Submitted by Delaine
Three weeks ago, the youngest of my three children started school full time. And as she disappeared into the school with a brave look on her face, I stood in the school yard waiting for ‘it’ to hit me: sadness…or at least nostalgia. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for ten years after all…
But I had tears. No sadness. No wanton daydreams of days gone past. Instead, all I felt was peace. Like I was ready for this. Like it was time to finally HAVE time, and focus on me.
A part of me insisted that I should be feeling sad – isn’t that how Good, Devoted Moms feel when their babies venture further from the nest? But I quickly called bologna on that thought train – I know I AM a great mom and always have been, even when my divorce situation was so dire I could hardly afford to put food on the table.
When my kids’ father and I first separated, we both agreed that my being at home with the children was very important. After all, he worked out of town for large chunks of time. The kids were accustomed to me always being there, and it was in their best interest I continue to offer them a safe haven, especially as they too, adjusted to the divorce.
But plans changed. ..agendas changed…priorities changed. And for most of last year, I found myself living below the poverty line with my kids – for it takes two adult parents to value the role of a stay-at-home parent, does it not?
I made a choice at that point, not to return to work. Cause when I sat down and did the math around potential wages earned verses daycare costs and the emotional cost to my kids, living frugally and ‘going without’ seemed the best option for my children. Deep inside I always knew that the love and care and TIME I gave them was the greatest gift I could offer them.
We somehow made it through those tough times, in large part due to the amazing support of my family and friends. My kids came out the other side of it with a new understanding of what it means to be ‘rich’ – that it’s defined not by money alone, but by love, sharing, and counting the many blessings already bestowed upon us.
There’ve been times these past few years since divorcing where I’ve let exciting work opportunities pass me by. And I felt their lure – God, how a part of me ached to find out who Work Delaine could/would be… But I swallowed my restlessness, my desire to put me first. I had made a committment to be with at home with my kids till they were all in school full-time. And in my heart of hearts, I knew honoring that vow was right for us all.
So as my kids disappeared into their elementary school on that first day, I think the peace I felt and continue to feel, was well-deserved. Cause I’ve worked SO damn hard. Been tested in SO many ways. Grown SO much as a Woman and human being for the choices I’ve made. And Goddamnit, I’ve molded three absolutely AMAZING kids as a result. So no. For me, this big life passage is not a time for sadness, but a time to celebrate all that I’ve experienced and accomplished as a mom. Beyond that, my eyes are straight ahead: I can’t wait to see who Delaine the Career Woman will become…!