Yesterday my boss dropped by Jennie G's and I told her I'm not coming back to work after Ivey is born. She was so sweet about it--especially considering that when I first told her about the pregnancy, I assured her I would be coming back. She said she completely understood, that she actually expected it, and supported me 100%. Then she hugged me.
It would have been an easy choice if I cleaned toilets or wiped elephant butts or something for a living. But Jennie G's is the best job I could have hoped for. When I had Suzi, they let me cut back from full-time to half-time. Instead of five four-hour days, they let me do four five-hour days so I could have one day home with my daughter (which is what I'm doing now). The shop stays busy in the winter, when we're frantically setting parents of small children up with home nebulizer machines, but we've recently slowed down for the spring and summer. Now most of our business consists of hospital-grade breast pump rentals. We also carry all kinds of cute baby stuff, and it's so exciting when a new shipment comes in.
I won't miss the grandmothers who tell new moms, "Oh please tell me you're not going to put your baby in one of those things" (meaning a hotsling). I won't miss the people who think belly casting is stupid, or the stories from women who just hate being pregnant. I won't particularly miss verifying insurance, especially over the phone. Or hearing how funny and convenient it is that I work in the hospital, because soon I'll be having the baby there. And I definitely won't miss hearing from those same people how big my belly is, or how "gee whiz, my wife only gained 15 pounds!"
I'll miss Pam's potato soup in a bread bowl for lunch in the cafeteria. I'll miss my employee discount! I'll miss troubleshooting a "broken" breast pump over the phone and hearing the mom say "ohhh! Now it's working!" I'll miss helping a new mom and her baby find the perfect hotsling. I'll miss talking to my friends, especially Vicky and Kelly, and talking about breastfeeding, vaccines, and doctors with our lactation consultant (not to mention any breastfeeding issues I happen to be having). Most of all I'll miss the opportunity to help other moms, even if it's just in a small way--but I'm hoping more opportunities will come along.
I won't miss teaching the Intro to Breastfeeding classes--because I'm going to keep doing that.
I won't miss trying to force a bottle on my bawling six-week-old baby because I have to leave her far earlier than any mother ever should--nor will I miss knowing she's getting formula in my absence because I didn't give myself time to build a decent supply. I won't miss leaving piles of dishes and laundry in the morning when they need to be done right then. Or finding out that Jordan is wearing flannel Christmas boxer shorts in July because I left the laundry too long. I won't miss sending the girls off to Grandma and Grandpa's every day (although Grandma might miss getting them, so we'll probably still have Grandma Day at least once a week).
I can't wait to have every day at home with my kids. I want to have a laundry and dishes day, a cooking and baking day, a grocery shopping day, and a field trip day. Maybe also a "home blessing" day where I clean bathrooms and vacuum and dust. I can't stand the thought of hiring a maid even if we had money to burn, so having the time to actually keep our house clean will be wonderful. I will be able to stay with my family over all of Christmas vacation, and not rush back to work the day after. I won't have to work family time and special events around my job. If one of the girls is sick, I won't have to wonder if I'm inconveniencing my coworkers or customers by staying home with her. I'll really be there for my family in a way I haven't been before. I'll be giving my daughters something I never received myself past about three months of age, and desperately wanted.
I don't think we will miss the money--at least not seriously. When we were told our insurance wasn't going to cover a homebirth, we wondered if we shouldn't go to the hospital and just make the best of it. I realized a few weeks later that this was God preparing us to lose my income. Paying for a homebirth out-of-pocket by 36 weeks is a valuable lesson in frugality! We have made changes. We've cancelled our cable TV and garbage pick-up service. Jordan has become skilled at finding bargains on groceries, and we don't buy half as much junk food or go to fast food places. Our thermostat has been turned completely off since early March and will stay off for as long as possible. We open the curtains and use natural light. We've finally paid off our nagging debt of hospital bills from Suzi's birth and my sprained ankle.
Inspired by Amy Dacyczyn, the Duggars, and several bloggers, I've realized that anything is possible if you are committed to achieving it. Of course, God has met us halfway as well. There has been unexpected money sent to us when we needed it (the big one was a tax mistake for which we were owed a refund, which will allow us have our van repaired), reminding us once again that if we take that leap of faith to do what God wants us to do, He will take care of us.
I know God wants me to stay home with my kids, so I'm not worried. This is a major lifestyle change, though, and I don't know exactly what it will feel like. What does it feel like being a stay-at-home mom? What do you love about it? What would you change? What do your kids think?