Apr 14, 2012

Stay At Home Mom

With the current commotion about Ann Romney "not working a day in her life" I have been thinking a lot about the choice we made many years ago for me to be a stay at home mom. I have often felt that my choice to stay at home was looked down on by many women and much of the world.  That perhaps I had inferior intelligence or was incapable of working.  I have often been told by society that real women need fulfillment that can't come from staying home and baking chocolate chip cookies (thank you Hilary for that soundbite).  My comments here are not meant to be judgmental or condemning of anyone's choices; it is not any of my business what any other woman chooses to do or not do. Nor do I know what circumstances or trials necessitate certain choices for others. This is simply a commentary on what I chose to do. 

Before I ever even dated anyone seriously I had the desire to be home with my children.  I had a mom who was home with me, we never had wealth, our home was modest and we worked hard for everything we had. I was happy and secure, Mom was always there for me.  When I came home crying from school, she was there to comfort me.  I always wanted to do the same for my children.  So when Tony and I started dating it was important to me to know that he would support me in my desire to be home with my children.  He felt the same way I did, which was good because I was totally smitten after the first date.

We had a little problem though.  I was almost done with school, and he was just starting.  I graduated from college 11 months after we were married, and was offered a job teaching at the school where I did my student teaching.  I was also 7 months pregnant at the time.  We both knew I needed to be home with this little one that would soon be joining us, and without knowing exactly how we would make it, I turned down the job offer.  Tony committed to working to support us while finishing school.  So we brought home a tiny and beautiful red headed baby girl with no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We were poor.  When I try now to figure out how we made things work out on what Tony made, the numbers don't add up.  We lived in an apartment that was condemned shortly after we moved out.  The heater did not have a thermostat so we just had to turn it off at night.  It was also home to a black widow or two.  We later moved into a palatial apartment in comparison with a dishwasher and a regular furnace.  I tended kids to help make ends meet.  These were hard times, I am not going to lie.  It took some creative budgeting and a lot of going without to make things work. Tony was gone all morning to classes, and then from three to midnight for work.  The little bit of time he had at home he was doing homework.  Gratefully his job did have fantastic insurance the best we have ever had, so when baby #2 arrived exactly two years after the first one she was 100% covered. Our oldest loved sitting on Tony's lap while he did homework, and she would cry when he would leave for work.  Our second child wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.  The only time she saw him was on weekends and she wasn't very fond of him.

Around this time they started doing layoffs at Tony's work.  I was so worried that he would lose his job.  I remember frantically pacing waiting to hear from him after he met with his boss.  Miraculously enough he didn't lose his job.  In fact he was the only person on his shift that did not lose his job.  Not too long after this, Tony was offered a job in Salt Lake.  It was more money, but commuting would not work.  We decided to move to Farmington, Tony transferred to Weber to finish his degree and worked in Salt Lake.  It was a good and a bad thing.  Weber was much less stressful than BYU, but the hours at work were more difficult requiring a lot of weekend work.  We were married for 6 years and expecting our 3rd child when Tony finally graduated with his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Weber State University. 

The six  years Tony was in school were trying times, I often had a less then pleasant attitude.  I often felt picked on or deprived.  Tony and I even argued once about who's life was harder.  (Funny now, not so funny then)  Even with the sacrifices if I had to do it all over again I would choose the exact same path, I would just choose a different attitude and focus on how blessed I was to be home with the precious children that were sent to our home.

I have never been a perfect mother.  In fact I have often apologized to my oldest daughter for doing everything wrong with her.  I was a control freak and expected her to behave a certain way at all times.  (Ridiculous I know, I have long since lost the idea that I can control my children). Even with all my mistakes though, I know that my children were cared for by the person who loved them most.  In Ashley's formative years I could often be found putting magnetic letters on the frig with her, reading books, and watching Barney several times a day (she would never watch it alone).  I have loved having the time to read to my children, volunteer in their classes, and most importantly be able to talk to them whenever the need arises.  I have never received worldly accolades for my work, in fact no one in the world knows or cares about what I do.  When I have a child throw their arms around me and tell me they love me, or when a daughter tells me she doesn't know how she would survive without me, or when we are kneeling down for family prayer when all 7 of us are together and we end up talking for an hour instead of praying, I have all the praise I need.   

Apr 13, 2012

Hunger Games

I finally went to see Hunger Games tonight, and I actually liked it quite a lot. I loved that it followed the book so closely. I liked the people they chose to play the characters. The story is bizarre and even creepy, but definitely compelling as well. We went to the 5:30 show to get the matinee price, yes we are cheap, and it works better for us aged individuals to go to early movies. Then we went to Kneaders for dinner which cost us under $3 since Tony had a credit there. Then on the way home we listened to the top 40 from 1989, this has kind of become a habit for us- love the 80's on 8 on Sirius XM. 1989 was the year we met, and we both laughed at the memories of the songs. Especially the number one song by Fine Young Cannibals-She Drives Me Crazy. One day Tony and I were walking into my apartment. Tony was singing this song rather loudly as we walked in the door. Little did we know that my roommate and her boyfriend were saying a prayer for their dinner right at that exact moment. Of course we all started laughing, and I laughed again tonight as I heard the song. That is one of my favorite things about music...the memories it evokes. Love Friday night dates!