August 10, 2013

the tug of war within

This evening, my son was finishing a bit of jello and drinking milk from his sippy cup. Well, that's a tidy way of putting what really happened - he was smashing the jello on his dinner tray and tipping over the sippy cup to get some milk to come out, then watching the puddle explode as he smashed it, then adding more milk, then more puddle smashing... You get the idea.

Normally I whisk everything away saying "All done!" to minimize the mess and to gradually guide him to just stopping or declaring "All done!" when he's finished instead of chucking food and liquids and containers every which way. But today I decided to observe him. I grabbed my phone and shot a quick video. I realized he'd figured out a way to sort of do finger painting with the jello and milk. And it was really kind of cool. Okay, so as soon as I shot the video I cleaned him up and all that, but still.

Now that he's only in day care 3 days a week, I'm starting to see what staying home really looks like. Granted, it's not the real thing. Not really - not when I have the place, and myself, all to myself for three whole days in a row, which most SAHMs don't have the luxury of. But it's starting to feel like... okay, maybe I really could survive this way. Maybe.

There lies my tug of war within.

Who's better off if I go back to work, really? Me? My retirement accounts? Costco?

This afternoon, I came home with the boy from a birthday party and he seemed to be confused as to whom he wanted to hold him. Daddy, then me, then no one, then Daddy... it was a bit awkward. I basically told my husband he needed to spend some dedicated time with our son to make sure that bond stays secure, especially with me spending so much more time with him. It came out a bit more simplistic than that the first time, but we talked about it later.

I want to think that my perfect vision of reality (working part-time until the boy starts school) really is possible. But I don't know that - not yet. I put out feelers, network like crazy, get my website and business networking profile spiffed up. And I wait. In purgatory. While the door of stay-at-home-motherhood creaks open just a bit more.

Meanwhile, I face the possibility of compromising or abandoning my prime earning years as a mid-career professional in my mid-40s (still trying to make peace with that mid-40s thing, but that's another blog post). I'll be the first to admit that I've never really taken my career as seriously as I could have - not until recently. And now that's all being called into question.

Just now I remembered something really important:

Sometime last year, I was at a small group (church) meeting and we were going around the room sharing how we picture Jesus. An image, a representation, what He means to us. I said that I picture myself in a little boat floating on a big ocean with whipping waves and storm clouds - and Jesus is the island in the storm. When, in fact, He's not just the island. He's the boat.