A Moms decision

I just read a very interesting and thought-provoking article written by a woman who decided to give up her career to be a stay at home mom when her second child was born.  She loved being with her kids but after almost 20 years of marriage her husband left and now she is struggling. Job in her field, as a writer have dried up and she now cautions women to not give up their careers to raise their kids because all those years later, they could end up like her with no husband, no job, and no current marketable skills.

Many people weighed in and some were very unkind and some had no personal experience to give them the insight to comment on this writers story.

It made me think a lot. I was a stay at home mom. I wanted more than anything to raise our kids and be the one who was there for the first step, or first word and be able to hug and kiss them every day and enjoy being home.

My husband and I had made the decision really without making it. When our second child was born, I simply would not have made enough money to pay child care for two kids, let alone bring home any money over that, as I worked simple minimum wage jobs. I had no real skills, I had our first son at 20 and had not attended college. So, for us, it was a very easy decision. Two more kids followed for a total of four so working outside the home really was not possible for me at that point in time.

I would do what I could to save money, cooked from scratch, sale shopped, couponed when I could, and earned bits of money here and  baby sitting, or doing a craft show. No internet back then, so it was all done the old-fashioned way. From time to time, when a  car broke down, or we needed a bit extra, he would pull a second job. I tried to work a couple of times in the evening, but after all day with the kids and then work at night, I got stressed out and sick and frankly he found it easier on both of us, for him to work a part-time job, I run the house full time and that is what we did.  After a few years when he got into his current field, overtime become more available and he never worked a second job again. I have continued to baby sit and do crafts and yard sales and stuff over the years but now have the internet to help.

My take on this subject has changed over time. I used to think moms should stay home if they can, always recognizing that many could not, even if they wanted to, but if you could, it was more important than extra money.  That being home with your kids is the best thing you can do. Having some of the extras a second income could provide was secondary to making sure you were home with the kids.

Do I still feel that way, yes, to a point. IF, you can stay home, and it is not a financial burden AND you want to stay home, then yes, you should do that if you can. BUT, you need to think real hard about the future when you do. If I could go back and talk to that younger self, I would point out that one day those kids will grow up and put you out of a job. What then ?  What will you do when your kids are grown and what can you do now to prepare for that ?  I would encourage the younger me to go to college, even a class a semester or even one a year, anything so in twenty years I could have had my degree. I would have talked myself into pursuing those part-time evening jobs, even if it was easier for him to work at night, because it would have given me some trail of work experience to use to get a job when the kids were grown. If I had done it longer I would have gotten used to it and it would have benefited me, but since my husband really preferred going to the second job then trying to step in and do the night-time parenting full-time, which he was good at by the way, he just felt it was more seamless if I did that full-time and he did the part-time jobs when needed.

I sit here now, at 53, intelligent and capable, but pretty much  unhireable , except for fast food and retail dept store type jobs. No work skills, no work experience, no degree. Nothing to show for the first half of my life except for the pretty important fact I have four wonderful kids, and now they are married and we have our grandkids. Those are the most important things to have. I know this . I have a great marriage, great kids, great family, that is such a blessing and I am grateful every single day for all of them. I have thanked my husband over and over for the gift of being able to raise our kids. BUT, it is okay to make the choice to have a career and still have a family, I have changed so much in my feelings about that.

BUT, right now , in this moment.

I am bored. I am lonely. I want a purpose to my life. I enjoy time with my husband, and kids, and grandkids, but I have a lot of hours a day to myself. I talk on the phone, blog, make jewelry, take pictures ,do housework and watch a bit of tv,  but not  much during the day , I watch most of my tv in the evenings. I have a full life, no doubt, but it is just not quite enough. I need a personal purpose. Goals of my own. I have no idea what I even want to do anymore. I love doing so many things, photography, writing, jewelry and crafts, yard sales and thrift store shopping, reading and baking, but I am not excellent at any of them. That saying, jack of all trades, master of none, comes to mind. That is me. I am a good amateur photographer, I am a good baker, I can write a bit, even some poetry and I can draw  well . I make some nice pieces of jewelry, but I am not exceptional at any of it.  I am a jack of all trades, but a master of none. I have never become an expert at anything. I am good at many things, but I want something I can excel at !!

The problem is, I cannot figure out which one is the one I want to be a master of. Do I want to master writing, art, photography, jewelry, baking, what ? I do not know. I am sitting in a place in my life right now where being creative at all is difficult for me, but at the same time necessary for me,  and I am not sure why ? I have enough beads to make thousands of things, yet, no work lately. I have all kinds of wonderful art supplies, never draw anymore. I do take pictures, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Like most photographers I get that one really good one out of thousands, but I have not progressed past a point and shoot camera. I have other interests too, but do nothing about them.

I am 53, and clueless on what to do with my life.

I firmly believe I have half  my life left. I tell everyone I will live to 110, and I plan to work hard to get to that and so does my husband !!! He is amazing and supports me whatever my dream is, and I do the same for him. He is a very talented amateur photographer and stain glass artist , both hobbies.  He is my best friend and when he is home from work, we are together most of the time, unless he is doing something around the house that I am not helping him with, we spend most of the time he is off work doing stuff together. Errands, tv, shopping, taking drives.

He is a happy soul, he should write a book about it. He hardly ever stresses over stuff. Whistles his way through life and is good at that too, and is pretty good-natured most of the time. He is not perfect thank goodness and has  his moments, which I am glad for , he is just a happier than most kind of person, but not in the annoying way, in a genuine and honest way,  but he is playful and fun and jokes and makes me laugh and I am very grateful for him. He lives in the moment like we all should and does not worry about much. He knows I pay the bills and he works and makes the money and leaves all that to me.His choice, he hates taking care of the bills. We do make our financial decisions together and we are a good team. Again, I do have so much to be grateful for and I am and literally thank God for him each and every single day.

BUT, I say BUT again, I need something for me too.  I have to decide what that will be. Should I just focus on keeping the house clean, cooking great meals and have hobbys, or should I work hard to find a passion for myself ? For so long my decisions were based around our four kids and honestly I am still  around ( grand ) kids  a lot. Should I make caring for the grandkids while our kids work my career ? I am so torn with what to do.

I do  know this. I have to be creative. Being an artist is a big part of who I am . I am just having one heck of a time figuring out how to find my path.  I threw my entire self into raising the kids, and no regrets, they are our biggest joy and I would do it all over again,but now I have to find me, that is why I started this blog.

I think a big part of me wants to help other women not have to go through this. Find a way to have their kids, stay home if they really want to and raise them, and still keep themselves. I do not think women need to give up who they are to be a mom but many of us willingly do that very thing.  We fall in love with those little beings and they become our life . We put everything into them and then one day they are on their own. My husband was so wonderful when he told me,  Well, you did your job so well, you worked your way out of a job !! ” What a wonderful compliment  from the father of my kids.

So, reading that article today really made me think again about what I want and need to do. I have been kind of floating along lately, we have moved and had a lot going on and it allowed me to not really think about it all much.

This new year, I am going to focus on me again. What to I want and need to be happy personally. How involved in the grandkids do I want to be ? Do I want to baby sit for the kids instead of getting a job, and can I even get a job ? What am I passionate about, and can I have a career in that ? Real estate and personal finance are two things I am also very interested in, maybe even passionate about, but without a degree, or some college, not an option. So, do I want to go to school ?

I kind of stopped my progress for a while and just let it go. But I cannot do that any longer. I have to do whatever work I have to do, to find me again. It does not matter any more what choices I made and any mistakes I made that hurt me. Our kids are grown, I did a pretty decent job, and if I am going to be fair to myself, an excellent job, even though I was a good mom, we are so hard on ourselves, another issue moms have to  learn to deal with, be proud of themselves and the job you do and not pick your self apart!!  I am proud of  all of our kids and love them so much.  They love me too  and I am proud of the fact I got to stay home and raise them. If I lost myself doing it, I cannot go back and change  it, but I know I have to move forward and find out who I am now. I am not the same girl who started being a stay at home mom at 22 years old. I am 31 years older now and I really have no idea who I am anymore, not really.  I am still a wife, a mom and now a grandma too . I am still an artist and writer, but just need to find my focus and figure out what is my purpose and my passion , what I can do each day that I will love doing and look forward to each day !! I know not everyone can love their lives and their jobs but we can all try to find something we love to do, there is nothing wrong with wanting a purpose driven life. I am blessed to have a husband that works hard and supports us so I can make those choices. I would love to contribute to our household and take a bit of the burden off of him, but that is me, not him. He has his hobbies he loves too, but lately he has not had as much time to spend on his stuff either.

So, anyone reading this, who has not made this choice yet, if and when you get to that fork in the road, if you do choose to stay home with your kids for a while, or their entire childhood, just know that there will be a life after your kids are grown so be sure you balance your time off with your kids with some investment in your own future  .The computer makes it so much easier and I am sure, if I had the luxury of a computer when our kids were young, that would have been a tool that would have helped a lot. Online college, writing, so many options for everyone now, not just stay at home moms, and so much information !!

Sorry for this rambling post. It was just for me to get my thoughts written down. If anyone reads it, I am thrilled !! I would love so much to hear others opinions on this subject and how they handled making this decision  and if they were able to keep themselves intact while they raised their kids and if so, how, and if not, what they are doing to start their next chapter in life . I am also really interesting in hearing stories of moms who chose to work and keep their career while raising their kids !! Are they happy with that decision and how did they work through any feelings of regret if they had them. Moms tend to feel guilty no matter which choice they make and that is one thing I wish we could do for future moms. Give them that choice with no guilt. If you love your kids, and give them what they need, whether you stay home or work, they will be happy and well-adjusted. No more guilt !! You can work and be a great mom. It is just a bit more work for the mom, but extremely  possible. Something I am ashamed to say I never believed back in the day. Pretty arrogant and I am sorry for that. I do not feel that way any longer.

Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate it !!

Stephie

How Staying Mentally Fit Can Make a Difference | How Life Works

I thought this was very interesting and tried out a bit of the games on the lumosity site, I think I am signing us both up !!! I wanted to share as I thought it looked like something most people could try !!! Keeping our brains active and busy is never a bad thing !!! I thought the prices were not bad and you can try it out for free too !!!

Stephie

 

How Staying Mentally Fit Can Make a Difference | How Life Works.

Small things we do to make our life more difficult

I recently had an experience that brought to mind how many times we simply make life more difficult for ourselves. Sometimes in big ways and sometimes like my recent experience in small ways.

I loaded the dishwasher and then closed it to open the cuboard that it blocked to get out the dishwasher cube thing to put in the soap dispenser. We moved here almost three months ago and that is where that box of dishwasher soap has lived since we moved in, never really thought about it. As I retrieved the dishwasher soap it dawned on me, the cubboard under the sink has two sides, one of which is not blocked by the dishwasher door. So, I could simply reach in, pull out the soap, put it in the dishwasher and be done No opening and closing the dishwasher to accomplish this talk. It was one of those head smacking moments when you think to yourself, I am not stupid, why did I put the soap there and then leave it there for almost three months, makign a simple task a bit more difficult ? I moved it, much  nicer now !!!

It got me thinking about life in general and how we can do that kind of thing all through our life , whether it be housekeeping, gardening or work. Small , fairly stupid things, that we do to just make our day a bit harder. Not returning a call and having it turn into a bigger issue because we just did not want to deal with it. Using a wrench to turn on a faucet because you do not want to take the time to go to the store and buy a new handle.  Putting off going to the store for shampoo  and then standing in the shower with no shampoo and a lot of regrets, it is something most people do  and do not even pay attention to past the moment of inconvience.

Why do we settle for this. Just not paying attention and doing things for no real reason, no thought out plan. Kind of  shrug it off like it is not important ? It really is important when you really think about it. We have so much do to in our lives these days and if we could just spend a few minutes every day looking at what we do and  how we could do it more effiecently, life could be a lot easier for a lot of people. Sometimes people even know they are inconviencing themselves and just keep it  up because they do not want to spend the energy to change it. Make the calll, move the item, take the time.

I want to urge everyone, take that minute to look at what you do every day and see if there are some ways you can make it easier on yourself, or even your spouse or child if you see them behaving this way. Life does not need to be any harder than it sometimes is !!

Stephie

 

Getting motivated and getting a plan

We have some wonderful new neighbors at our new house and truely feel we won the neighbor lotto as everyone we have  met on our street is just wonderful !! One family next to us is having some pretty exciting opportunities come thier way  and it is so fun to watch thier dreams coming true . My best girl friend Laurie just got her LVN license, and is on the path to being an RN   which is her dream come true, all of our kids  and thier spouses are starting to really  find thier paths and are doing well, which is so wonderfu land I am so excited to see these wonderful people having great things happen !!!

It made me realize that I am not content just watching them reach thier dreams and have wonderful things happen, I want to have wonderful things happen in my life !!

I have a great life. To borrow a line from a fellow Blogger I folllow, The Dancing professer, I have a dreamy life !! I have a truely wonderful husband who supports anything I want to do. He is not at all upset with me when I have a fun day instead of washing laundry , even if he is really short on socks,  and is truely happy that I had a good day and will throw in a load himself , no compaining, although I really try hard to make sure he has what he needs each day . We honestly love each other and enjoy each others company and after almost 32 years of marriage are really happy together in our marriage and are each others best  friends as well as married.  We share four truely amazing kids and three of them are now married and their spouses  are all like our own kids, we love them so much and they have given us eight grandkids, which are such a blessing !!

Blessings all, and I am so grateful every day for each and every one of those precious beings in my life !!

I have also been blessed with wonderful friends in my life. Some here in person, some friends I have had for life that live in other states as either I  or both of us,  have moved from  where we all knew each other. I have wonderful blogger friends and friends on facebook I have never met. Each one is a blessing and a gift in my life. I enjoy reading the blogs and talking on the phone and keeping up with all these wonderful people.

I have done what I was supposed to do. With considerable help from my hubby  we have raised our four kids to be wonderful and interesting adults that I would want to know even if they were not our kids. We are so proud of them all.

Now, it is my time. I do not want to spend the rest of my life on the sidelines cheering everyone on with no one cheering me. I want to have goals and work hard to make my own celebrations !! Life is so amazing and there are so many wonderful people and places and things to do,  and I want David and I to be able to see the world and meet interesting people and have some fun and interesting experiences !!!

So, it is time for me to start making more plans and then start making them happen.   Both for my personal future, what I want to be now that our  kids are grown up, and for us to make plans for us as a couple now that we do not have to make our plans around kids any longer. And also help my husband with his own plans, give him support to think about what he wants to do. He has supported us our entire marriage and never really give much thought to what woudl make him happy career wise, versus just bringing home money for the family. I want him to be happy every day with what he does , not just have to endure a job the next twenty years. HE works hard in his currrent job, makes good money but it is not his passion, although he is very good at what he does.

MY biggest problem is I am so scattered. I love to do too many things and need to focus on one  or at most two.

I love to write, draw, bead, take pictures, do all kinds of crafts, read, talk on the phone, visit with friends, go to yard sales and thrift shops, although those last few really are not career goals, although the yard sales and thrift stores could be part of a goal.

I have been working on a book for years, time to finish it and figure out what i am going to do with it  publishing wise.

I am also working hard to get off about half my body weight and that is very distracting as well. Going slow, but when you have a metabolism problem, which the endrocinologist said I do, It will just take longer but will happen in time.

So, the big questions is what do I want to do the most ??  I really do not know !!!!

We recently moved into a new(old) house and it is taking so much time to get settled in. I am finally going to have a proper work area in the living room and once that is all done and every thing I own is put away, I know I will be a bit more focused .

Did I mention I also have ADHD from childhood ?  I am constantly having to keep myself on track as I can be distracted off anything I am doing so easily.

They say to figure out what you loved to do as a child to find your true calling. I loved to do kid stuff. Run, jump, play kickball, play with my little animal toys,and for a while Barbies, draw, play with clay, paint, , color, sing, talk and spend time with my friends and play make believe games. Pretty average child stuff. Nothing that really steers me toward a dream or goal.  Kind of the same stuff I love today, except for the Barbies and animal toys, make believe ,  and the  running and jumping thing. Although once when Brooks and Dunn were filming thier last video here in our town, I ran down the street to get pictures of them, and shocked not only myself but my husband and our youngest daughter with how fast this heavy body moved !!!  But that is not the point !!!  I suppose some make believe in our lives would not be a bad thing, day dreaming is so important and that is what we do as kids, but we act it out !!  I had noticed lately I do not day dream as much as I u sed to and I do not like that !!

That is what made me start this blog, and I had every intention of writing here often and working hard to figure me out , but then life  just got in the way. It become an occasional thing. But seeing all the happy news around me, and watching the people I like and care about having such fun times and seeing so many dreams starting to come true, it really has  hit me that I have to start moving toward some goals.

I sit in my house way too much. I am living through others, way too much. I deserve, as everyone does, to have dreams and goals and celebrations of my own.

We get married, we have a shower, or showers, the wedding, and that fun time of getting used to being married. Then you have the babies and those showers and then pretty much after that, if you do not keep your personal goals alive, everything is for the kids. Thier first day of school. Thier graduations and big birthdays, one , ten, sixteen, and  you kind of push your stuff to the back. We did not have a big 25 th wedding aniversary party and that is a shame. We should have. I did not have a big 50th birthday, nor did my husband, we should have.

What is life, if not for celebrating ??

So, I am going to work harder, as I navigate life stuff, setting up this house, babysitting grandkids and celebrating everyones goals reached and dreams coming true, and get some goals of my own.

I know some things I want to accomplish.

1 lose the weight that as Oprah put it, is mud in my wings. I do believe that. I am not as bubbly and outgoing as I used to be when I felt pretty and had a thin more agile body. Although still outgoing and friendly, I am less  willing to put myself out there than I used to be.

2, finish my book and get it published and out there.

3. Get my jewelry business profitable. I am very , very proud of the quality of my pieces. I know they are good quality and worth what I ask. I just have to figure out how to get my pieces  promoted better. I am working on it, by  sponsoring a very cute and lovely  blog, showing my items on another  wonderful blog. website,  and putting them on Etsy .com.  Those links, if not on this blog to the right, are on my beading blog, which is on the right.

4. Get our debt paid off so that David has some options. Once we are debt free, except for our houses, they will be ongoing for a while, then we have more options open for doing some of the t hings we are passionate about . Real estate, we have dreamed of owning rental property and finally have one house rented and one we live in. Also , we would love to open a store and rent out booths to crafters and antique dealers. That has been a dream for honestly most of our marriage. We have rented booths and tried that way, but that is not the way to do it. Have others pay the rent and you can sell your stuff with no rental, trying to pay the rent on a booth leaves it harder to make that profit !!  We have to be debt free and maybe willing to live above  that business for a while to get it off the ground, so more things to work towards. This woudl be a purchased building, so the mortgagte and business could be one for a while. I have another blog, a financial blog about  the money and debt part of our life. There is a link to that either on this page or my beading blog.

A good start.  Much work to do.

I will work hard on becoming focused. Something my ADHD brain has issues with at times !!!

Thanks for stopping in, I will share as I go !!!

Stephie

some pictures I took in our back yard the other day, great new camera !!! Took a lot more, but will just share a few !!

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