I have worked at the Hazelden Foundation for the last five years. Hazelden is an amazing employer, and I am incredibly thankful for everything I’ve been able to learn and do in my tenure there. Because of my work, I have met people I never would have had the chance to meet. I have seen the ocean from both coasts. And while it may not always have been “creative” writing, I had a chance to craft and work with words at almost every turn.
This is the part where I should say that our decision for me to quit working and stay home with the girls was the hardest one I’ve ever made. But I’m not going to lie. Turning in my notice wasn’t that bad. 🙂
After I had Ellis, I spent the first half of my maternity leave learning to survive with an infant in the house. And the second half? I basically wallowed in personal mourning for the day I’d have to figure out how to leave her. It was to no avail. After twelve weeks, I squeezed into high heels for the first time in three months and bawled the entire drive to work.
I have no interest in taking part of the stay at home vs. back to work controversy for mamas. For what felt like the longest time, I was the mom reading the magazine article about another woman’s “decision to stay home” and resisting the urge to rip the page to shreds because I didn’t have that option.
And if that’s where any of you are at today, please know that I’ve been there. I’ve hugged my friends who have gotten to stay home, and I’ve been genuinely happy for them. And I’ve also cried myself silly in the shower because no matter how bad I wanted things to change, that simply wasn’t my situation at the time.
I don’t have an easy answer here, but I do know that despite the difficulty, I was able to make a successful transition back to work after Ellis was born. It may have had something to do with three little wooden signs that line the Pat Butler Drive when you come into Hazelden. They read the words Easy Does It. Day after day I drove down that driveway, and I repeated those words. I criticized myself less, and relaxed more. I accepted the situation I was in, and I made the best of it.
This time around, things are different. Two infants and a toddler in day care are about as expensive as going on a week-long Caribbean cruise each month, and financially, we’ve had some things fall into place that loosen up the expense side of our budget. So, we’re going to give it a go.
And by give it a go, I mean I want to apply the concept of Easy Does It to my new stay-at-home life with the girls. I will not have expectations of being the perfect stay at home mom with a list of craft projects a mile long. I will not feel defeated if I make BLT’s for the third supper in a row. And I will not be upset with myself if the only thing I accomplish on any given day is making sure the girls are fed, clothed, and wearing relatively clean diapers.
Easy does it. I think I might ask Jason to make me my own set of signs to post in our driveway.
PS. I’m sorry if you come over to my house three months from now and the only thing we have in the cupboards is popcorn.