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Sunday, July 1, 2012

"only" a mom

Sorry I have not posted in over a week!  Life has been busy...isn't it always.

I have much to do updates on..

First...on the weight loss front, I have been moderately successful at replacing bad habits with good habits...definitely a work in progress, but progress, even small, is a very good thing.

secondly...decision...Josiah starts his new school Monday.  I will drive him the first day so that I can meet with the teacher and principle, help them get to know him and go over adaptive equipment needs, and also help him feel more comfortable (which I am hoping will help me be more comfortable with this new change).. then Tuesday, the bus will begin transporting both Josiah and Gonzo to their summer school programs, which makes me nervous due to behaviors and potential problems, but it is what I have determined to be the best course of action based on all of the extenuating circumstances.  Gonzo will be returning to the same summer school program he attended last year, with the same teacher.  He did well last year so I am confident that with the general improvements he has made this year, that he will do well again this year with that same teacher.  So I will have couple of months for Josiah to get used to his new school personnel and class before the regular school year starts in  September.  Hopefully he will be comfortable there by then and they will have learned how to work with him to help support him more as he gets into the regular school year.  Then Gonzo will start a brand new (not just new to him, but brand spanking new) program at a nearby school.  I am very nervous as he did SO well in the program he was in fro the last 2 years.  but alas state budget cuts resulted in that classroom being cut out.  So it was no longer an option, which is frustrating as over 60%  of the reason I stayed in my little rural town is because I wanted to ensure that he could stay in that classroom until 5th or 6th grade.  And low and behold, as soon as I buy a place, they turn around and eliminate that classroom.  NOT happy!  But, we roll with it and hope for the best.

thirdly, the house is slowly coming along.  Each week we get a few more pieces done.  The kids and I are settling in, and it is slowly starting to feel like home.  It will be a while yet before we are "at home" in this new house.  I think as we slowly get more and more done--so many little projects limping along--and get more and more unpacked and set up, it will feel more like home.

fourthly,  as I have been making decisions regarding school transportation, i have not moved forward this week with the daycare paper work.  That will be up and moving forward again this week.

Okay, now a quick paragraph about this concept of "only" a mom.  I have read many things written about this idea that it is a lazy or ineffective person who leaves their "real" job to be a stay at home mom.  And the retaliation of how people who work outside the home and take time for themselves are not "real moms".  So there is this weird written war going on between Moms who work and want to feel better about themselves and their choices to be a working mom by putting down those who make the choice to be a stay at home parent, and the moms who want to defend their position as a full contributing member of society by being a stay at home parent.  I have to say, having been both a full time working parent with a good career, and being a stay at home, going back to work after a couple of years, then choosing to find a way to be a stay at home parent and have reasonable employment (and be a single parent, which was new as of two years ago), ITS ALL GOOD...and IT ALL SUCKS.

It depends on the day and the situation.  I found being a working mother to be EASIER in many ways than being a stay at home parent.  A big part of that is that when I was working, my mind was allowed to work in a variety of different  ways, I had colleagues, adult conversation, and a whole life and identity that was separate from my identity as a parent with all of the stresses that come with that.  For me, having a balance between the two was less stressful in many ways because it was two different kinds of stress, which did not necessarily have to interact.  That mainly was easiest when we had only one child and two parents, and his special needs were not overly impacting his life--aside from attending a special needs preschool program which contained all of his therapies.  So, even with one child with special needs, we were able to be a two working parent family, with minimal needs for a sitter due to somewhat flexible schedules.

Once we adopted Josiah, his needs were much more severe, much more life threatening as an infant, and much more demanding moment to moment, hour to hour.  We did juggle two working parents, somewhat flexible schedules, and two different sitters--but with his medical needs, hospitalizations, the frequent doctor and specialist visits, and all of the things that parenting THIS child with special needs entailed, it required a stay at home parent--minimally to manage his medical needs and schedule, and his in home therapy needs and schedule.  He also needed a LOT more stability and consistency due to a wide variety of issues (he still does, it is just that those needs have shifted in many ways).  Being a stay at home mother was incredible.  As much as I missed my job, there was so much work and reward in doing everything I could to help this child reach his fullest potential.  It was so rewarding to be there for every therapy, for every feeding, for every doctor appointment (and there were SO MANY of those early on).  It also gave me the chance to be there for my older son, and enjoy getting him off the bus after preschool, and being able to really help guide and shape them.

 I have worked many different jobs--from high level cutting edge scientific research, to slinging coffee at a coffee shop, from being a preschool teacher to doing comparative studies of cancer cells via electron microscopy, from doing laboratory sample preps for asbestos testing to being a resort house keeper--and I have to say HANDS DOWN being a stay at home parent is the HARDEST and most difficult job I have ever had.  And it is a job, if done right, it is a true career choice.  I am not talking about the handful of people who sit around doing face book all day (the modern day equivalent to the soap-opera addict), and let the TV babysit the kids.  That is not a stay at home parent, that is a somewhat depressed mom who really needs to find a way to connect outside the home.  MOST stay at home parents (moms and dads) are much more involved in guiding their child's development, helping them reach very important milestones, feeding their intellectual, spiritual, and social developments.  It is a job that has no break time, no end of the day bell, and is truly a thankless job when you seek approval from the wider community that devalues children and child rearing, which is reflected in how much people are willing to pay for child care, how disrespectful most people are to child care professionals, and how much disdain many working people express towards those who work with small children.  Those same people then complain about how screwed up kids are these days, and how little respect kids have--but it is the world that is created when so many in society view the care and guidance of children--by stay at home parents or other child caregivers--as a useless or unworthy profession.  Many of those people would no last more than a couple of months in a stay at home parent position, and would probably fall into that afore mentioned TV babysitter, computer addict depressed adult who really needs to do something different.

I do not think that a parent who needs to work outside the home is any less of a parent just because they prefer to have an outside job.  And I do not believe that a parent who chooses to make a career out of parenting is contributing any less to society than the doctors, lawyers, teachers, sanitation engineers, CEO's, accountants, or politicians are.  We all are built differently.  Our family situations differ significantly, and what is best for one family or for a given family in a given situation, is not what is best for another, or at another time within the same family.

There is no such thing as "just" a mom, there is no such thing as "just" a professional--we are all people regardless of the route our lives have taken and the choices that we have made.  Each of us is doing what we think is best for ourselves, our families, and the people we care about.  I wish that there would be less division, defensiveness, and argument over who contributes more to the world, or even more to their own family or their community--each of us, if we are following what we believe to be the best choice in our particular circumstances, are doing exactly what we should be.  AND THAT contributes to the health of our communities as a whole.  So, I am a scientist (regardless of whether I am actively employed in the field or not, I still have the mind and heart of a scientist), I am a parent (whether I stay home with my children all the time or not, I still have the responsible and heart of a parent), I am a self-employed freelance writer AND child care provider (so yes, I do make my own way), and I am me, and individual with tastes, preference, friends, desires, hopes, and dreams.  And each day I make decisions that impact not only myself, but also my children, my extended family, my community, and yes the world as a whole.  I am "ONLY" a Human Being--and there is nothing small about that.

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