I've made a startling realization the other day. I'm engaged in a Mommy War of monumental proportions. But it's not with another Mommy. It's with myself.
I've been a working mom, a stay (work) at home mom, a working mom, a stay (work) at home mom and I'm about to become a working mom again.
It could be said that I'm just not ever satisfied, that I can't seem to make up my mind or that I am clearly a flighty person. But in actual fact, I'm just trying to find the right balance of what's right for me, for Sean and for the kids.
When Emily was a baby and I still worked I loved it. I missed her, sure, but I still loved my job and didn't really have 'stay at home mom' aspirations. But I think, in large part, that was because I loved where I worked an the people I worked with. I was comfortable and had a lot of seniority. I also made pretty great money (comparitively speaking) and because at the time Sean was still working at Leon's, I was the primary breadwinner so me not working was not an option.
Then Mary Jo was born. Maternity leave was now a year. I wasn't feeling so secure at work - they were looking to eliminate the 'old' staff and it was only a matter of time in which they found a way to oust me. Sean was now working for the TTC (for my FF -that is not trying to conceive...heehee) and making good money. And paying daycare for two kids didn't make a whole heap of sense. So I quit my job and officially became a stay at home mom. (okay, a work at home mom - I opened the daycare when Mary was 7 months)
I had the daycare for 2 years when I discovered how miserable I was. Mary really needed some outside influence. I was tired, mostly of trying to sell myself to new clients. When I had a full house and consistant families it was okay but near the end I had one who was moving, one who was going on mat leave and Mary's partner in crime (who is still here today) and I just didn't have it in me to do another advertising blitz, interview parents, sign ones on that were a good fit, mold them (the kids and the parents) the way I wanted them.
So I closed my daycare and wqent back to work, this time in the very centre that Emily had gone to and that Mary would go to.
Here's the thing though. This was truly a case of the grass being greener on the other side. I knew from the very day I started work that I was going to hate it and would be miserable. But I didn't know how to tell Sean that. So I sucked it up for a year, Sean and I never saw each other, our marriage started to crumble and I fell into depression.
Then the miscarriage. I knew when I got pregnant that I had not intentions of returning to work at the centre after my mat leave ended. I would take my year mat leave and re open my home daycare, change my ways of doing things and raise the new baby. But apparently God had other plans. And when the director and I didn't see eye to eye on how I should 'manage' my miscarriage I quit. My priorities had changed and while I may have had a hard time at home I needed to be there. Clearly I made the right choice because it was the summer of 2006, the beginning of the year from hell. And had I been working still I never would have seen it and who knows where we'd be today.
So, I became a stay (work) at home mom again. And this time I embraced it and re thought my whole method and while I threw myself into it 110% I also stopped working when the last child left (something I hadn't done before) and I didn't let the stress of the job get to me (mostly) And for 4 more years I worked at home. I was blessed with Connor's birth and was able to be there for Mary's first day at school. I learned to cook and became a better housekeeper. I became a better Mom and a better wife.
But something was still lacking. I didn't want to be at home forever and decided to follow a new path, the idea of opening my own daycare centre one day. And I started school and went to some workshops and then Dalton McGuinty made his announcement and it was like one of those moments you see on tv when the clouds break, the sun shines and choirs sing "Aaaaaaaahhhhh"
So I threw myself into trying to get a job in the school board. My childhood dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher could come true.
And it did.
So in September I will become a working mom again. I'm not without my worries. I'm scared for how Connor will react to daycare. I'm scared for the year in which Emily and Mary need afterschool care. I'm scared for how this will affect my marriage and I'm scared for how I'll do in this new job. What if it's like the last time I went back to work and I hate it right from day one.
But what if I don't. What if this is my calling? I could well be.
So, I continue to fight the Mommy War. When am I a better mother? When I'm at home or at work. Maybe it's not about where I am, maybe it's just about how much I love what I'm doing.