To SAHM or Not to SAHM
I miss working. Sometimes, I miss it so much I could cry. You see, I was the girl taking a full course load in college who was on the executive board of the organizations I was in, and worked jobs hostessing and singing in a church choir for extra cash. The year I did my internship, I would commute 45 minutes to work, then teach piano lessons for a few hours, drive 45 minutes back home, then work at the restaurant or play gigs in the evening. When I moved on to performing full time, I could have as many as 6 shows in a week, and during the day, I'd be teaching Pilates. On weekends, I did my teacher training courses all day, and performed some more -- sometimes, I even did my hair and makeup while we had breaks in our training because I didn't have time to go home in between. Then, when I got pregnant, I continued teaching Pilates, and performing until the singing was causing me to have contractions and I couldn't button up my costumes anymore. I decided to slow down around the 6 month mark, and carved out time to just relax, especially after learning the news of my son's medical conditions. Naturally my idea of relaxing was to begin a home building project. At seven months pregnant, we knocked down the cottage that I owned, and started construction on a new house. I took care of picking out all of the finishes, flooring, paint colors, cabinet designs, furniture, countertops, doorknobs, cabinet pulls -- you name it. I worked with a great builder who made this process as simple as possible, but I digress. My point is -- I love being busy.
Two years into being a stay at home mom, it's dawned on me that I don't think I am stay at home mom material. I love my son more than anything in the world, and his appointments used to keep us extremely busy. But now, things are slowing down (knock on wood), he spends two full days at school every week, and - don't get me wrong, I love all the snuggles, but he needs more and so do I. We are lucky to have amazing babysitters here in Birmingham, who help us out so I can get a few hours a week to run errands alone or get in some workouts. But, soon they will start work and no longer have time to babysit, and soon after that we're moving to Cheyenne. I'll have to start all over again with finding specialists, babysitters, and school programs. He has benefited so much from the Early Learning Program he's in now. He's making new sounds, he's more motivated to play, he doesn't even cry when I bring him to school anymore. He gets all kinds of stimulation there that I can't give him at home by myself. For me, I have all of these ideas in my head and motivation to work -- with really nowhere to put that energy (besides this website, of course.) I miss the days of going into work and constantly teaching, learning, and interacting with other adults. I crave it. The trouble is, I'm basically a nomad for the next couple of years while my husband fulfills his clerkships - 3 states in 3 years - and finding childcare is very difficult when your child has special needs. You need to find someone who you can trust, who is reliable, friendly, gets along with your kid, can manage tube feeds, and everything else that comes along with the territory. It requires time for me to train them, and, of course, paying for them. There is the Medicaid waiver program, which Oscar qualifies for, but by the time we find someone here, we'll be off to Wyoming and have to start the paperwork process all over again. It's a very long process. It's not impossible to find the care, it's just more challenging than one might think.
Logistics aside, I feel guilty for wanting to get back to work, because my son requires so much. Now that he's two, he wants so much more attention -- which is simultaneously amazing and exhausting. In the beginning I was so traumatized from being away from him, that I didn't want to leave him even for a second, but now I look forward to some alone time. Now, I want to find myself again, to be "me" outside of being a mom. It's a strange feeling, and I'm not quite sure how to approach it. Our travel circumstances these next two years aren't really ideal for securing work either, and I didn't really mind the break from work when we signed up for this. I mean, how lucky are we that only one of us has to work right now? But, these feelings are just now creeping in, and I'm wondering how I'll manage it all, if it's a terrible idea to go back to work anyway, or if it would actually be good for me and Oscar. I don't have the answers, I don't think anyone really does, but it feels good to come to this realization about myself. I see it, and I acknowledge it, and now I just need to figure out what to do about it.