From Teacher to Mom
From teacher to stay at home mom, boom, just like that. I had the luck of being
RIF’d by the district I worked in. As just one in a long list of layoff’s due to budget constraints, I took this as a sign (this is how I try to flow with life’s little trials). Some might be angry, frustrated or frightened, but to me being layed off had a silver lining. I would be a mom with a 6 month old baby the next September, who would not have to wonder “How will I be ready to leave the little guy? And with who?” So I settled into motherhood, like a butterfly in a warm trade wind, wisked away into the world of feeding & diapering, smiling & singing, and the scooching & babbling bliss of our new family.
Those were the days, really! Those of you with multiple kids know the first has his benefits. He’s the only and the one, with two parents with two hands each ready to dote on him. Tag team efficiency and boundless team spirit ruled the day along with my new mom enthusiasm. I particularly love the baby stage actually. I never felt nervous or frightened about what to do, it just made sense, the big three: Love, Sleep, Food, were all we needed to know.
After nursing my oldest son to a year old, I became pregnant with number two, and I was no longer being whisked along on this journey. I still adored the baby stage but managing sleep schedules and nursing and diapering with an active 18 month old required actual effort and planning that often overwhelmed this tired mama I had become. Afterall, an 18 month old is still at a rather impulsive stage, so taking showers and such require some creative planning and fast washing. Not to mention, the 18 month old rarely napped. Sleeping during the day seems to be a trait none of my children inherited, but as they have all been great nighttime sleepers, I forgive them.
By this time my oldest was walking and talking up a storm, despite the fact that he never really crawled. He is famous in our family for his one legged scooch; one knee forward, one leg back inch worming around the house. Endlessly inquisitive, by 26 months he asked his first “why” question while drinking his juice, “Ooh it’s cold. Daddy, why it’s cold?” At 33 months he was potty trained and dressing himself, he asked children he met their names and shared with his little brother, who he clearly loved. And that baby had a smile and shine in his eye that still lights a room, and he is seven now.
Tired or not we were active. The kids made snowmen indoors at the kitchen counter one day when the cold was too much for the littlest fella. They built forts in the living room and outdoors, painted pictures at the easel, and squished endless globs of playdough. Duplo block mouse houses were erected, magnets thunked around the house, and shovels unearthed miles of earth in those days.
But of course there were challenges too. Two little boys under the age of three, yeah there were challenges. Grocery shopping was an inexplicably impossible task, as the oldest quickly learned to unbuckle his cozy coupe seatbelt and then his brother’s as well. Ugh!! It seemed like the grocery store and all it’s visual chaos just was too much for these guys or was it just one?(so hard to tell sometimes when they get going together) The oldest would laugh (was it nervous? Or mischievous?) as I tried to keep him in the cart long enough to pay for the groceries and get out of Dodge. On a good day though we would make it all the way to the checkout before all hell would break loose. It must have been someone who truly detested their mother who designed those special car carts with the child way down in front and aisles so narrow, so your preschooler gets to stare at (if you are lucky) all the candy down there, where you can’t reach him to save your life, while all you want to do is get the doggone groceries out of the cart so you can pay and get the heck out of there! Needless to say I began dragging myself out after supper to grocery shop.
Don’t be mistaken, overall, I really enjoyed being home with my two little guys. We played hide and seek and ran laps on our indoor track every evening after exploring new ideas, stories, activities, or places each day. But, In hindsight, which of course is , those trips to the grocery store were the first sign that the shoe really was about to drop. But then, really, who could be listening amidst that kind of family raising chaos? And after all, they were two active boys under age 3. . . 4. . .5. . .6. . . 7. . .ummm. when are they going to grow out of this again?