Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Same question, different answer

I thought once I figured out "my" answer to the do I work full time/part time/stay at home debate that I'd be done with it. I was wrong.

I've been struggling, wrestling, beating myself up over my decision to work part time for months. I've had a great opportunity, with a great company, with great people in the field I've been trained in. But for me, something was still amiss.

Don't get me wrong, there have been (many) days I couldn't wait to get out the door to drop Addie off at school and have my own time with other adults at work. So nice to eat my lunch in peace and quiet without someone flinging their food at me. So nice to do something that was all mine, that I'm pretty good at.

But then I realized something. I'm pretty darn good at being a mom, too. I have lots and lots (and lots) of shortcomings. I yell. I get frustrated. I get sick of my kid and want to give her away. But I hear that's normal. And I love her more than I ever thought I could love someone. I liked my job. But I realized that to spend time away from my little person, I needed to really, really love my job.

All along, I've had the opportunity (and the support from Jordan) to stay home full time. Knowing I have that opportunity (and how many would do anything for that opportunity) made me realize I need to take it, grab hold with both hands and soak up every second I can before my baby girl is no longer a baby who needs (and wants) my attention every moment. I have my whole life to work. I only have a few years to teach, mold and spend time with my baby.

I know this decision isn't for everyone. And honestly I didn't think it was for me. I've been fighting it for months. Who will I be if I don't have a "career"? What will I say when people ask me what I do for a living? What will the professionals I've worked with over the past eight years think about me? And what about all those times I completely couldn't understand why someone would want to stay home full time? That was me before I took my first look at Addie and all was lost, in a good way.

So I'm scared. Really scared. About losing myself, about losing touch with the "real" world, about losing relationships that have been important to me and, let's be honest, about losing face with people I know won't understand. Will I ever be able to re-enter the full-time working world, if that's what I choose to do? Am I signing my own career-death-warrant at age 30? Is Addie going to drive me really-and-truly insane?

I'm working (hard) to get over all of that. I've realized that sometimes I've just got to rely on faith and jump, without knowing what the future is going to hold. And that's got to be OK. I'm trying to concentrate on the present, and when I do that, I realize I'm really excited about having more time with my girl.

Those fears about losing touch with the industry I've loved have been assauged a bit with some well-timed freelance PR/writing/design opportunities. I think that may be a good option to keep me as sane as is possible as I jump on the crazy train that is stay-at-home-motherhood.

I've said before and I'll say again that I feel really fortunate to have had the choice about what I want to do. And I feel fortunate that I've gotten to know myself a whole lot better since I became a mom, even if what I've found wasn't at all what I was expecting. I'm really proud of my control-freak, plan-everything-in-advance self that I've taken this seemingly-blind leap.

I'm giving all those plans and worries of mine to God (and yes, I have to give them back pretty much every day) because I know His plans for me and my family are far greater. After praying for months without any clear answers, I've slowly been receiving some quiet reassurances that this is the right decision.

So, I'm officially jumping into the next phase of my life. Erin Page. Stay at home mom.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Addison Mae - 20 months

20 months. That's almost 2 years old. Although Addie's talking, vocabulary and bossing skills would make one think she was closer to 15. Addie had a fabulous Easter, although she cared even less for the Easter bunny than she did Santa. She did, however, like that he came to our house (and that she didn't have to see him) and left goodies. She's asked me several times since if he happened to come again. She loved dying eggs, making cookies with me and hunting eggs at every opportunity. She really loved it when the eggs had snacks in them. Her music class is winding down for the spring, and I think she'll probably keep asking me every day when we're going to see Miss Julie again. We may unexpectedly end up at her front door. Addie has had fewer and fewer doctor's appointment lately (thank God), and a recent trip to the ENT was pretty successful (infection had cleared up and tears didn't last long). She told her doctor repeatedly, "Sticker, sticker," which meant, get this over with already and give me my dang sticker! I am so proud of my sweet girl, even when I'm exhausted by her energy and occasional frustration when she doesn't get her way. I just hope I can continue to keep up!

Weight: ~22 lbs
Length: ~30 inches

New things this month:
  • Saying Grammie. Finally. She hasn't really started calling my mom Grammie yet, but the first step was just getting her to say the word.
  • Some of my favorite new words and phrases are: I find it, I hide it, I eat it, Addie do self, Good morning! (which is said in the morning, afternoon and evening - in her world, it means something similar to I love you), Mia lick hand, See Mawmaw airplane (She's been telling everyone this lately because we're going to see Mawmaw later this week. Yep, smart.), Happy birthday to you, mommy (not my birthday), Mommy change diaper (hers, not mine), Mommy come here!, I like it, Izzy chase Mia, No Mommy sing (she's already realized I'm not so good at this skill ...), huggies and kisses
  • She really likes to talk about what she sees people doing - man running, dog walking, baby crying, girl laughing, Mommy sleeping (I wish). And she likes to tell me what she's doing too - including Addie poo-poo.
  • An obsession with happy and sad. She loves to ask which I am, and requires appropriate facial expressions. She especially loves to say no when I ask her to do something and then ask, "Mommy sad?" Then she'll do said thing and yell, "Mommy happy!!" Especially relevant when I ask for a kiss.
  • Exploring more art. New things have been play-dough, sidewalk chalk and watercolor painting. And Easter egg dying, during which she also dyed both hands.
  • Playing more with baby dolls. Rocking, feeding, putting them night-night. A little less flinging them about.
  • More singing. She likes to sing her songs right in Miss Julie's face in music class. You know, to be sure Miss Julie realizes how smart she is. Watching her is like looking into a mirror. She loves to tell me which song to sing to her before bed. And she can sing pretty much anything after she hears it a few times. Perhaps she'll be better at this than her mommy.
  • "Helping" around the house. We've been trying to give her a few things to do since she (clearly) likes her independence and doing things for herself. So far her favorite jobs are getting a new trash bag out of the pantry and letting Izzy in/out. I am holding out hope for that day when she can do the dishes.

  • Singing and dancing.
  • Talking about her friends.
  • Playing outside. I think the best day in Addie's life was the day we went to the park, planted our vegetable garden, ran around the back yard and then gave Izzy a bath. She would live outside if we'd let her.
  • Ring Around the Rosey, especially with Izzy.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And talking about all the characters like they're her best friends.
  • Parties.
  • Counting. One, three, ten!
  • Bossing.
  • Sitting in a big-girl chair at the table, which she typically climbs into herself.
  • Breakfast crack. A staple breakfast food, courtesy of my friend Brenda. A lb of sausage browned, a brick of cream cheese (or the non-dairy variety at our house) stirred into the sausage, divvied and rolled up into 2 packages of crescent rolls. She asks me every morning, "Breakfast crack?"

  • Not getting her way.
  • When mommy tries to talk to anyone else, diverting attention away from her.
  • When daddy leaves for work.