I have Leaned Out

I am currently in my second week as a stay at home mom. That is right, as of Friday the 14th of June I am no longer employed. It was my decision, don’t worry. Though I did tell one partner as I was leaving that, while it was not his fault, “he gave it his best shot”.

I was with my company for 9 years and 11 months to the day. When I started back in 2003, I had moved back to Austin to be with my boyfriend, Alex who was entering MBA school. I was so young. So stupid. I told the partner who hired me that, “I don’t do math.” His response, “We have plenty of people who do math here, Kinsey, that is not what I need you to do.” Thankfully. Because seriously, who says that??

But I digress, back to my decision to leave. I have been struggling with the full time working mom thing for a while now. Granted, I have only been full time for just under a year. But it was rough on me and our family. As Alex told his mom when I was on a business trip back in March, we were running very thin.

Oh my boys were fine. They loved their school and their babysitter who picked them up and took them home or to the museum or the library. I loved that when I got home they had already eaten, so I got to avoid the dreaded dinner hour (that I am going to miss). This decision was not about them, it was about me. Who is shocked?

I just felt like I was not being the mother that I wanted to be.  I want to say that I was half-assing it at work and at home, and that something had to give. But that is only partially true. I loved my job, and I think I was good at it. But the role needed more than I could give.  And I wanted to give more to my kids vs. my job.

I am not unique in this struggle. Every mom I know struggles with the pull of work and home. Even my stay-at-home-mom friends have work, or the thought or plan of working, pulling on them. And everyone has to make the decision that is right for them. For four years, I was 100% certain that for me, and for us, it was me working part time.  But once I went back full time I started to doubt it.

You all know I love my crafts. I love to get all sorts of crazy with snacks for school and making things for holidays. And work was really cramping my style. Also, I really love to cook dinner for my family. This sounds absurd, I know, since I don’t really want to be there while they eat it…. But I love it. It is something thing that makes me feel like a good mom (not that I think anyone else should feel this way – at all). It is my thing.  And I was doing my crazy freezer batch cooking, so they were eating what I made, but I could not make sides that I wanted.  See – I am crazytown, I know. It really just makes me happy, like mini-food makes me happy.

Of course I also want to see my kids more. I was home plenty early (5:30), but the evenings were just a nightmare. Alex is usually home two days a week, and Vince gets them one day, so we are only talking two days max that I am alone with them from 5:30 – 8:00. I would be so tired and just spent from work that I had very little patience and really, really didn’t want to play basketball. So I felt like an asshole. I have not seen my kids all day, and the one thing they want, I don’t want to do? Correct.

That is really what sent me over the edge – I don’t like to feel like an asshole and there is not room for two of us in the family.

Of course I am going to be annoyed with my children in the evening, who is not? But I want to be annoyed because we have been together all day versus just for a few hours. You are welcome for all this logic I am throwing at you.

So that, plus Alex being fully on board (you know my 1950s husband was beside himself excited), I decided to just do it. So I am staying home for a year at least. Then we shall see. My sister says talk to me in August when the boys are out of school for two weeks and it is super hot and boring in Houston.

We have all made it through week one! I thought you all would like a weekly rundown of my new routine. Don’t worry I won’t make retelling all this magic a habit.
Phone dies on the way to the grocery store (thanks to my old employer sending a signal that imploded all the data inside leaving me with a wiped clean phone) so must get a new one.
Pick the boys up and we hit a shaded park which was not scorching and try not to be the mom on her cell phone…but it is very hard with my pretty new toy.

Make Easy Chicken with Black Beans for Alex and I, and re-heat from the freezer mini-pizzas for the boys.
Blackberry picking out in Cypress, James was moderately impressed.

The babysitter comes to stay with James, so Zach and I can go to the Museum of Health and Science, and he can be scared by a 3D movie about germs. I know, gross, who wouldn’t be??

I make crispy curry chicken, until I realize that would be three chicken meals in one day for the boys and switch them to little smokies. Which they inhale.
The boys are in school, and I am glad
Finally hit the grocery, put my music back on my phone and go to the Y to exercise. They are shocked and thought they had revoked my membership card for lack of use.
Vince gets the boys and takes them swimming.
I make plum and poppy seed muffins for Zach’s school snack and a Swiss chard loaf to go with Liv’s enchiladas that I had made over the weekend.
James wakes up with a fever so he stays home, and we go to Target for new sports bras (mine are 5 years old) and then to his doctor where she tells me he has croup. Awesome.
That does not stop me from going to lunch with a friend (Hi Melinda!) and taking him with me. He climbs on the booth and explodes a creamer packet on himself but is otherwise lovely at lunch.

 While he naps, I make a blackberry crumble (with all the blackberries from Tuesday) and a peach crumble because I want to.
We get Zach late because of James’s late nap, so we just come back to the house to play.
We have leftovers for dinner.
We are all home as Alex and Zach are heading to the river and James and I (due to his croup) are staying here. We send off the boys and go on a joy ride in Alex’s car to get me coffee and so I can talk to Sonia. And because James is sad when Alex and Zach leave so I appease him by getting in Daddy’s car.
We play and eat lunch at the house then hit the Y pool once he wakes up. I figure there are so many germs swirling around in that baby pool his little croup will be drowned for sure. And he personally tried to drown himself by launching his torso in the water about four times.

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