Just be in the moment

I have been told over the years that I think too much, that I worry too much. This can be a good and a bad quality. As a teenager and in college, I think it was good. I would think, discuss, have really deep conversations and soul search. But, now as an adult with two kids, I almost want to push a button and turn off ‘the think’.

In June I made a very big decision, one that I struggled with for many years. I left my job. The first three months I enjoyed the honeymoon stage of everything being perfect and wonderful. It was summer. The weather was nice. Everyone in my family was happy. The pool was open. I wasn’t over thinking it. Then fall came and school started, along with it the real job of being an at-home mom. Before long, winter set in. The days feel long and cold and the gray sky really starts getting to me. I promised myself I would try to embrace my inner winter. But, it’s a true struggle for this native Californian girl.

Many days I really like being home -even in the winter. I am so glad to pick up my daughter at preschool every day and I am happy to be home when my son gets off the bus. I’m helping my son academically because I can now focus on working with him on homework. I am definitely less frazzled on a daily basis and I’ve even spent more time with my dogs. One of my favorite things to do is to take them to the nearby 44-acre dog park where they run and play and, I can, well, think!

There are many reasons why I am glad to be at home, but there are other reasons I am not. I have less time to talk on the phone without the nearly two-hour round-trip commute to work and back. Often I would talk to my mom, and I know that both of us miss the talk time. I spend less time to be with adults (seems like I spend most of my time with those who are 8 and under and K-9). I feel less social lately. On the plus side, I do have more time to do errands. I never got things done when I worked. I just got used to running out of milk. I was always running behind. But a part of me actually likes taking on too much. Right now, I am not challenged in that way. I have time to pause. Yet, I have a hard time finding time to take a shower at a normal time. Often I will just stay in my workout clothes all day. I try to make dinner almost every night. I am less forgetful.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I have more time to think.

Just today, as I was talking to a friend on the phone, I had an a-ha moment: No matter where you are or what you are doing, there are going to be good days and bad days. No matter if I worked or didn’t work, I would be struggling with the grayness of winter. I always get down this time of the year. Regardless of where I am, I would still have hard decisions to make about being a parent. I had lonely days when I was working. I have lonely days now. I also have to stop looking back (I’ve got a big problem with this), stop looking so far forward (another problem), and look to the now.

To be in this moment.

I am convinced that there are no easy choices for the 2011 mom. Working. Not working. They are both challenging in EXTREMELY different ways. I can say now that I have done both, and nothing comes without a price. I have friends who are miserable working and friends who are miserable staying home. I have friends who couldn’t imagine staying at home. I have friends who can’t even fathom working outside the home. I am stuck somewhere in the middle of it all, and I’m just trying to figure out if the grass is always greener on the other side.

I guess I am going to have to think about it some more.

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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