Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Then and Now...

Lately, I've been having these flashbacks.  They're kind of strange really, because they're being sparked mostly by other people.
You see, my daughter is about to turn 8 (in and of itself, totally unbelievable!) which means I've been a  Mom for that long. It means I haven't worked in corporate America for that long.  It means I've had my own direct selling business for that long.
Isn't it amazing how time flies?
Anyway, I think Sweetpea's impending birthday is making me think back on who I was before I was her Mother...

  • my house was mostly clean at any given moment (but then, I was mostly only in it to sleep)
  • I thought I'd be the perfect parent with a perfect child
  • I just KNEW I could be a very successful working Mom
  • I was pretty organized
  • I was respected by my co-workers and customers
AND, I was IN CHARGE! I was the boss, in pretty much every way I could be. At work, I was in charge of at least 3 bank tellers, and sometimes as many as 6.  I was in charge of certain routines and in charge of training others to do them and in charge of making sure they did them correctly.  
I was in charge of our household finances; I balanced the checkbook, transferred money between accounts, wrote out the checks for bills every month.  I made a good income, and in fact, my salary was just slightly lower than the hubby's, meaning I brought in almost half of our household income. 
I was in charge of my marriage too (or so I thought); in most cases, I could figure out how to get things to go my way.  I had a plan for everything.

Then I got pregnant with Sweetpea and the sky fell! 

My perfect pregnancy? Didn't happen! 
You know the one where I would feel great and go for walks and stay in good shape the entire time; not gain too much weight, and bounce back to work when she was 8 weeks old?
Yeah, right! 
I felt like puking from week 6 though most of the 40 weeks...was so tired I could barely make it through work and the traffic home, much less a work-out, gained about 60 pounds, and I think I cried for the first three days straight after she and I came home from the hospital (we were there 5 days)!

Perfect birth-plan didn't work out so well either ('nother story for another day/ post)!

Right about the time I hit the halfway point of my pregnancy, I knew - it hit me- my life was NEVER, EVER, EVER going to be the same.  I was about to change in a big way.

I had never in a million years wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom! Not because I didn't love my baby- on the contrary! I completely thought it was ok to continue pursuing a career and put her in daycare for 11 hours a day (and that may be ok for some people, but I quickly got a personal reality check).

Almost like someone flipping a switch, I knew I couldn't do it.  I wouldn't be able to hand over this precious baby growing inside me to someone else to take care of all day, every day, for days on end. I started to think of all the things I might miss during those 11 hours she was at daycare.  I started to hear stories from friends about babies rolling over or muttering first words and Mom or Dad missing it. 

Jump forward a few months and after many heated discussions with the Hubby about how we couldn't afford it, he finally agreed that I would be happier (and so would the baby) if we were both at home.

Still, I couldn't quite picture it.

I mean, I liked my job.  I was good it.  I got recognition for a job well done (most of the time).  Most of my friends worked for the same bank.
Would I be able to handle this identity crisis?

This week I ran into an old colleague from the bank, plus I uncovered an old planner with my Service Manager agendas and lists and "important" conference call notes.  And I kind of miss that girl; the one I used to be. She was ambitious, determined, and destined to do great things!

Back then, I felt important.  I was in charge; people looked up to me and counted on me, and somehow, I always pulled it off (whatever "it" was).  I had a great salary for a twenty-something with less than 5 years of banking experience.  When I wanted to spend some of that salary on something for myself- I did- no need to ask anyone else.  After all, I'd earned it right?

These days, some of these days, I'd tell you there is a stark contrast between then and now.
Most days, my house looks like a war-zone.
I am NOT a perfect Wife or Mother and I MOST DEFINITELY do not have perfect children.
Most days, I feel pretty DISorganized and mostly DISrespected. Definitely unappreciated (there are no recognition rewards for a job well done here).
I am not really so much "in charge". 

And most nights, I climb into bed thinking of all I DID NOT get done today.

Tonight, I am thinking of how far I've come from that girl I was 8 years ago.

I've learned there's no such thing as perfect.
I've learned to let things go (judging by the dust in my house, maybe I've gotten too good at this one).
I've learned I can't be successful at being everything to everybody.
I've learned that organization isn't everything and that Mom was right: respect does have to be earned.
I've learned that to get appreciation, you have to give a lot more of it than you want back.

I might not feel in charge anymore, but I know I am important.

Sweatpea said before dinner tonight, "Mom, I enjoy spending time with you because I don't see you all day!" And I asked Bubba before bed, "Who's my favorite little boy in the whole world?" He proceeded to guess every male family member he could think of knowing fully MY answer would be "YOU!"

And they make it worth it.  I think I can stand feeling unimportant for a few more years. 
Because THEY are ambitious and determined and destined to do great things; it's my job to guide them.

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