When I told people I was “retiring” from my business, a funny look came over most peoples’ faces. Each with a little different emotion behind the contortion of their features, but the same question resulted from nearly every person. It didn’t matter if they had a warm smile hidden underneath or a confused furrowed brow – the question was the same; “So…. (or ahhhh, or mmm hmmmmm….) what are you going to..(wait for it)….do?”
Now – I think this question is relevant and predictable when someone makes a life change – but I couldn’t help but feel that the tone behind each of these questions were really questions like – “what are you going to do with all your spare time?” “aren’t you going to get bored?” “aren’t your kids in school?”
As a working mom for nearly 15 years, there was so much I felt didn’t do that I now could – the question was almost ridiculous to me. The answer I said out loud was always something like “oh, I don’t know -take care of my kids” or if I was feeling really sarcastic “eat bon bons and get pedicures.” (sorry – sarcasm is a big downfall of mine).
The question and the undertones are evidence to me of the common thought these days (one I have been guilty of for a very long time) – that staying home, taking care of your home and children is not looked upon as a true full time job. And, honestly – I am only speculating that it is – as I have never done it before. But I do know, that not so very long ago, staying home was the norm was for most mothers. And now, it’s almost the exact opposite. I know that this is mostly out of necessity. Life is different and the ability to stay home and take care of the home front is a luxury for most. Because we are often dependent upon two incomes in a home, or we are single moms, or we have spent so much time and effort in college and secondary eduction on furthering ourselves we feel obligated to work. And please let me be honest and clarify – I do not sit on one side of this camp or another. As of today – I have definitely been in both camps. So I am not throwing stones at any working mom or stay at home mom.
But, I remember my mom -who was a nurse and chose to stay home and take care of us and our home life and I was so thankful that she was more of a mom-nurse than a nurse-mom. When she passed last year, I had to do what I had dreaded doing – give a reflection on her life. How do you put all the emotion and impact your mom has had on you in a few words contained in a few minutes during an immense time of grief? But, I did it – and overwhelmingly the wonderful thoughts that flooded me were that my mom was a constant in my life – always there – never overbearing – but a source of strength and stability in my life. Always there for me. And I knew I wanted my kids to go through life feeling the same way. And I had just said one too many hundred times to them – “I will do that with you later – I have to work.” I was always telling them they came second or worse.. and I wasn’t good at keeping them a priority amidst my out of home working days – or at least I didn’t feel I was good at that. And so that’s why I am where I am now. I want to be their constant.
So… what will I do? – Good question – let’s give it a try and see..