>> Wednesday, February 25, 2015
When I made the decision to leave my desk job a little over three years ago, I didn’t have much of a plan. Instead, I knew my heart wasn’t at my old position and -- quite frankly -- didn’t totally feel welcomed back due to some circumstances around the time I went out on maternity leave. That stuff is neither here nor there, because I also had always pictured staying at home for at least the early years with my child/children. It’s what my mom did with me.
This isn’t the kind of life choice that I take for granted or think is the “right” or “wrong” way to do things. It’s simply all I knew of motherhood from my upbringing. I don’t even feel that terribly confident talking about it most of the time. In fact, I’m somewhat shocked we’re able to make it work. I still frantically wade through our bank accounts whenever we have unexpected big expenses to contend with. I still freak out when things with my freelance work shift and evolve (not always in an upward trajectory). It’s tumultuous -- I’ll give you that.
I often contemplate (and sometimes dream of) returning to full-time, salaried work. Even right now while we’re on the adventure for child #2, I’m asking myself some pretty heavy questions about my future, about staying home -- or not, and about what my life is becoming. In a way, I like that my world isn’t all black and white, and that I’ve been able to make freelancing part-time from home as a writer work. It’s the sort of crazy benefit of majoring in such a soft discipline and paying all those private school dollars, right? But it’s also mentally draining wondering if that next paycheck will come or when I might be left grasping at straws. Give and take.
Since pregnancy hasn't come quickly this time around, I started to genuinely freak out because I imagine all my freelance gigs drying up at once and being thrust back into the workforce at 8 months pregnant. Or some other unpleasant scenario. I suppose if this sort of thing happened, we’d find a way to make it work, just like we have with all other lemons we’ve been dealt. But that’s one downside to staying at home while not having a generous income from one person. It’s, instead, a partnership. It’s budgeting, which I have a black belt in after all these years. And some of it, honestly, is luck.
I look back on my “plan” to space my children apart and question myself. Should we have tried sooner? Could we have? I think life has a silly way of working itself out, since I cannot imagine going through Ada’s ordeal while pregnant or with a newborn. Regardless, I’m starting to realize that all of life’s decisions are just difficult. There are few times when one way is the “right” way. And that kind of just sucks because we’re often left wondering about all the millions of other paths we might have taken and where they would have led us.
Regardless, I’m starting to come to peace with the madness. I’m sure that doesn’t sound at all like me (I’ll be the first to admit that), but something inside me is shifting. I can’t go on feeling such anxiety about all of life’s big and small decisions anymore. About all the stuff that’s not under my control. Yeah, it’s “how I operate” -- but why have I not spent enough time questioning this sad situation? My writing routine has helped me a lot with sorting and making sense of these feelings.
I feel sometimes like something else is trying to show me -- ever so slowly -- that I need to lose my
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