self-confidence by reminding me that I did work hard to create solid professional relationships and that they are genuinely important to me. Thankfully, this means there are still people in the world who value what I have to offer and will work with me to find the right fit for our new family dynamic.
Just a few conversations about possibility were enough to remove a mountain of doubt and stress from my mind and let me truly enjoy this gig being with Samantha 24/7. I needed to know that I still have tangible options and a creative outlet. And frankly, that other people believe in me.
What does it all come down to?
For me it's going to be about balance (something I have never managed well) and self-discovery. I'm learning so much about my heart of hearts and what it needs to feel productive and meaningful. And I am learning the one thing I have always aspired to:
Slowing down to smell the roses.