Tuesday, January 5, 2010

SAHM, homemaker, whatever you call it

Last Christmas, I hugged the kids in my grade 1/2 class goodbye, walked out the door and came home, wondering when I will ever be a full-time worker again. It was a little liberating, a little daunting and incredibly RIGHT.
I never went on maternity leave to have Abby. For one, I didn't qualify, because I hadn't worked enough hours as a teacher's aide at the Ross River School. I had left my "real" job as a reporter when we left Whitehorse in April 2008. For two, I didn't want to go back to work.
I had always planned on being a stay-at-home mom. Rich and I had made double and triple sure that this is what we wanted, but we both did, from the very beginning. I am formally trained as a writer, and no number of babies or years that pass without work can take this from me. Here, I practice every day, write a journal to myself, write letters, read books. I freelance when I want to. I work as a part-time librarian during Abby's naps or when Rich is home with her. I am always updating my lexicon and there is no replacement for fresh perspective like motherhood. That alone has awakened me to a whole new level of sensitivity to beauty, appreciation of simplicity and empathy for others. I am always a writer, whether being paid or not.
Aside from our wishes, Rich and I are also lucky enough to be able to do this. Things aren't the way they used to be. Not everyone can get by with one salary, certainly not living the standard to which they're accustomed. Right now, many of my online mom friends who had babies in or around February are finding daycares, trying on their work clothes and heading back to work. For some, this is a liberating chance to regain a part of themselves put on hold the last year. For some, it is a passion reignited. For all, it is a little guilt-ridden as they wonder, "what will I miss?"
Everyone makes the right choice for themselves, and their situations. I thank my lucky stars (and northern lights!) that I get to be a stay-at-home mom and still live comfortably. No paycheque or EI payments to be reduced. Just a continuance.
Tomorrow I will still wake up early. (Not to an alarm but to a babbling baby.) I will still be a writer, a creator, a yogi, a friend, a daughter, a wife. I will keep feeding Abby lunches, roll on the floor with her, thinking of new ways to keep her busy and happy and growing and thinking. I am happy to be myself as a stay-at-home mom for years to come.

2 comments:

  1. A wonderful post Sarah. I'm dealing with this exact issue right now, trying to decide what is best for our family. It's a tough decision but I think in my heart I want to stay home for at least the first few formative years.

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  2. I have blogged on this topic a number of times in the last couple of years. I am very thankful we have been so good with our money that we are able to live comfortably on one salary. There are days when I really miss my career and even looking longingly at some Masters programs. But there will be lots of time for that. Right now staying home with my boys is the number one priority and I feel blessed that I can do that!

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