One step at a time

Creating an enjoyable journey for myself and my family.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Working vs. Stay at Home Mom

This topic has been jingling around in my mind for quite some time. I don't know how else to introduce my post than to say that I want to weigh in on one of the most hotly debated questions for women of my generation. One day my daughters will face the question of wether to work or stay home and maybe they'll want to know what I was thinking, "back then."

I started my first job when I was 15, I could not wait to have a job. I wanted to build a resume. I wanted the freedom that only comes from cold hard cash. I wanted to impress my parents, siblings, friends and teachers. I wanted a life outside of home and school. I worked at the local movie theater, then became a lifeguard (motivated by my sun worship and interest in buff guys), then worked for a small resort in Utah called The Wintergreen at Midway marketing timeshares, managed a few DownEast Outfitters, managed a few Seagull Books, directed the marketing for Cedar Fort, published a few books, directed the marketing for Millennial Press, managed the advertising needs for all the KFC's in California for a brief stint and then chucked my promising career in marketing to teach English in Japan. I honestly loved every job on that list.

In the middle of all that ladder climbing I married the man of my dreams, bought a house, had two daughters within a year, finished a degree in Communications/Public Relations at Brigham Young University and managed to hang on to a few brave souls who were crazy enough to want to be my friends.

Sometimes I look at those things and think, "Yeah ! I did that! What a GREAT career! How awesome am I?!!!" Then there are the other times, the more honest times. During those times I think, "I was totally out of my mind! I have been burning the candle at both ends big time! How could I possibly have thought that was a good idea??!!"

So I'm not telling anyone what they ought to do. The decision to work or stay home has so many implications no one else can make that choice for you. It wouldn't be possible. But I've been home with my daughters now for the better part of seven months and I choose them. As one of my friends told me once, "My kids need me and I need them." I was managing millions of dollars in marketing budgets at that point, so I totally didn't understand what she was talking about, but I do now.

My days are filled with real meals at the kitchen table, story time, walks, movies, snuggling, correcting bad behavior and praising good behavior. For me, no other job could compete with this.

My career can wait. Whatever stuff I thought I wanted to buy with my extra income can wait. My daughters don't have to wait anymore. They've waited long enough.

I embrace the life of a stay-at-home-mom. I love having time for myself, my man, and my kids. I don't miss the suits, the travel, fine dining, prestige, power, or parties. I was so afraid I would, but I don't.

Being home with my daughters has changed me. I don't run around like a chicken with my head chopped off anymore. I don't rely on my husband for day-to-day household tasks. I have time to think about stuff I didn't before like what Mia should learn before she starts kindergarten. I take better care of myself...mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I help other people with my time and attention, rather than paying my way out of helping others. I feel much more peace and balance.

I know it's a tough choice, no matter what you choose, but for me, for now, I choose to stay home.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Beginning

I was hoping to make a post today about Adam's new job...but that was before the Seattle Snowpocalypse forced Adam to reschedule the three promising interviews he had set up this week. When it snows in Seattle this entire area just shuts down. So Adam has one offer in hand, it's from his 4th choice out of 4 possibilities currently in process. We're getting closer. We both believe Adam will have accepted one of the four jobs within the next week.

Without overstating the obvious, that means we aren't going back to Japan right now. We're all at varying levels of disappointment about that reality. Our work visas from Japan have still not been approved. The other family that came back in the same boat as us decided to cancel their visa through GEM School and pursue visas through another school. They return to Japan in two weeks and we are envious. Having said that, we have sustained massive financial loses because of this visa setback. We have lost tens of thousands of dollars to follow our dreams. But, dreams don't pay the bills folks. :)

Adam has been preparing in every conceivable way to make his interviews a success and so have his recruiters. I believe in him and his skills, but a few extra prayers wouldn't hurt. As much fun as it has been to live with Grandma and Grandpa Jex, it sure would be nice to move into a place of our own. This January, this job, this state...these all mark some aspect of our family's new beginnings. 2012 has unimaginable adventures in store for our family; making sure we are heading out on the right foot is our main priority now. With the help of our faith, family and friends we are working toward a great year in 2012.

Praise for Patagonia

You may not have heard, especially if your power has been down like mine, but Seattle has been experiencing Snowpocalypse for the last three days. It snowed 6 inches on Wednesday. Then the power went out as freezing rain descended upon us for nearly 48 straight hours. Trees have been falling down on cars, homes and power lines as snow and ice have weighed them down. Fortunately our family has all come out of this experienced unscathed. We've had generators, food, name it...we've been prepared.

There was one issue I was really nervous about when the snow started feet. I didn't have any boots. Our family stocked up on gear when we were preparing to go back to Japan and I bought myself a pair of Patagonia Toast and Jam Boots. I expected mild weather in Seattle and knew the rubber soles would get me through the standard rain and slush. Little did I expect weather conditions like these! The great news is that my pigskin leather and rubber sole shoes totally protected my feet during four hours of sledding. My shoes were soaked, my feet were dry and toasty. I am so thrilled with Patagonia right now I just had to give them a atta-boy on my blog. I will be a Patagonia customer for life.

Here is a link to a pair of shoes similar to mine, I couldn't find the exact ones.