Tag Archives: words of wisdom

Why I Turned Down a Job to be a Stay at Home Mom

Why I Turned Down a Job Today

The original plan was never for me to be a stay at home mom.  When I quit my job in November, I intended to enjoy the holidays at home with my family and immediately begin looking for new employment after New Years.

Within days of resigning, I had an interview lined up already.  It seemed a very promising opportunity.  After a month-long interview process in which I was all but guaranteed the spot, there was a “miscommunication” and I was told they were going to “pass.”  Definitely a bummer, but perhaps a blessing in disguise– I might have ended up working for another shady company.

“Why don’t you just stay home with the kids?  You don’t need to go back to work– we’re doing fine.  It’s been so good for the girls.”  I couldn’t believe my husband was suggesting such an idea.  Work was all I knew.  It was part of my identity.  I’d been a part of the workforce since I was old enough to legally do so.  (Actually, I started much earlier as a groom at the stable where I took lessons in trade for attending horse shows.)

To be honest, it was such a relief to think my world would no longer revolve around someone else’s schedule (except two little girls!)  I had been so happy for the past month– apparently I had been more miserable than I realized at my last job.  It was as if a fog had been lifted and I was truly enjoying life.  I was reluctant to do anything which might jeopardize this newfound happiness.

So I stayed home and resolved to do all the things that had fell by the wayside while I was working full time.  I caught up with the laundry (for a day…then of course it was piled everywhere again, but hey I did it!)  I thoroughly cleaned and reorganized our exercise studio/game room.  I made sure the kitchen was spotless every night before I went to bed– waking up to an empty sink and sparkling counters is an amazing feeling– even I can hardly believe I just said that, but it’s true!  The girls and I took leisurely walks whenever the weather allowed.  Matt and I ran errands on his days off– just enjoying being together as a family.  I re-dedicated myself to my writing.  Work had sucked my energy to where I was literally just surviving every day.  Now I was actually living.

This went on for a few months and our family settled into a comfortable routine.  Then I got a call from a former work colleague.  She too had left the company I worked for last due to the negative environment.  Now she was asking if I would like to come meet the owner of the new spot she had gone to– they were looking for someone with my experience and she thought I would be a great fit.

Panic set in.  Things were going so well at home, was it worth it to rock the boat?  Annabelle still had a couple months before we could start weaning– I couldn’t bear the thought of dusting off the dreaded pump.  Would I still have time for my writing?  That was my “me” time– I looked forward to it every day.  Did I even want to go to work outside the home?  Was I lazy or selfish for even having these feelings?

“So don’t do it.”  Hubby said matter-of-factly.  “You don’t have to.”  He sees the world very black and white.  It’s easy for him to make decisions without getting emotional.  If only it were that easy for me! I decided to at least go in for a meeting and see exactly what the position entailed.  I was flattered that my friend had suggested me and felt I owed her that much.  I figured that it would be at least 40 hours plus some nights (as most event jobs are) and that I would simply be unable to meet those demands.  But at least I would have “tried” and given the opportunity a fair listen before politely declining.

Fast forward a few days and I’m sitting in front of one of Houston’s culinary greats.  He is an imposing physical presence, but at the same time very warm and easy to talk to.  “So what schedule would work for you?  Do you need to leave by 2?  Can you be here at 9?  Family is important to me, so I understand your situation.”  Well this was not what I expected.  Here he was asking me what would be my ideal schedule.  He was so willing to work with me that I wanted to take the job for that reason alone.

I had anticipated an easy out– a schedule to which I would be unable to commit.  Instead I had an offer on the table for a part time job with hours that were tailored to me.  The pay wasn’t great, but what part time job would be able to compete financially with the salary and commission I pulled before?  Plus I could probably learn a lot from someone so knowledgable in the industry.

Hubby was less than excited.  “It’s not that much money.  It’s not really worth it.”  At first I was frustrated– he wasn’t even listening to the positive aspects!  “If you really want to do it, we’ll make it work,” he assured me. “But I love having you home.  And what about your writing?  You won’t have as much time.”

He was trying to be supportive, but I could see that he did not want me to accept.  Could I blame him?  Sure, the part-time schedule worked great for me, but what about him?  As a night manager he often doesn’t even get home until 4am.  If I was leaving at 8am every morning, it meant he would get an absurdly little amount of sleep.  No one could function on 3-4 hours of rest every single day.  It really would be asking him to make a huge sacrifice– for what amounted to only a couple hundred extra bucks a week.

I agonized (probably more than I should have) over the decision for two days.  However, when I thought about what was best for our family as a whole, it is for me to be exactly where I am at the moment.  It still didn’t make it any easier for me to write a letter of regret turning down the job.  To accept that for the time being I am not the prime breadwinner.  To let go (at least temporarily) the part of me that sees myself as a working woman and embrace this new identity as a stay at home mom.

That is what I am right now, but that is not ALL that I am.  I am a writer.  I am a counselor to family and friends who come to me for career advice (I was there for over 15 years!)  I am a motivator to those that need a little extra encouragement to make a positive change in their lives or pursue a dream (leaving a fairly lucrative career to stay home and commit to my writing was a risk, but it is my dream).  I am the backbone of our family– keeping home and finances in order.  I am molding two little girls into strong and intelligent little ladies.

Typing it out and owning it is such an empowering feeling.  If writing is not your thing, I encourage you to say it out loud mamas!  Often when we make the choice to stay home, we often lose a little bit of ourselves and our identity as an independent woman.  But it is still there inside– your assets and gifts that you offer the world, whether it be from an office or your house.  Remember your strengths and your passions and know that you are still as important, if not more so now, than you were before!

I do feel truly blessed that I am able to have this time with my family and my girls, though it was not without sacrifice–read about the one lifestyle change that we made which allowed me to be a stay at home mom.

Why I Am Proud to Say I Wear Mom Jeans

While browsing Pinterest a couple days ago, I came across a pin that blared “Gap and Old Navy Make MOM Jeans!!”  Intrigued, I clicked through to the original blog post.  The writer had apparently done lots of “research,” trying on numerous pairs of jeans from Gap and Old Navy, photographing herself wearing them, and comparing the results to those of her backside in various luxury denim labels.

Do your jeans qualify as "mom jeans?"

As I read the entire story, I found myself irritated, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.  It was a very popular pin.  Scores of women had commented about how funny it was.  The author professed that she was trying to free others “from the noose” of mom jeans.  No red-blooded young woman wants to be caught dead in the tapered monstrosities that our moms rocked in the 90s.  But is this a fair comparison?

At first I decided to simply let it go.  Who cares what some random chick in cyberspace thinks about fashion.  But I couldn’t stop thinking about that article.  I wear Gap jeans.  And I was damn proud to finally purchase a pair of “normal” jeans five months after the birth of my first baby.

I assumed that since I was slim before my pregnancy that I would have no trouble getting back into shape.  I heard breastfeeding just melted away the pounds.  Not for me.  An unplanned c-section meant I could hardly walk, let alone exercise for the first eight weeks postpartum.  Consequently, the weight clung to my midsection.  It was a very discouraging experience.

When I was finally cleared for physical activity, I hit it hard.  I worked out six days a week, graduating from walking and light yoga to more intense cardio and weight training.  One day my husband told me it was time to put away the maternity clothes– they were hanging off my butt.  We went to a store that I thought might have something to fit my more mature shape at an affordable price.  I still had some inches to lose, so I figured that I would get a few pairs of pants until I needed to buy smaller ones again a few months down the road.

When I tried on that first pair of size 27 (keep in mind I’m only 5’3″) Gap boot cut jeans and they *gasp* FIT, it was such a rewarding feeling– my hard work and dedication had paid off.  So what if they weren’t the most trendy jeans on the planet–they had a solid waistband and an actual button and to me that was a huge accomplishment.

So when I see some girl’s diatribe against jeans that millions of us moms wear happily, it ticks me off.  Has this girl had a baby?  Has she struggled to lose those stubborn pounds that made it impossible to wear ANY jeans without an elastic waistband? Doubtful, as she likely would have mentioned that in her post.

She recommends that we moms instead shop premium denim brands which offer more flattering cuts and details.  For two hundred dollars a pair they damn sure better make your butt look incredible!  But when I’m simply looking for a couple items to hold me over while I work on the last ten pounds, I’m not going to sink a car payment into each pair of jeans.

I’m not ashamed to shop at Gap, and if that means that I’m now officially dressed in “mom jeans,” so be it.  To wrap things up, I thought I would include some photographic evidence of my own:

momjeans

Guess what — it’s the same pair of jeans.  Gap Jeans.  Amazing what different camera angles and poses will do!  Like the old saying goes: it’s not about what you wear, it’s how you wear it.  “Mom jeans” doesn’t have to mean something bad.  My “mom jeans” are a badge of honor–I know what I went through to get into these jeans.  Many of us sacrificed so much to become a mother, and equally as much to reclaim our womanly figures.

This is the kind of message we should be sharing– one of positivity and support for our fellow ladies and mothers.  Sure, if you have the money and want to buy your True Religion or Seven for All Mankind Jeans there’s nothing wrong with that.  But there’s also nothing wrong with buying what you can afford and what you feel comfortable in.  Fashion is fun, but I vote that we try to care more about the people behind the clothes.

Moms do chores on Friday night

I should have just said “thank you!”

A couple days ago my mother-in-law offered to call her cleaning lady to come to our house.  I thought I had been doing a GREAT job: cleaning the kitchen top to bottom every single night, sweeping daily, mopping weekly, cleaning bathrooms (and the tubs) weekly, keeping up with endless (literally) laundry, picking up all kid toys before bed, heck I even scrubbed the kitchen cabinets this week!  So I was a little surprised by her suggestion.  I mean, it made sense when I worked full time, but now that I am home isn’t cleaning in my new “job description?”

Confused, I pointed out how many chores I did every day.  “I feel like the house is cleaner than ever…”

“Well, it’s so much work taking care of two kids.  I raised twins so I know.  I just thought it would be nice to help you.”

“I appreciate it,” I replied, debating whether or not to take her up on the offer.  “But it just seems silly with me home every day.  I can handle it– is there something I missed?”

“Well…” Pause. “There’s a little dust on the bookshelves…”  Dust?!  “I just know how busy you are and everyone has allergies and…”

I know she meant well, but now I really couldn’t accept– I definitely couldn’t justify anyone (even if it was a gift) paying a cleaning crew to come in because there was a little dust on some shelves.  I assured her that I had everything under control and not to worry.

So here I am, exhausted, finally sitting down at 11pm because I spent my Friday night DUSTING.  Part of me wonders if my mother-in-law will even notice.  Oh well, the house does smell fabulous (gotta love Pledge)  And I guess it’s my own fault.  I have told Mateo so many times that he needs to learn how to graciously just say “thank you” on occasion. Maybe I should have heeded my own advice.

Being a stay at home mom IS hard work!  There’s really no way of knowing until you’re in it– making sure big sis is dressed, fed, and off to school on time in the morning; changing every poopy diaper (for some reason Annabelle saves them for me); trying to think of ways to entertain two kiddos all afternoon; squeezing in a workout wherever possible; completing all of the aforementioned chores; getting both kids bathed, fed, in pajamas, and in bed at a reasonable time and praying that no one has a meltdown.

Moms (and dads): there’s nothing wrong with accepting an offer of help or a gift every once and a while.  It doesn’t mean that you are a bad mom or you’re not doing a good job.  It means that there is someone out there who CARES– let them!  I’ve learned my lesson!  Next time I’ll be relaxing and watching an entire movie on a Friday instead of looking for all the dust I’ve missed.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far!

It HAS to be hard!

This afternoon, while in the middle of my daily workout, I grunted “ughh this is so hard!”  Lilu, always ready with words of wisdom, chimed in “but Stacey, it HAS to be hard!  Otherwise your muscles won’t get pumped!”  Dang…why does she always have to be so RIGHT?

Whoever said that breastfeeding will make the baby belly just melt away LIED.  I know for a fact because I couldn’t exercise at all for 8 weeks (heck I could barely walk) due to my stomach being sliced open, and my baby belly did not budge one inch.  So yea, breastfeeding being the miracle weight loss secret is a big lie…at least in my case.

Once I was cleared to work out, I knew I had to hit it hard…I use that term loosely, as once again I was barely walking up to this point.  After a couple weeks of light yoga and longer walks, my husband (fiance at the time) encouraged me to step it up if I wanted real results by our wedding, which was three months away.  Thanks honey.

He had purchased the P90X3 series for himself a while back and even on the “ice cream diet” he lost a ton of weight.  (Disclaimer: I am not a Beachbody coach and I am not affiliated in any way with P90X).  I thought it might be too tough for me at this point (which was discouraging after being super active my whole life prior), but I gave it a shot.  It WAS hard…REALLY hard, but I kept at it and was able to get to a place where I was comfortable (aka I looked more like a normal person and not like I had a pillow under my shirt) before the wedding.

For a while it was a challenge even finding the time to be able to work out…I needed someone else around to watch the kids or for them to both be asleep.  And that wasn’t always possible.  Sometimes I ended up not being able to get started until 11pm and I’m too exhausted by that point.  But I finally was able to find balance, and strangely it was when I involved the kids instead of trying to get away from them. (Just while I worked out…don’t worry!)

Lilu was intrigued when she saw me doing yoga (which I’ll admit that I did WAY more than any of the other routines…because it made me feel awesome).  I invited her to workout next to me and believe it or not, this pretty high-strung 6 year old has got a knack for yoga!  For Christmas Grandpa might have gotten a hint that she needed her own mat– hot pink of course– and now we are really in business!

A couple times a week we set up next to each other and pop in the P90 Yoga DVD.  We go through the entire 30 minutes, pushing ourselves a little further each time and lamenting about how Ted, quietly head-standing away in the back of the studio, is SUCH a show-off.  If Annabelle is awake from her nap, we set her up on a blanket next to us so she can do her own baby exercises (lots of rolling and grabbing the toys we’ve surrounded her with).

By making exercise a family activity, I’ve made it possible for me to get it done every day (ok, 6 days a week).  Instead of having to try to squeeze a workout in around all the chaos that is a 2 kid household, we’ve made it a fun bonding time and something we look forward to (we even got Daddy to join in last week on his new mat!)  I definitely don’t push it past 30 minutes (that’s why the P90 is so great…the workouts are super intense so you don’t need longer)…both Annabelle and Lilu’s attention spans will only go so far.

As women and moms we are constantly bombarded by pressure to drop the baby weight in record time.  Celebs are back in bikinis after three months, simply by “chasing the kids around all day”…give me a break.  Even though we know that’s a crock of sh*t, it’s still hard not to get down on ourselves.  From someone who really did (and still does) have to WORK to drop the belly, I know that anyone can do it if you put in the time and effort.  My *aha!* moment was when I stopped trying to make working out this torturous block of time I had to set aside from everyone and everything (which made me feel guilty that I was “hiding” from the kids and just logistically was difficult to get time alone) and made it something that the whole family could be a part of.

But do keep in mind that your belly was a beautiful thing just a few months ago (remember how many bump pics we took along the way!), so don’t be so critical of yourself.  And remember that it HAS to be hard if you want your muscles to get pumped!  Happy exercising!

YOU are the perfect mom.

Today my mom, my stepdaughter and I were sitting around the table playing with Kinetic Sand (cool stuff btw if you’re looking for an easy-to-clean kid activity).  In conversation, I said “it’s not like I’m the perfect mom or anything.”  Without hesitation, 6 year old Lilu piped up: “but Stacey, you ARE the perfect mom.”  It really caught me off guard– it was so genuine and so unexpected.

It made me think– I AM the perfect mom.  YOU are the perfect mom.  Even if your kid doesn’t consciously say it, it’s because they inherently know it.  You are the perfect mom because you are THEIR mom.  Every day you do the best you can to teach, entertain, love, and protect.  From the moment you wake up until you (finally!) lie down to sleep, your life revolves around these little people.  You might not think so, but just as you love them more than they will ever know, they appreciate you more than you will ever realize.

So on those tough days where big sis is tired and moody after a long day at school, and the baby cries for hours because her new teeth hurt, and the house is a mess, and you feel like you just barely made it until bedtime without locking yourself in the bedroom and hiding– just remember– YOU are the PERFECT mom, and that is the best compliment you can ever receive.