Meet My Neighbor- Making the Moments Count

Welcome!  Today is my third week with a neighbor guest posting at my place for “Won’t You Be My Neighbor“.  This week I am honored to host Amber from Making the Moments Count.  I’ve so enjoyed reading Amber’s blog for the past few months for her stunning writing, introspective topics, and absolute honesty in all she puts forth.  She comes from a background very different than mine, yet, I feel we have so much in common.  I’m not sure how she does it with 2 babies under 2 and a husband in school, but she does.  And she does it beautifully.  I promise you’ll love her as much as I do!

Welcome Amber!

Hello, I’m Amber and I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom

When my husband and I were first married, I was set on waiting to have children. Oh, yes I was. I waited a whole month before I finally realized I was fighting a losing battle. I knew a baby was waiting for me.

Our decision, my decision, to bring a baby into this world at such a precarious time did not sit well for some members of our family. They inevitably asked me if I was going to finish school. This irritated me. If they knew me–knew my determination–they would not have asked such a ridiculous question. Of course I was going to finish school.

I worked hard. I was sicker than a dog. I had an emergency appendectomy. But, I continued my education.

Even when the Queen graced us with her presence, I was unfazed. I knew I would finish.

I went part-time for that first semester, than switched to full-time the next. I took the Queen to almost all my classes (my school was very accommodating).

It was tough. I had to get up even when the Queen was up all night. I had to write papers, attend class, take exams, write more papers, work on group assignments, all while taking care of the Queen. (Yes, my husband helped as much as he could between his own full load of pre-med classes and working.)

Amazingly, I did very well. I am proud to admit that I kicked trash in my classes. I will also confess that I was enthralled by it all. The stress. The deadlines. Studying. Preparing. The learning. Yes, the learning. I delighted in expanding my limited knowledge. I basked in the academic setting. I relished being a top student.

At the same time, I was engrossed in “the grass looks greener” syndrome. I envied my friends that were finished with school and at home with their children. I wanted that.

The time came for me to graduate (when I was 7 months pregnant with Manly, mind you). I was thrilled. I looked forward to my new occupation, that of being a stay-at-home mom.

It was great, for the first few weeks. Soon my job seemed insignificant. I missed the academic world, the contact with professors, the exchange of ideas.  I yearned for something more. My job as a stay-at-home mom did not–does not–satisfy my desire to learn. My writing is not given the accolades I once received in school. What I do at home surely is not as significant as what I could have done had I continued my educational career.

These new, bitter thoughts have consumed my pleasant life. Why can I not be satiated with the role I am in at the moment?

Cue the light bulb moment.

Being satisfied is my choice. For instance, when I am in the throes of pregnancy hell I often choose to be happy. It can be sickening how gleeful I become. I know that it will eventually end with a beautiful new baby boy or girl. Why, then, can I not bring this positive aspect into my new mothering career?

Because I feel that mothering is not fulfilling. Let me correct that. I think that mothering cannot be fulfilling.

The problem, you see, is that I choose to not let mothering be fulfilling. Why do I do this? Because I have allowed myself to listen and believe criminal thoughts.

Until now.

I am making a resolution. I will stop moaning and groaning about being a stay-at-home mom.** I will embrace the glory of teaching my children, of wiping runny noses, of kissing away tears. I am raising the leaders of the next generation and, by golly, I will rear them in the best possible way (within my own limitations). This may be a “thankless” job at the moment (okay, my husband thanks me like every day so that isn’t entirely true), but the rewards are endless.

Care to join me?

**This does not apply to sleepless nights, colicky babies, or other day-to-day motherhood activities. It applies to comparing this job to other jobs with all its accompanying emotional backlash. Because, let’s be real, I like to complain. What the heck would I talk about otherwise?

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Meet My Neighbor- Making the Moments Count

  1. Congratulations on your realization! My dream is to be a SAHM! I could give up my job, and be a homemaker and mom and be happy (at least I think so) so I hope you choose to be happy too. Good luck!
    Visiting from SITS!!

  2. You are wonderful, Miss! I think this is a terrific way to look at things and I have nothing but admiration for your resolve to make this the job of your dreams.

    I’d join you, but I’m potty training right now. When you get to the potty training phase with the Queen, you will totally understand the impossibility of loving my job right now 🙂 But maybe not. Maybe the Queen will love the potty. I’m crossing my fingers for you!

    • Kitch, I was thinking the other day that I should begin potty training the Queen. Are you telling me this is a horrible idea? That I won’t enjoy the accidents?

      I think that potty training mothers deserve a unique metal: “I potty trained my (insert gender) and lived to talk about it!”

  3. Pingback: Dear Alden, « Making the Moments Count

  4. Nicki

    I have been a go to the office mom, a stay at home mom and a work from home mom. I love them all, in retrospect. I think you are so right. We choose to be unfulfilled. We need to shift our thinking and it will all work out.

    Love your words, Amber!

    • Nicki, I really liked how you put it. It isn’t what role we are in, it is our attitude. Working or not working, we moms are important. We need to recognize that!

  5. Hi Amber! As you know, I have been thinking a lot about choice lately and I love your call to choose to be satisfied. As Nicki says, “shifting our thinking” can help shift our experience. I am guilty of forgetting this too often.

    And maybe you, Kitch, and I can start a potty training support group? We’re just about to start with Big Boy and I am not looking forward to it.

    • Yes, I would love a potty training support group! I don’t even know how I am going to start.

      It is easy to forget that we have the choice. I find myself pushing the blame elsewhere far too often. I hope to change that!

  6. I so understand. We’re on the same wavelength, because I recently wrote something similiar! I have struggled to find the ‘significance’ of staying home, and I always miss the academic world. But you’re absolutely right: it’s a choice we make to be happy and contented, every day. Thanks for this, and thanks for participating in Won’t You Be My Neighbor this week!

    • I remember when you wrote that post!

      I think that I will continue to miss the academic world. This is a good thing. It will keep me motivated to continue my education when my kids are older!

  7. I love the disclaimer!

  8. Thank you so much Amber for honoring me with your presence here at my humble abode!

    You have turned a light bulb on in my mind too on this. I too need to make the choice to be satisfied. I also need to stop comparing this career to the one I had in the past where I got yearly reviews, daily satisfaction from attaining goals, and a PAY CHECK! I need to remember that I am so LUCKY to be able to have this career, and do it full time. I’m with you in this resolution!

    • Becca, I constantly see myself in your writing! I understand your desire to want to work. I think about going back to school everyday. Without fail. I think about it and dismiss it. I know that right now it is impossible.

      I love that you said “lucky.” You are so right. I am very lucky that I have my job. Hey, at least I have job security!

  9. Becca, thank you for allowing me to post on your blog. I treasure your perspective and am honored that you asked me to post!!

  10. Amber, this post encompasses the thing I love best about you: your absolute brutal honesty! You are so courageous, admitting that mothering two under two might just not be the most fulfilling occupation in the world!

    I never set out to be a SAHM (and can I be a SAHM if the kids are at school all day?). Rather my company went through a reorganization that chewed me up and spat me out, so I finished my Master’s and have been an (unpaid) writer and editor since then.

    There’s a part of mothering I love: raising my kids’ minds, raising them in our faith – though they had to get a little older to appreciate those things. There’s the part that’s not so great: their bickering, checking up on every single thing they might forget every day, and the idea that, somehow, everyone in this family thinks I do nothing.

    Thanks for a great post.

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