On Saturday night, we had several box seat tickets to see a Dallas Stars game. A friend/former colleague of Ben's and his two sons, ages 7 and 8, joined us. I've always enjoyed spending time with this guy and his family, and was disappointed his wife decided to stay home with their 16 month old daughter instead of braving the rain and the crowds to join us. I haven't spoken with her in years, yet I have a strong feeling I need to connect with her right now, and to be influenced by her, maybe mentored by her.
She is the only true stay-at-home mom I know personally. She's not taking a break to finish school and coincidentally staying home with young children. She's not on a leave of absence from a job she plans to return to. Nor is she running away from a job she no longer wants, as many lawyers I know have. She decided early on that she would be a full-time stay-at-home mom, and as her husband says, "in her heart of hearts she believes this is her vocation." I talked to her husband at length during the game, getting as much of his perspective as possible. Now I am going to reach out to her and get a sense of how she thinks about and approaches her job.
As I waffle back and forth, constantly ping-ponging between returning to work ASAP and staying home longer/indefinitely, I need to hear the perspective of someone who believes fervently that she is doing the best thing she can for her family and embraces it as her vocation and mission. In my heart of hearts, I believe that having one parent staying home full-time with kids is highly desirable, and in some ways necessary when the other parent has a high-demands career. However, I don't feel I am very good at it and I don't necessarily like it or feel comfortable with the idea of doing it. Perhaps it's because of my ego, perhaps it's because I fear boredom, but I never imagined my life would be involve staying home with my kids. I need to examine my thinking on this more deeply.
As a result of all this inner turmoil and uncertainty, I am only giving staying at home a mediocre try out. When I have a minute alone, I am busily rebuilding my professional wardrobe and searching for jobs online and through connections. I know I'm not giving it a fair shake, and that it's unfair to rush to the conclusion that it's not for me.
Somewhat fortified by my conversation with Ben's friend at the hockey game, I am determined to work on doing a better job this week. Starting with how we're all eating. There is no reason that we need to eat out as much as we have been doing, because I'm home to cook meals. I am also working on doing more with Caleb directly during the day so that he's learning about the things that interest him and being less alone and bored than he has been. Hopefully this will improve his behavior, which has been deplorable (he's peed in two closets, on one dog bed, and all over every bathroom floor in our house!!), and give my patience a rest, because it has been sorely tested.