Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Big Change; Seamless but Big

Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.

With my oldest child, I wanted so badly to be a stay at home mom. It just seemed impossible. We couldn't afford to become a one-income family. I did, however, manage to arrange contract work and work from home. It was my second best option.

I later got a divorce and fell in love again. I was living with Elmo when Sasha was conceived. Once again, staying home was just not an option. I returned to work at six weeks and it was so awful. She was attached to me and would cry so hard when I left for work (twice per day since I came home to nurse her on lunch breaks). I would then cry for the entire drive back to work. It eventually got easier, but I still would have preferred to stay home.

I later switched from my Full Time job to a Part Time job so I could be home more. This would also give us more time to conceive a son. We were working opposite hours, so it had been tricky. We'd been trying for 4 months. Within 2 months, I conceived Spencer... and was laid off from my job. (I was a professional Home Health Aid for my mother, but she had a stroke - leaving me laid off. She passed away 2 months later.)

When we sat down with the Genetics Counselor to receive Spencer's official [prenatal] diagnosis, we were prepared for it. We learned that day, though, that Spencer would be eligible for Disability Social Security Supplemental Income because he had Down syndrome. My husband even pointed out that day that perhaps him having Down syndrome was something of a blessing in disguise. Confused? By replacing my Part Time income (which was now missing anyway) with SSI, we could possibly afford for me to be a Full Time Stay at Home Mom, for the first time in my life!

I think the transition to full time homemaker (the term I feel best suits my "job") was much easier and more seamless than returning to work after Sasha was born. I have always been an attached parent so it was painful to leave for work. Plus, I was already managing at least my fair share of the "home making" anyway. I had already been planning meals, washing dishes, caring for my children (when I was home). The biggest difference? I think the biggest difference has been in the financial aspect. I know we could live a bit more care free (or at least worry free) if I had a "real job." My first thought is that my time at home is more valuable than the job / money. But really... I have always managed the health care for my family. Elmo is not comfortable dealing with medical personnel and Spencer has a lot of appointments. We often have weeks with an appointment every day. I can't imagine I could attend all of those appointments if I worked outside the home, unless it was maybe a weekend job.

One of my biggest life changes, aside from becoming a mother, has been going from managing things for other people in exchange for money to managing my family's home and health care in exchange for love and appreciation. It is a much more rewarding job. The pats on the back are sweeter. For me. I know staying at home isn't for everyone. It is definitely for me. It was a good change to make.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she'd left behind - that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama's parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she's ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up... for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter's transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, "Will I be enough for what comes next?"
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen's hobby of writing and blogging - it has turned into a side business. She's sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you're interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
  • Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep's soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.


  1. My heart goes out to all parents who have to return to work when they would rather stay home! And what a great perspective to have, looking at the positive outcomes and being able to be with your son and manage his healthcare. Staying at home is so hard, but you're right, in the grand scheme of things it's an easy change to make!

  2. This is such a sweet post :) The pats on the back are definitely sweeter than at work. I went from working to staying at home after Kieran was born, so I can relate to much of this. There are times I yearn for work - the mental stimulation and paycheck are pretty strong pulls ;) But I love this time with my children, and I know I'm doing more important work at home.

  3. I'm glad it's worked out so well for you! It's especially interesting how Down syndrome turned out to be a blessing for your family.

    I'm not the stay-at-home type myself and easily feel that my family's appreciation is inadequate reward for what I do. Although it was difficult being apart from my son when he was little, I felt that I enjoyed my time with him more after I'd had a day of focusing on my work with nobody in my lap! It's just a difference in personality, and I'm very grateful to be living in an era when women have some choice about what to do and choices are becoming more open for men, so that we all can do the kind of work that suits us best.

    1. Yes! The funny thing is, during that time (actually starting before we had kids) I kept promising I was going to get to a point where my husband could quit work to stay home. Oops. lol

      He does not envy me, though. Tending to the kids 24/7 is not his thing.

  4. Goodness, reading this brought back the hard feelings I had going back to work with my first. Folks said it would get easier. I found it got harder every day of the year and a half. I found it easier when I was working to not have a child (or two) all day (I was a middle school teacher for years so I still didn't have time to go to the bathroom like I would have liked, but still...adult stimulation and conversation is different.) Being home with my little does not come naturally to me as I had a general model and message of working is better than being (doing "nothing"). Still, I am so grateful to be working from home. Nope, it's not easy, but it suits us all better.

    How wonderful to read this post after following along from before Spencer's birth. A big year of change for all of us. Glad to hear it is working out.

    1. The only part that got better for me was that my husband would text me to tell me when Sasha calmed down and it got to where it was within a minute of leaving! I was relieved that it wasn't so hard on her (didn't break my heart so bad), but it still hard for me.

      Thanks for reading! :)

  5. That is awesome that Spencer having DS gives you more freedom to stay home with him! We don't get SSI for our baby with DS, but I do get to stay home with him and its so nice. I think it'd be even harder leaving him than my typical son

  6. What a great way to look at the positive side of something. And yay! to you for being able to achieve your stay-at-home desire.

  7. I returned to work when my eldest was nine months, it was what I wanted to do, I couldn't imagine being at home all the time. It was harder as time went on especially as my job got more demanding. I know that I am really fortunate to be at home all the time now, home educating my children. It is important that as mothers we feel supported in whatever decision we make, sadly I don't feel this is the case in the country where I live.

    1. In my country it seems like if you stay home, then you are less important and don't do anything all day but eat candy and watch television. And if you work, then you're abandoning your children. Yeah, no support here for moms, either. :P

  8. That's really cool to hear about the transitions you've made. I can't imagine leaving my kids for work so young, especially my older one who was so attached as Sasha was — that must have been so hard. I'm so glad you're able now to live the SAHM life you've always wanted to!


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