Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 years ago

The next entry in the Thursday blog project is:  Are you today, where you thought you would be 10 years ago?

My old brain is having a very hard time even remembering 10 years ago.  Let's do a little math, 10 years ago was 2001.  In August of 2001, Mac would have been celebrating his first birthday.  He would have had about his millionth ear infection and would be preparing for tubes in his ears.  This is only relavent to me because after he got the tubes in his ears, his ability to speak went from one or two words at a time to full paragraphs and by the time he was 13 months, he could out talk most anyone.  Anyone who knows him won't be surprised by this.

In September, on the 11th, some dudes would decide it was a good day to fly a plane into a building.  This changed the fundamental character of our nation.  We now submit to gynecological exams at the airport.  It is now acceptable for some stranger to feel my breasts in public at the airport.  Naked pictures are flashed up on a screen.  All in the name of security.

During this time, I was working.  I was trying to figure out how to balance having a baby and a job that required long hours and lots of travel.  This balancing act was made more difficult because my husband also had a job that required long hours and lots of travel.  We were like ships that passed in the night handing the baby off from one parent to the other.  Sometimes in airports.

I hated my job.  Well, hated would have been an improvement.  It just wasn't the right thing for me to be doing.  I was super good at it, so I was able to acheive a lot of success and as a result make a lot of money.  In October of 2001, Mac dressed up in a costume and went trick or treating to a few houses in our neighborhood.  I missed it because I was on a business trip.  This is an experience I will never be able to have with him.  I can not get this back.

The job I had at this time was actually a step down in terms of money and status, but theoretically I was trading that for increased flexibility.  The reality was that they weren't happy when I would leave at 4:30 so I could get my child at daycare.  Even though I worked at home and got to the office at 6:30 most days.  I just wasn't available enough.

I spent the better part of 2001, wishing I could just be with my child.  That we could figure out a way to make it work on just one salary.  It was made more challenging because I was the primary wage earner.  It was hard to choose to walk away from my six figure salary.  To take more than a 50% cut in pay.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that if I want it bad enough, I will generally figure out how to make it happen.  We ran the numbers up one side and down the other.  We figured out how to make it work.  We cut back on things we didn't need, refinanced our house, I got a cheaper car, etc.  We figured out how to live on less.  ::soap box moment::  When people wish they could stay home with their kids, when they complain that they can't afford to not work, in all but very few cases, I think, if you wanted it bad enough you could have it.  You just have to stop spending money on all the things you think you need.  Life isn't about things, it is about experiences and if you are working you miss so many experiences.  Like your kid's first Halloween.  You can never get that back and that is more important than stuff.  We are not lucky, we are frugal.  ::end soap box moment::

By July of 2002, I took the lowest paying, hardest job I would ever have.  The job I will have the longest.  On July 1, 2002, I became a Stay at Home Mother.  I left the corporate world and started using coupons and living on much, much less.  Amazingly, my kids want for nothing, we have plenty and it has worked out ok.  We will still retire, send our kids to college, live in a pretty nice house, and go on trips.  If I had not done this, we would not have been able to make it work out.  We could not have managed our kids and their needs and our jobs without loosing our minds.  During this year, we made a hard decision, but it was without question the right decision.

Where I am today, is not really surprising or unimaginable to my 10 year ago self.  That person was stressed, overwhelmed and cried a lot.  I get stressed and overwhelmed today, but I am not that lunatic that called her mommy hysterical in an airport because she couldn't be with her baby.  My mother told me, "chase what you want, I believe you can make it work."

I admire working moms, their ability to keep all those balls in the air.   They are like super heros.  But, I wouldn't trade my life for theirs for all the money in the world. It is 78 and sunny today, I will be at the pool.

Want to see how the other ladies have changed in the last 10 years?  Check them out at Froggie, Momarock, Merrylandgirl.


  1. That was beautifully written and very poignant. I was thinking we could do a she said, she said type of blog post where one of us could talk about being a SAHM and the other could talk about being a working mom. Both decisions are so tough to make, but providing different perspectives would make it interesting for women in various predicaments.

  2. It is so true! I feel the same way you do; life isn't about things, it's about experiences. Thank you for sharing this!