I was having a rather thoughtful conversation with someone recently who asked if I missed the freedom I had before becoming a stay at home wife and mother. This was a great question because I know at the time the person who asked me this, was able to see the look on my face of frustration as I juggled both of my toddler girls through the mall during our lunch date.
My hair was in a messy bun under a visor that was suppose to mask the ”effort” it took to do it. I wore a loose shirt for easy breast-feeding access and, of course, I had on the obligatory yoga pants that every mommy in the world wears when they don’t feel like wearing real pants. I believed that any passer by would automatically assume that I had just came from a good jog with the girls. But who could blame me for my attire? I was wearing athletic wear and if keeping up with two toddler girls under the age of two who were revved up on apple juice (they don’t have that too often) isn’t a sport, well then I don’t know what is!
We took the girls to a play area in the middle of the mall and we both sat down to talk further. She watched me as I fed them a bite of their lunch and then urged them to play with the other kids. I turned to her as I sipped from an apple juice box and nibbled on a few of their goldfish crackers. I took a deep breath and smiled. She looked at me confused. This is what I told her:
“Instead of being sad about those days being long gone, I prefer to be grateful to have lived that young, wild and free life at one point. “
See, there was a time when I answered to no one.
I was single and living in Orlando, Florida completely alone with my closest family members about an 8 hour drive away. I had a good job, a one bedroom apartment, and a car in my name. I had all the time on my hands and, I remember vaguely, my hands were always free! I would spend all of my paycheck on shopping for clothes, shoes and accessories. The amount of money I spent on groceries was not much because I only fed myself, heck, I hardly even cooked! If I did eat out, I would either take myself to really nice restaurants or splurge on dollar menu. At that time, eating healthy wasn’t important to me. I would stay up late partying and wake up mid-day and head to the pool. My nails were always done. So was my makeup.
I had tons of friends who were always looking to hang out with me. If I wanted to leave the house I just got up and went. There was no packing up a diaper bag stuffed with a ridiculous amount of toys, clothes, diapers, and snacks.
Those days are behind me.
I was a girl then.
Now I am a woman.
As a wife and mother I now consider how everything will affect my family. All decisions I make are now my husbands and I together. Questions like, “How will this impact our girls?”, “How safe is the environment we will be going to?”, “Is this investment worth the risk?” “How can we double the money in our savings?”, now circle our conversations more often.
We build and maintain our credit scores.
We consider the school district when looking for a home.
We are looking to trade in our swaggy Acura MDX SUV for a *gasp* .. mini van.
A mini van!
All of those so-called “friends” I once had are nowhere to be seen. They weren’t on my level. They weren’t married or had kids, so we no longer could relate. I was able to keep one, who was the girl who asked me the question at the mall that day. She was still single and had not had kids but still stuck by my side and accepted that hanging out together would be completely different from how it was before.
Money is the one of the main focus’ now. How to make more, how to save more, how to invest more, building our daughter’s college funds, comparing mortgage rates and the cost of organic foods.
We eat healthier now because we want our children to be healthy and develop healthy eating habits. As well as, we would like to be alive and in great shape to keep up with our grandchildren.
I hardly wear makeup anymore unless it is a special occasion, although this is my personal choice.
My nails are never done. This just works best for me since I do everything under the sun with my hands from washing dishes to pulling out and packing up the double stroller from the back of the SUV.
I schedule play dates even though I would rather be at home cuddled up in bed with a good book and snacks. But anti-social mommy isn’t the best role model for the kids. So I pull on some clothes, chase my toddlers around the home to get ready, spend an hour stuffing food down their throats and packing snacks before heading to the park so they can socialize with other kids.
* * *
I called the girls over to me in the middle of their playing. I took each girl and pulled the waistband to their pants a tad to check to see if either one of them had pooped.
Nope, no poop.
I fed them another bite of their lunch and urged them again to go back to play. I looked back at my friend who chuckled to her self. I continued the conversation saying:
“I believe we live many lives at different times … and I embrace the life I am living now in early motherhood where I am giving my full attention to my girls when they need me the most. “
The things I found fun and exciting before are no longer enjoyable to me now.
My family means the world to me.
Their safety and security means the world to me.
I now have something to live for. I might have been living before, but was I really alive? This family of mine, these toddlers of mine, give me value to my life.
They give me a reason to keep going.
They give me a reason to strive.
A reason to thrive as a stay at home mother and wife.
I look forward to the many more lives I will live in the future.
The life of a career woman, a business woman, the life of a traveler, a philanthropist, and one day agrandmother.
All in Gods great glory.
I believe we were never created to stay in one season forever. Seasons change, so do our lives. And I embrace that.
I embrace every late night with my sleep-avoiding toddlers and every early morning making breakfast to see my husband off before he heads to work at the crack of dawn.
I embrace every awkward stare at the store as my girls throw tantrums because I refuse to buy that ridiculously priced toy they randomly picked up.
I embrace searching the home up and down for that missing shoe that would go perfectly with my daughter’s outfit but for the life of me cannot find.
Or changing that last minute poop diaper when I already made it to the car from the house with the kids.
I embrace every up and down, every twist and turn,every high and low.
Because I know it will not last forever.
And soon, I another life I will live.