As with most things parenting, B and I were flying by the seat of our pants when it came to prepping C for the move we made last week to Memphis. She’s at an age now where she understands so much more of what is going on than we give her credit for, and it’s our job to present the events that populate her life to her in a way that she can process them. We talked about Memphis a lot, how we’d go there and it would be a home and not just a place where we were visiting and how we wouldn’t go back to our apartment in North Carolina because we’d be living with Bubby, my mother-in-law. We made the move sound fun but tried not to pander to her because we knew there would be moments when she missed the way things used to be in North Carolina, and we didn’t want her to feel like those feelings of sadness were wrong or mislead.
She seemed to understand.
Go to Mippis. New home. Tigers in Mippis.
She got it.
There was then the whole issue of explaining to her that I would be going to work like Daddy does and that she would not see me for large chunks of time during the day. The fact that this was a life change I would even have to vet her for was a little bizarre to me. Stay-at-home parenthood is just so thick: time has a tendency to solidify and you don’t actually believe that there will ever be a moment when your skills outside of filling a sippy cup or monitoring the time that elapses between diaper changes will ever be truly utilized. But I guess I’m learning that I am indeed useful because I’m writing this very post at my desk, during my lunch break. My desk at a place that needs me not because of my ability to fold a cloth diaper like a ninja but because I am, apparently, employable.
Really, B and I both knew that while she could regurgitate the script of Mommy-going-to-work back to us with only minor pronunciation slip-ups, it would be one of those things that she’d have to learn as she goes. And that’s her life, really. She’s two years old and every day she is presented with new lessons that aren’t framed as neatly as they will be one day when she goes to school.
But the real dig is that it’s not just her learning. It’s me, too. So often as a parent I busy myself with preparing C for whatever the next step is and am pretty vocal about that busywork, but I’m just as preoccupied with figuring out who I am during those steps. Not surprisingly, I’ve felt a few prickles of guilt for going back to work. This is mostly because I enjoy it so much. I’ll admit it: I like working more than I like reading the same board book seven times in a row. I just do. I like coming up with solutions to problems at work more than I do diffusing tantrums. The results are quicker, and I’m not as emotionally invested. And that makes me feel like a bad mom sometimes, which I know is kind of ridiculous. When did I start to believe in this June Cleaver ideal that if you’re not smiling and whistling when you’re changing a diaper, you’re doing something wrong?
But my inner struggles go completely over C’s head. She loves it here, and that’s all that really matters. Every day when we pull up into our driveway, she smiles and says “Good new home.” We may be flying by the seat of our pants, but Someone is looking out for us.
From the mouths of babes, right?
Glad to hear y’all are getting settled into your new routine :-)
That sounds like you’re doing a pretty good hob of balancing it all. Bravo.
Well, it sounds like you’re fabulous parents. Being honest and offering context is always the best approach. It works for me, and I’m 42 years old now. Grateful that my parents did that. And you paint such a perfect and vivid picture with the sentence: “Stay-at-home parenthood is just so thick: time has a tendency to solidify and you don’t actually believe that there will ever be a moment when your skills outside of filling a sippy cup or monitoring the time that elapses between diaper changes will ever be truly utilized.”
I’m glad things are going smoothly for you right now!
The transition from SAHM to working-somewhere-else-and-collecting-an-actual-paycheck mom are hard for everyone, no matter what the age. I had to gently explain to the Padawan a few days ago that the landscape of his summer is going to be different now because I am working. It broke my heart. Broke it. And he’s almost twelve. ‘Scuse me. I have something in my eye.
Here’s to a new adventure for you and your family!
I’m going through that inner struggle this summer too. Such a huge transition going from SAHM to working. But I do know for sure that kids are more resilient than we give them credit for, and as long as they know we love them and are trying to make our own way in the world, they’ll be just fine.
Often times I think we have more trouble adjusting to changes than our children do. We’re not only worried about how it’ll affect us, but we worry about how it’ll affect them as well. Kids are resilient and adjust to things rather quickly, while we’re left wondering if they are really okay or if they’re suffering and just not telling us. They are okay and so is C.
So glad to hear things are going well with the transition! I know what you mean–I am realizing I need to prepare myself for transitions now too, just as much as my son. I went back to work about 3 months ago, and still seem to be learning how to cope. And now that summer is about to start, and the child will be home while I need to work at home, we’ll have to figure out yet another new routine. We will. It’ll take time. If we expect that it’s not easy, I think we’ll cut ourselves the slack we need though to be ok if it takes a little longer than expected. Eventually, it will work out.
Our kids are so smart and resilient. Often things are much harder on us for so many reasons aside from just age and experience.
Glad to hear things are going smoothly!
I’m writing from San Francisco, but I am thrilled to know you three are in your good new home. Let the wild rumpus begin!
A much better comment than the one I so proudly and fondly remember our 3-year old speaking soon after moving into our new home in Louisiana – “damn ‘national paper” (translated Damn International Paper Mill)…..I don’t have a clue where he overheard that, must have been a neighbor
So glad to hear the transition is going smoothly and everyone is happy.
Good new home; good new post. Gave me a smile.
Oh! “Good new home” is such a great thing to hear! Change is hard, sometimes harder for us than for our kiddos. Congrats on the new gig.
Yay! A new post, and the ending was the best. She is happy, and so are you, and that’s all that matters!
I loved going to work and my husband loved being home with our son when he was an infant – it was a perfect match for our personalities. No guilt – you both are providing a good stable environment – and both of you are good role models for living the life that works for your family, not for being June Cleaver. Cee will see everything as a new adventure and kids are far more flexible and resilient than we are – especially with change, b/c like you said, pretty much EVERYDAY is new to a 2 year old. They roll with the punches w/o guilt – we flop around carrying a rock of guilt like nobody’s business b/c we feel like, if we don’t, we are not doing something right.
Go forth and be happy – Good New Home is where you are now ~
“Of all the things that could have happened, this is what happened”
Congrats on your good new home. It seems like the little person (and the Tigers) have taken over the turf. I’d consider that a success.
Good lord, I can’t believe she’s 2! I know my office wife went into withdrawal when she had to go back to work after having her child, and she’d only just taken a couple of months. But now she has something to look forward to when she comes home from work (spend time with child! Yay!) and again when she leaves for work (someone else has to deal with child! Yay!), so I guess it all works out.
Oh, that first day away from them, wondering what on earth you’re doing in an office. Hoping that the reason you haven’t heard anything from the carer is because they are all right, and not because they’ve lost your number. And then you go home and everything is all right, and you feel pretty good about being a grown up again, and hey, you have money too. Loved the post. Thanks,.
Kids are so strong, aren’t they? C has adjusted well to her new home and you are also doing well in the workplace. Everybody’s happy – that’s all that matters. Don’t worry about other people’s expectations, most important thing is that we always try our best for our family.
I love your honesty! I can ABSOLUTELY relate. We aren’t moving, but my daughter is in that same stage… and I’m in your same stage. #lifeofamama