Dateline: August 1999
On this day, on the way to the photo shop to get my older son's second birthday photo taken, I realized I was a few days late in my cycle. We went into the photo studio to get his photo taken and the photographer said there were a couple of exposures left on the roll and asked to take them with me and my son together. It was not planned, my hair was still damp and I didn't eve have make up on, but I let her snap them anyway. I bought a pregnancy kit in the grocery store next door and headed to my mother's house for a visit. In her bathroom I discovered I was pregnant. It was a total surprise. I guess that explains the glow in my cheeks. At this time my son was a happy toddler, still nursing, being raised at home by me with an attachment parenting style of parenting.
Dateline: Summer 2000
Here's my younger son at twelve weeks old. Yes he was a big baby, he was 11 lbs. 11 oz. at birth and I was thrilled to finally have the medical intervention free birth that I had wanted. He thrived on exclusive breastfeeding, and in this photo he was just over 20 lbs. at twelve weeks old! He smiled on the first day he was born and was a very happy baby. Today he laughs easily and he likes to make people laugh with jokes and silly antics. Last week he asked me if people can make a living at being a professional comedian and said he thinks that is what he'd like to be when he grows up.
Here is another photo from that summer; it is my older son, in the month he turned three years old, in Cape Cod.
Active parenting and being a mother-at-home is a very hard job. It is the most rewarding job I've ever had in my life. I feel it is an honor to be able to pause my corporate career to "stay home" to raise and home educate my children. Despite what the media and some people say, as a woman not working for pay, with has a diploma in a trade and a bachelor's degree as well as continuing my self-education through reading, I am very fulfilled and mentally stimulated. I have a lot of interaction with other adults. I am free from the bondage of a work schedule, I control my life. Although the phrase is "stay at home mom" the truth is I am very much out of the house and actively living in the world. I did find it a difficult adjustment in the first months, to leave the corporate life behind however the truth is as soon as I realized that I was actually living in total freedom I felt more liberated than ever!
I am happily married. Both of my husband and I believe that marriage is a committment to live our lives together with a common purpose. For me, marriage is not a bondage experience. The marriage takes work and it is worth it. By weathering the storms such as unemployment, seeing a parent sick and dying and things like that, our relationship has grown stronger. I am completely happy to let go of my income and to rely on my husband to be the sole financial provider for our family. We are both willing to live the way we do and to forego some luxuries such as luxury cars, frequent fancy vacations, not having the house professionally decorated, and following all the latest trends in fashion in order to be at home with my children and raise them in the way that we feel is best for their development. Both my husband and I had a mother-at-home to raise us and we wanted that for our children too--it was planned by us back when we were dating, before we were even engaged to be married.
Boy, do kids grow up quickly. Here they are now.
Younger son on The National Mall, April 2008, close to his eighth birthday. He asked to do this pose, it was his idea, as he thought it was funny to try to make it look like he was leaning on or holding up the Washington Monument.
Older son age 10.5, at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, April 2008. Since age one this son has had a strong interest in space travel and he wants to be an aerospace engineer or a mechanical engineer when he grows up.
My boys and I in front of The White House, April 2008. (Younger son intentionally making a face to be a schooch.)
Explanation of the term and evidence ongoing self-education on my part: Note while blogging that word 'schooch' I wanted to double check the spelling as I've never written it before. I learned it is not an American slang term as I thought. It is an Italian word that has made its way into local slang in this area due to the large number of Italian immigrants who live here. The long word is scocciatore and it is shortened to 'scocc' pronounced 'skooch' and it means 'being a pest, a nuisance'. Specifically, when that is said it refers to a person who intentionally makes themselves a pest to bother another person, to be a pain in the neck to them because they want to annoy a person. I am sure some other parents have a 'scocc' or a 'schooch' as a child and if not, you may have a schooch in another area of your life. Learning about that word is a small example of self-education. A larger example is the fact that the children and I had free schedules and were able to tag along on my husband's business trip to Washington D.C. where we saw and learned a lot of things.
Recommended Reading to Reinforce that Being a Mother-at-Home is Good for Both Mother and Child
"Ships Without a Shore" by Anne Pierce PhD
"Sequencing" by Arlene Cardoza
Also of interest---
"Surrendering to Motherhood" by Iris Krasnow, this is a memoir about letting go of her career to raise her children.
Technorati Tags: parenting, mothering, sequencing, feminism, stay at home mom.