I have friends that are stay-at-home moms, friends that are part-time working moms, and friends that are full-time (or more) working moms. I’ve always just thought we do what we need to do, for our mental health, finances, or to fulfill our passions. Just a couple years after we got married, I kind of dreamily discussed being a stay-at-home mom with J. It was more of a “if we win the lottery” discussion than any firm plan. I wasn’t even ready for kids yet, and didn’t think about it very often after that. Fast forward 8 or so years, and not only am I a SAHM, I’ve been one for over a year, I quit my job 3 months before my son was even due, and I bake our own hamburger rolls. Yes, you heard that right. The Murphy’s Law part of the whole thing is that I had just found a job and an industry that I was actually passionate about.
As much as I liked my job, it didn’t pay a lot. I ran the beer department for a large grocery store. I basically did the ordering and talked to customers all day about craft beer. I was able to meet some industry people, go to beer events in the name of research, and even went on a work trip for a week long class and took a national beer related certification class. So, you can imagine the benefits outweighed the low pay. That is, until Desmond appeared as some cells in my tummy.
J and I immediately knew, without even discussing it, that I would be a stay-at-home-mom. Those lottery dream thoughts came back, only we realized it was really going to happen. And for logical reasons, too. Day care is expensive, kids.
Last night I had my first paying beer gig in around 15 months. It was just 2 hours of talking to customers about beer, something I used to do daily. It was fun. And I had all the feelings that I expected to. Am I losing a piece of myself by not doing this more often? Money is good. I miss D. I wonder if dad can get him to bed ok.. I know he’s fine, I’m being ridiculous. But I miss him. I’m too shy to do this beer stuff. But I’m having fun and dude, money. This feels weird, like an old version of me. D needs me close. And on and on, the whole night.
Then something happened that I did not expect. I picked up a pizza and drove home. Dad had been able to get D to bed, with ease. They had a great night and played cars. We ate our pizza and watched tv and I had an Oberon. Dad was tired, had to work early, and went to bed. I went to the kitchen and surveyed the damage. As I was washing the dishes I had this huge flash of gratitude and appreciation. I found myself happy to be in the home that I created doing this menial duty. A quiet house, besides the running water, where I was able to almost secretly help them out, washing their bottles and plates.
Maybe that’s what working moms get every day. I mean, I know they also get stress and headaches. And much less sleep than I get. But that little glance made me look forward to my next gig. I’m not going back full time, or even part time any time soon, but a couple hours a week to make grocery money, and remember why I’m here would be welcomed and absolutely worth it.