We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I do believe in that statement however, sometimes it just takes you. For the past 15 months, I have been unemployed and re-learning how to be a “Stay at Home Mom“. I say re-learning because staying at home with your children full-time takes a completely different mindset and I had to learn how to do simple things like, pick your kid up after school (I forgot the early pick-up day more than once…don’t judge me) and making sure the youngest one had a lunch, you know easy stuff. It’s funny I seemed to be more organized when I was working than when I was at home with nothing but time to think about but them!
When I was working, I had a great village to help me raise my kid(s). When my ex-husband and I first split, I hadn’t worked since my daughter was born 18 months prior so when I had to make the switch from SAHM to Working Mom, I was fortunate enough to have her great-grandparents takeover for me during the day and my mother pick her up for me after she finished her workday. This set up went on for a year and a half and then she went on to pre-school and then school and my mother continued to facilitate the pick-up.
When my son was born, my mother had just retired (she was not expecting to become the SAHGranny) and she took over for me when I had to go back to work. She handled certain Doctor appointments and she kept my daughter when she was sick and unable to go to school. She worked full-time and I worked full-time and then came home and continued to work my parenting job. I always felt bad about the amount of time that I spent away from them and at times, they looked to my mother more than they did me but there was nothing that could be done…we had to eat!
When I found myself unemployed for the first time in 10 years, the adjustment period was interesting. They had to get used to me and I had to get used to them and there were times when we all wanted to run away from each other. As we all became adjusted to being around each other… all the time, I realized how wonderful it had been for them to have the time they had with their grandparents, but me losing my job came right on time because what they really needed was me.
As we learned how to interact with each other on a full-time basis, I learned how important it is to just have your parents be there for you and just be parents. Growing up, my mother was a teacher so summers were free and we had her for two months straight. While it probably drove her crazy, we benefited from having her be there and do simple things like make our lunches or just spend time going to the Library together. Until you’ve missed out on something as simple as making dinner for your kids, you don’t know how inadequate one can feel as a parent and since I hadn’t had the opportunity to just be a parent since 2001, in some respects, my kids suffered.
This time off has given my family the opportunity to really be a family. My son now knows what it is like to have your mother be your primary caregiver and my daughter can be involved in extra-curricular activities and have me be her chauffer/cheerleader. None of this would have happened if I was giving my everything to a company rather than my children and I now have the ability to say I have raised my children instead of relying completely on the village.