My unexpected plunge into life as a stay-at-home mom and the self-discovery that came with it
“Mommy stand over there on that high ledge and close your eyes, I’m gonna do something to you,” my 4-year-old son said.
This is a glimpse of my new life as a stay-at-home mom, to two boys, ages 4 and 2 as mentioned in A Tale of Two Furloughs: part II. It’s chaos, but it’s my NEW chaos. It’s my redefined chaos, and every day I'm trying to figure out how to become a different type of mom than the one I had become accustomed to - career mommy.
As a young child, I vividly remember dreaming about ONLY being a wife and a mother. Career mommy was never part of the plan.
I knew I wanted to go to college but I was going to be this perfect homemaker type that emulated a kindergarten teacher personality, had freshly baked cookies ready for the kids as they came off the bus, never yelled or got upset, and had at least three maybe four rugrats running around and jumping into my arms all day. They would all be around 1-2 years apart because why not? No big deal.
Oh, and there were going to be a few girls. They’d play dress-up, Barbies, and take dance classes. In my vision, my girls would love all things pretty and girly like their mom. They’d inherit my Barbies, my 2-million dance costumes, and engulf themselves in fashion and makeup. As they'd grow older we would become shopping buddies, best friends, and of course I would plan their beautiful, over the top weddings one day.
Funny how life works out, right? In some ways, we can plan and strategize certain details of our lives exactly to our vision. Us workaholics can do that with our careers. However, a higher power always wins. A higher power that decides to throw a little spontaneity and adventure at us. Challenge us, by throwing us off course and remind us who's BOSS. Curveballs you could say, (I use more sports terminology these days). This should have been my first lesson in relinquishing control.
I didn’t get girls, and I didn’t become that picture-perfect mom that I had growing up, but I did get the life that was meant for me. And now that I'm in this position, I wouldn’t change a thing.
There are still days when I ask “why me?"
Why was I selected to be a boy mom, I know nothing about boys, and am I physically cut out for this? Or most recently, why was I selected to be furloughed...followed by why was I selected to be LAID OFF? We always want answers.
Sometimes though, there are just no clear-cut answers. Our actual jobs are to figure out the "why" for ourselves. During Covid-19, we’ve all hit hardship in various ways, but we’ve also been very blessed to be given TIME to dig deep mentally and emotionally as well as embrace our lives that exist outside of a job.
Remember those lives? Still there. The job...not so much.
I finally have the chance to be the mom I dreamed of being, and guess what, I’m not as good as I thought I would be. That realization is like sandpaper on the soul. Especially since I know it’s because I molded and changed myself to be what my job and industry needed and wanted me to be. I was so focused on perfection at work, that I gave a lot of the good Laura stuff to entities outside my home. Yet, I’ve been given the time now to acknowledge that, address it, and redefine my life. Redefine my parenting, to what my boys deserve, and being the type of mom I feel I am in my heart.
I struggle every day with it, but slowly I can see myself exiting the denial phase and realizing, “YOU GOT LAID OFF AND HAVE NO JOB, FOCUS ON THE MOM STUFF!”
So for the last 6 months, I've taught my son to swim, became a baseball mom, learned to run football drills, and absorbed myself in superheroes and dinosaurs. I'm basically now a short-order cook for two bottomless pits, which I genuinely enjoy as I get to lean into my foodie passion, serving up creatively presented snack plates and dishes. However, my boys would probably attack one of Kenna Wesolkas' handcrafted charcuterie boards, I wish I had her skills!
The laundry room is a constant rotation of smelly sports gear, Under Armour everything, tiny boxer briefs, and hand me down Halloween costumes that get worn all over town for general errands. I've spent more time in craft stores in the last six months than I have my entire life, and I've learned that a simple paper plate activity and some googly eyeballs are always a win.
If I'm being honest, I don’t love it alllllll day, every day, but I do love it every day. (Who caught the Sex in the City reference?) Most importantly, I love THEM. That fact has never changed, and I’ve learned no one on this earth will ever love me as much as those beautiful little boys. (Even though they make me chase them constantly and give me a new bruise every day).
We don’t need the Barbies, we have Avengers.
We don’t need the dance costumes, we have sports uniforms and gear.
Shopping? My oldest is the best stylist I could ask for and LOVES picking out my clothes and offering oh so honest feedback on every detail.
Best friends? The same thing, we have nightly pillow chit chats that I look forward to every day.
Dance class? We have 2-3 dance parties a day in our home. We might do hip hop versus ballet but I adore this time with them and seeing a part of me inside their souls come out. I often remind myself that there was no guarantee that girls would have even liked to dance, yet I hit the jackpot with these little guys. (I do feel bad for Alexa though, she never gets a break.)
As for weddings? Well, y'all just wait, because these boys are going to have the most badass rehearsal dinners anyone has ever attended. (Start budgeting now Hunny).
So, back to the ledge. When I was told to stand there with my eyes closed by a mischievous blonde haired, blued eyed, dimpled little 4-year-old, I did it. I could trust him because he loves me. He needs me.
I felt the push of his little hands and heard his signature infectious laugh as I plummeted to the bottom of the pool. Though slightly scary, I was refreshed, and so renewed. He was so happy and it’s all that mattered. It was a step, or rather push, towards redefining my parenting in my new normal.
Career mommy is officially on pause. I'm channeling Wonder Woman these days.
How has your parenting style changed since being furloughed? What have you discovered about your children that inspires you?