Having it All

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

There is a stigma around women that we have to prove that we can have it all. Successful jobs, being the perfect mother, a supportive spouse, a size four, and dinner on the table by a certain time every night. And there's also the new "I woke up like this" motto. A flawless, makeup applied face with perfect hair that is completely unattainable. And we all know it.

And there are those women out there who seemingly have it all. I'm surrounding by them. They have successful careers. Children who are pristine. Immaculate homes that appear to be cleaned on a daily basis. Perfectly balanced meals that are on the table by the same time every night. And they wake up every morning refreshed, renewed, and ready to do it all again. That my friends, is not not how this woman lives her life.

There was a time that I was a full-time employee, starting at the age of 23. I moved to the big city, Kansas City, and began a career in retail. I then moved to a corporate job that I had for almost 15 years. I bought shoes that I didn't need. Wore all the latest trends. Made dinner every night with the assist of my husband. Went on super fun trips. I had it all! Or so I thought. Then I had a baby. That changed it all.

And what really changed it all was when I lost my job in a massive layoff in 2014. It was then that I decided I was ready for new career. The career of being a stay at home mom (SAHM). I wanted to spend all of my time with my child that I was only seeing for a few hours each night and full time on the weekends over the last three years. Going on adventures. Cuddling on the couch during the day. Taking naps when needed or wanted. All while being the perfect spouse by having dinner on the table, clothes washed and put away, and living out the life I had wanted since the birth of my son. I thought then I would have it all. And I do. But it comes at an expense. 

What's the expense you ask? Well, I don't buy shoes that I don't need. Actually, I don't buy shoes at all anymore. I don't wear all the latest trends. I have a few trendy pieces that I pair with boyfriend jeans in the fall and winter, and with shorts in the spring and summer. I make dinner every other night, focusing on meals that make leftovers so that I'm not spending every single night in the kitchen. And the only trips we take these days are to the grocery store, to my parents house, and occasionally to the river for long weekends or a week in the summer. But I have to remind myself that this is what I wanted. I wanted to be home, and because of that, we don't have the extra income that we use to and we make our fun on a budget.

I have other friends who stay at home, or work side jobs to help with additional income, but I also see them lamenting about the struggles of doing so. And I'm not taking anything away from those rantings, but you have to remind yourself that this what you wanted. This is what you thought having it all would be like and you can't go back on that when it's hard. Sure, I get mired down by the photos on Instagram of the latest trip someone took or the fancy car that someone just purchased. I see cute friends all dolled up, with freshly washed hair, and made up faces that glow from restful nights sleep or daily workouts. And I admit, part of me envies their lives. But, then I look in my rear view mirror and see that sweet boys face on our way to school, I realize I'm right where I should be. 

On our way to school we listen to the radio, Mix 93.3 in fact, and every day the morning show has a theme. Monday's it's all about why you love your life. Tuesday's, what you're thankful for that day. Wednesday's, you can whine about anything you want, as long as it's casual. And Thursday's is all about asking the Magic 8 Ball app your most pressing questions. And every day, McKinley follows along. What does he love most about his life? That trains exist. What is he most thankful for? That Granddaddy introduced him to model trains. What can he whine about? Well, almost anything on any given day. And on Thursday's, he just likes to emulate the voice of the Magic 8 Ball app. He's favorite catch phrase, "Outlook hazy. Try again." And I wouldn't know any of this if I was behind a computer, in a cubicle, working a 9-5 job. I would be missing out on all the conversations that take place in my 2011 CRV. All of those little moments in life that matter. And I would have missed out on this precious moment today!

While eating his breakfast this morning, and because he's eating school lunch this afternoon, I had some downtime to read a little in my book for book club this Sunday. McKinley wanted to know if it was a chapter book. What chapter I was on. And told me I needed to do some reading to get it finished. Wise words, dear boy. When we got in the car, and as we backed out of the driveway, he asked me what happened at book club. I told him that we generally each lunch together, ask the questions we found online, and we all discuss the book as we interpreted it. I explained that this was the best part of reading and discussing a book. That we all read the same words, but we all read it differently, and it's fun to hear how others viewed the characters and situations that took place, as they're generally different than your own. Did I mention that McKinley wrote a book yesterday? Yes, he wrote about Ghost Ships and he took it to school with him today. He read it to himself in the car and told me that his book club was going to discuss it at their next meeting. In the school parking lot, I asked him to read it to me. I caught it on camera because it was too precious not to. And I'm sharing it with you. A glimpse into my life as a SAHM. And this is why I think, or should I say I know, that I have it all!


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