If only my twenty-year-old self could see me now.
A stay at home mom who enjoys cooking, gardening and cleaning.
You see, I don’t think I ever expected to become a stay at home mom. Many women do, and by no means do I have the answer on whether staying at home or going back to work after having a child is “best”.
It just wasn’t at all how I thought things would turn out for our family.
Let me briefly pause to acknowledge the fact that yes, I am also a work at home mom, and yes, I am extremely lucky to have had the luxury to choose to stay at home with my son when he was little.
But now that he is in kindergarten, I find myself at another crossroads.
The uhohnowineedtofigureoutwhatiwanttodowhenigrowup stage.
I’ve been through this before. I worked for 10 years out of college, with my sights set on helping run a nonprofit organization. I got married, moved back to Austin and bought a house. My husband and I decided to start a family, so we toured various day cares to prepare for my return back to full-time work after my maternity leave.
Long story short, I lasted for a month working full time, and then another 10 months working “part time”. So began my life as a stay at home mom.
The transition was hard for me. I missed working in an office, the feeling of contributing to our family income and having a quick answer to the question “So, what do you do?” I was a decent cook, but most of the other responsibilities I thought came with the territory — cleaning, ironing, bills, yardwork, recordkeeping, scrapbooking, crafting, decorating — weren’t necessarily my cup of tea.
Visions of June Cleaver ran through my head. What was I thinking?
Slowly, over time, I came to relax my expectations. As most moms do, I adapted. I realized I could not do it all, and that just because you are a stay at home mom, you don’t have to vacuum in heels and pearls. I focused on doing fun stuff with my son. As everyone says, the time flew by.
Under the wise tutelage of a dear friend, I hand sewed my first valence. I learned what the broil button on my oven does. I marveled at how satisfied I felt after spending two hours cleaning my house. I invested in makeup for the first time in five years.
Am I as put together as June Cleaver? Um, no. But I’m guessing I never was and probably never will be. I also don’t remember June having to deal with clogged toilets or sick animals or breaking appliances. Come to think of it, our lives probably couldn’t have been more different.
Now that my son has entered elementary school, I have come to embrace my inner June Cleaver. Perhaps it took me three years to realize that being a parent is all about reinventing myself and being comfortable with who I am right now. Which is to say, still a work in progress.
Note: I’m unable to write a post about June Cleaver without rewatching (multiple times) Barbara Billingsley’s cameo in Airplane.
Did you always know you wanted to be a stay at home mom? Was it a harder transition than you had expected? Are you a working mom who knows being a stay at home mom isn’t in your personality?
Written by: Nicole Basham
Photo credit: Diana Beideman