Isn’t it crazy how much can change from one day to the next?
It’s hard to compete with having a baby as far as life-changing events go, but it’s interesting how that giant life-changing event seems to generate more.
Today’s post is about some major goodbyes I’m saying in my life. They’re a little bittersweet, but so worth it. They also explain why I’ve been a little overwhelmed lately.
Yesterday, we got and accepted an offer on our house in Ohio City, a popular neighborhood among young professionals in Cleveland. Much of my maternity leave has been spent finding, hiring and sitting around awkwardly awaiting the finished work of various contractors; obsessively cleaning and clearing out junk; touching up paint and learning how to grout; and trying to subdue full-out panic about selling a house we just bought two years ago.
Selling our house seals the deal that we’ll be moving out to the exurbs (Medina, for my local readers) to live in my grandparents’ house (unfortunately, they’ve had to be moved to a nursing home). Having grown up on this family compound of sorts, across the street from this very house (where my parents still live), I swore I’d never move back.
I have a lot of conflicting feelings about raising kids out in what is nearly the country. Judging by my own experience, there will be no sidewalk strolls to get ice cream (or a beer, in their parents’ case), there will be little to no diversity in school, and it can feel lonely to live several country miles from friends. But my kid (and any future kids) also can grow up catching frogs in the pond and playing flashlight tag at night.
While it’s devastating to see my grandparents fading, and I’m completely overwhelmed by the work it will take to make their house into our home, I don’t for a second take for granted that it is allowing us to make another big change in our lives…
Goodbye, full-time work.
Yesterday was also my last day of maternity leave. Which, I decided about a month ago, I would not be returning from. So today I woke up a stay-at-home-mom.
Well, work-at-home-mom, is the plan. I’ve always been achievement-oriented and truly enjoyed my work, and honestly couldn’t fathom staying at home to raise kids before I had one. I didn’t really understand it when other women made this choice.
But now that I do have a kid, I realize how lucky I am to have this choice at all. Without the opportunity to move out to the family house, financially we wouldn’t have been able to make this work. While either of us would be happy to stay home, The Husband is the higher earner so I have embraced my new role. We’ll still be cutting it close, but it’s worth it for us to make some sacrifices to keep The Baby out of day care until he’s a little older.
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up work altogether. I’m planning to do some freelance writing/graphic design/development work to keep my mind sharp, stay engaged with other professionals and bring in some extra income. The long nights and time alone over the past twelve weeks have left me feeling a little less articulate than usual, so I’m looking forward to the creativity and mental stretching that this type of work affords.
I know plenty of moms go back to work (if they’re lucky, it’s after 12 weeks — for so many moms it’s less than that) and feel good about their decision, and I know babies do just fine in a safe, loving daycare environment. I am in no way passing judgment on working moms or staying at home moms or the moms (or, let’s cover all our bases, dads!) who fall somewhere along the spectrum. We’re all working really hard one way or another. The go back, stay home conundrum is fraught with guilt on either side and we should all just be gentle with each other because parenting is as difficult as it is rewarding.
Older and wiser people have told me before, “Never say never.” Even just three months into it, I can attest to this being good advice for parents.
Hello, baby laughs!
Apropos of nothing, The Baby also finally full-out giggled while The Dad tickled him yesterday. It’s just about the best sound I’ve ever heard.
So it was a monumental day all around.