Having the opportunity to stay home with Yogi is one of the greatest blessings of my life to date. This does not mean that the transition has been smooth or that every moment is blissful and charged with significance. As is the way of most things that are worthwhile, a lot of the work of being a stay-at-home Mom is just that, work. It's bending over the tub scrubbing poop out of ________ again and working to calm both the dog and the baby when Yogi has a meltdown and figuring out how to get out of the house during the optimal non-napping, non-eating window with everything that might be needed for the trip.
It is hard for me to say anything on this topic that even borders on complaint because of how deeply grateful I am that my family is able to make this choice. However, this is my blog and the differences between my days as a college professor and my days as a Mom/homemaker is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. For now, a little compare and contrast.
- I had my own office with a door I could close.
- People had to make appointments with me.
- I interacted with a handful (sometimes it felt like a very small handful) of engaged students.
- I read journal articles and thought and talked about things like organizational change, culture and stereotyping. Occasionally someone else was even interested.
- I wore cool shoes, shirts with buttons and belts. Also mascara.
- I ate lunch exactly when I wanted to.
- I spent the bulk of my working day all.by.myself and when I did have to interact with people they were students who had to do what I said.
- When I drove off campus I could make my own decision about whether to prep lecture/grade papers/review articles when I got home.
- I was totally in charge.
- It was all about ME.
- I have a lovely, blue-eyed appendage named Yogi.
- I live in sweats. They aren't even fun colored sweats. I should work on that....
- I am frequently spotted with drool/spit-up/poop. See, point #2 is purely pragmatic.
- My major creative outlet is cooking and menu planning. Who knew I would enjoy that so much?
- I read no less than six books a day. These books have titles like On the Night You Were Born and Snuggle Puppy.
- I wash more plastic-ware (bottles, pump parts) each week than I did in all of the 32 years prior to Yogi's birth.
- It is all about MY FAMILY.
Life is different now and I knew it would be. Of course, I had as much idea of what I was getting into as anyone else does, which is to say I didn't really know anything. Seven months into my new normal I've noticed a few things. What I'm struck by in the two lists above is that nothing on either list is wholly good or wholly bad. Everything is both. The balance for each shifts from day-to-day and even moment to moment, but my life now is similar to my life then in that it has its good moments and it has its bad. This is an important thing to remind my black and white self. In fact, I think the primary difference is that the highs are higher and the lows are lower. That is the way of love, no? Yes, it's not always easy to dwell in a world that is not so much about me anymore, but the rewards for helping to create a whole new world in this family are pretty great.