A big hello too all of you readers of Raising Miss Mommy! I’m so happy to be able to have a quest post on this great blog that I’ve come to really enjoy! As Charlene shows us quite often the world of mommyhood with her beautiful baby girl, I am going to be giving you all a glimpse of my life over this last year, my first year being a stay-at-home mommy to my two growing boys! Hope you all enjoy!
My First Year Journey
The last year of my life has been quite the amazing journey. There have been many ups and downs but I managed to get through it all. The reason why this last year has been quite the journey is because it was my first year being a stay-at-home mommy! When I took over the full reigns of rearing my children 24/7 they were 15 months and four years old. My oldest son had spent the first 13 months of his life with me since I had the opportunity to bring him to work with me and then it was off to daycare/preschool. My youngest was fortunate enough to stay with his grandma (my mother-in-law) until this time last year.
I struggled as a working Mom. I was very good at my job, received tremendous accolades and it paid well. I loved my coworkers but it just never felt quite right. I missed my boys terribly and like a lot of working moms, I felt a lot of guilt. When the opportunity presented itself for me to stay at home, it was not an idea that I fought.
The hardest part of the transition was life without that extra paycheck. Before that time, I used coupons when I was going clothes shopping or if I found one for a huge item but never for little things here and there. Then I slowly began to see how imperative it was to use coupons. I still have a lot to learn about using them but it feels nice to save money when it’s become a necessity. Another big change was the inability to eat out often. Because we both worked so much and I was commuting, drive thrus and dinners out just seemed so much more inviting then making ourselves more exhausted.
I have to admit, it was hard to keep up with everything in the beginning. Mostly because I was trying to be superhuman. I wanted so hard to succeed in this job like I had my previous jobs that I was without a doubt insanely hard on myself. Trying to balance chores and kids was a gigantic chore in itself but I was doing it. It felt good to get laundry done from start to finish in one afternoon. I finally had the time and the energy to do it. Then, as the summer drew near it all began to hit me. My Dad had passed away two years before that July. Between being pregnant at that time, then working full time, having a baby, going back to work and raising kids when I was home, I managed to blow off (for lack of a better word) the grieving process for nearly two years. It finally hit me like a ton of bricks. I was a mess. It was hard to function. I had a million things going on in my life last summer and the most important was taking care of my two boys. It was so hard to function and that I could barely bring myself to go to church every week, which is something that I never experienced before. My faith has always guided me but for the first time, I had doubt. With the help of encouraging words from my husband, I decided to seek group counseling at a nearby hospital. There I began to see that I was not the only one in my boat and slowly but surely I began to let go of those sad and tormenting feelings of loss and embrace my father’s memory while moving forward with my own life.
Once I got through that struggle, things seemed clearer. We decided to sign our oldest up for pre-kindergarden. Which was imperative because he would get bored and in trouble a lot competing for attention 100% of his day with his baby brother. Plus, he is the type of kid that needs to be challenged academically. We ended up pulling him out for a few months around the holidays until he turned five and could enter a TK class which was more prep for kindergarten. In his months off, we started a reading program and successfully taught him to read! That definitely gave me a lot of confidence that I could do big things to help my boys succeed.
Also, around the holidays, we moved so that brought on more craziness but it was also quite awesome to be around my boys to celebrate my absolute favorite time of year! We took them around to look at Christmas lights on multiple occasions and it was the first year out oldest could understand the true meaning of the season. I was home with them during the days to watch the awesome Christmas programming and just really take it all in. With the move came some interesting challenges. The biggest was our boys moving from separate rooms to becoming roommates. Our youngest was just shy of two when we moved. To this day, does not have much self control. Which is exactly why we bought transitional bunk beds. Everyday for about three weeks we woke up to a screaming child saying “mooooooooom, he climbed up to my bed again!” Once we arranged them to two separate bed’s thing seemed to calm down a bit.
With the end of the year and beginning of 2012 came our two boy’s birthdays! For our oldest, five was a piece of cake. He finally felt like a really big boy. One of my other big accomplishments was taking off his training wheels, watching a YouTube video and teaching him how to ride a bike within a 30 minute time span just after his big day. I would have never guessed that I’d be able to do that kind of thing with my son! For our youngest, turning two meant that he decided that he was going to take everything that most parents say about the “terrible twos” and try to surpase it all! In the last few months, I have witnessed more tantrums, screaming, throwing, injuries and running away from me out of that child than I have witnessed in five years with my oldest. He is DEFINITELY giving this momma a run for her money. One saving grace is that we were able to sign him up for a local gymnastics class that ended up being a perfect outlet for all of his energy and monkey-like behavior!
Though on a pretty tight budget we’ve managed to do a lot of things this past year. Museums, parks and the occasional short vacation! Even the slowest days, always bring forth learning for the boys and for myself. I feel so blessed that I have a husband that works so hard to give us this opportunity. I feel that even with all of the ups and downs of raising these two boys full time, that I am making a huge difference in their life. And both my husband and I realize that it is worth all of the eating-in, lack of travel and spending money on material possessions. This time with them as little guys has already flown by and I think when we all look back, the memories will be fond and last us a lifetime. I also feel that I have grown as a person in this last year. They teach me so much about life. That sometimes, you just have to let go. Jump in that puddle, play in the mud, scatter toys all over the floor and just be free. I hope that what I teach them about living life, growing in my faith in God, being a good person and caring for others is something that will make them into extradinary men one day.