There are many things I regret in my life, but there is one thing I know that I will never regret. And that is staying home with my son. To be there for every moment, in the trenches, for the good, the bad, and the tantrums. To some, my choice to abandon the career I loved to stay at home for my family is strange, and I field a lot of questions on the topic. So here are my notes from the trenches:
The Lean In Myth
That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.Michelle Obama
She’s right. You can’t have everything at the same time. It is a lie. You can’t kill it at your career and kill it at home – at the same damn time. There isn’t enough time in the day. Something will slide. Something will be sacrificed. All mothers have to make tough choices about how they will spend their time and be where they are most needed by their families. No amount of leaning in will allow them to be two places at the same time. I chose to lean back.
A New Title: SAHM Attorney
I answer to mama and esquire. I am a proud mom and attorney. Spending time with my child doesn’t diminish my degree or practice. I still practice, just not as much. I don’t quite fit the title stay-at-home mom as I work from inside the home. My degree will always be mine. Now in addition to using it for criminal appeals, I use it to litigate with a toddler. Take your guess at which one has better odds.
But What Do You Do All Day?
For starters, I do not “stay at home” all day. I nourish. I cook. I teach. I satisfy my little one’s every need to the best of my ability. But most complicated off all, I try to satisfy his soul. What does that look like? It is exploring something new everyday. Some days it looks like day trips to Orlando, other days it looks like a beach day, and on others it is a day in bed watching Dino Dana. Damn that show.
But What About Your Sanity?
I’m startled awake by the words “mama” followed by a direct path to the kitchen. It’s a bit of a hurricane as I stumble along half awake immediately launched into dinosaur play. And on it continues being needed until I close my eyes at night. Do I miss the leisurely days of silently sipping coffee on the back porch reading the news overlooking the water? Sure. Do I want them back? No. You won’t need me forever, but while you do, I’ll be right here.
But Don’t You Miss It?
I miss the feeling of confidence practicing law every day gives you. Now, every decision I make impacts another person completely dependent on me. Motherhood brings out a lot of uncertainty and worry in my abilities and decisions. I am constantly questioning whether I am doing the “right thing.” There isn’t case law to consult, there aren’t any statutes to see, there isn’t any place to go to see if I’m on the right path. And for someone who is used to checking their work, it is unsettling.
But Don’t You Get Bored?
I understand where this question is coming from if you imagine the sahm as a homemaker picturesquely running the household as her child plays contentedly in his designated space. But the way we live it, I am rediscovering the world right along with my son. As I satisfy his soul, I satisfy my own. Indeed it is the most challenging and scariest task I’ve ever faced.
I am so lucky to spend this time with you. I will never regret our adventure filled days that leave me exhausted, physically and spiritually. I will never regret the nights holding you when you need me. I hope to look back and know these days we spend together give you the foundation you need to lead a happy independent life. The only thing I will regret is that it didn’t last longer.
Do you stay at home? What questions do you get?
If you enjoyed this post, you will relate to this one too: This Is Why You Should Stop Referring To Yourself As A “Full-Time” Mom.