I know I am behind with my days of gratitude. I underestimate how difficult it can be to write when you are watching children. Which brings me to yesterday’s gratitude: being home with the kids. Yes, you read that correctly, I am grateful that I can be home with the girls right now.
I grew up with a mom who worked. When I first became pregnant with Liz, I remember using her as my example of how I was going to be: a working mom who balanced career fulfillment with parenthood. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to work. First of all, I had to – we couldn’t have survived if I didn’t and secondly, I enjoyed my work at the time. Being at work made me enjoy our weekends together more and I looked forward to them.
I have always been employed with very few spells of being jobless in my 15+ year career in graphic design. When I was laid off in March, I was devastated and immediately started looking for work. People would say to me “Think of it this way, you get to spend a lot more time with the kids.” You would think that would have been enough to turn my spirits around but the first few weeks were hard. I felt like I wasn’t complete not having an occupation. It wasn’t until a few weeks into unemployment that I realized that I already had a full time job.
Fortunately, I had a good friend who recommended me to her husband at a small financial firm so I began to work at home. It was enough to keep me busy and be able to care for the girls when someone needed a snack or a snuggle. When I did get a contract to be onsite somewhere, I missed being with them. I had become accustomed to being able to take them to the playground or to activities we signed them up for. It became more difficult to commute into the city and balance caring for them. Even Liz seemed to enjoy my presence when she got home from school.
Today I look at this time very differently. I feel so fortunate I can spend time with my girls while they are still little. I am grateful I can spend time with Liz before she runs off to college (fingers crossed). I can participate and help with band activities and I have the energy to teach Sunday School on Sundays. I also have time to volunteer for things that give me the fulfillment I had been missing. Being home these past 7+ months has been a blessing, and it is right where I am supposed to be.