Monday, June 23, 2008


Last week, I posted about a particularly hectic day at work.

For those of you who asked, that's NOT a normal day for me. I used to take the train to Chicago once a week, then I had my first son and it became once a month, now I have two sons and its maybe once every other month. My normal commute takes approximately 12 minutes. No traffic. No freeways. I'm lucky. I know it. And some days I can work from home.

But every time I realize the need to spend a day in Chi-town, I sigh and my shoulders slump and my upper lip does that Elvis thing - "Eh."

But a comment from Tammy made me stop and think about it:

It didn't make me just put a smile on my face!

I'm imagining a day full of train rides, Chicago, and hot dogs in the park.

You rock!

I almost sent her an email back, griping about picnics in the park and how they sound really good but when you figure in the prep time, the set up, the keeping two small kids from falling off the picnic table, the chasing of napkins that are blowing away, the spills, the "MOM! I dropped my hot dog in the DIRT!"...well...its easy to throw your hands up, toss the dinner in the trash and throw your hands up and just shout, "FORGET IT, JUST GO PLAY!!!"

Not that I did that or anything. But if I had, it wouldn't be as bad as if I had brushed the dirt off of said hot dog and told said child to "just eat it". Cuz that would just be wrong.

But then I realized - yeah. That day DID rock. In so many ways.

Know what? I have a good job. A job that almost sounds GLAMOROUS to my some of my friends. I have friends that ASK ME about what I do. Cuz they want to know. (The reality? Its pretty boring. But we do have occasional run ins with racing wieners. So I've got THAT going for me.)

And doesn't it somewhat sound like a movie to be "taking the train in" every day once in awhile?

But my kids? Could they *BE* any cuter? (Chandler Bing reference intended.) And they're GOOD KIDS. I haven't goofed them up yet. I mean...look at the great pictures I took that day! (Click to see the entire set, or click on each pic to see it larger.)

Will & the tree, 2Boys eating dinner at the parkSunet in the park - 1Nick runningNick & the big tree - 1

They didn't care that dinner wasn't perfect, or that we had to stop in the middle of eating it, pack everything up to take Nick to the bathroom (that was absoLUTEly disgusting). They were happy as clams, because Mama took them to the park. And they ran their silly little heads off, and were good enough to pose the 1,387 times that I asked them to.

So why did it take me days to finally get to the point where I realized all of this?

I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately, and I've realized something:

The ONLY thing I ever knew with any certainty in my entire life was that I wanted to be a Mom. The only thing. Shouldn't I be spending the most of my time doing that thing?!?

I took six years to finish college because I kept bouncing around, changing my major. I realized a long time ago I wasn't one of those people with a dream job - there are lots of things I could enjoy doing well enough. So long as it pays well enough, heck - I'm in!

But since I've become a Mom, I've tried to be Super Mom...I've tried to balance the career and the home and the kids and the hubby. And you know what?

I can't do it.

I'm sure some people can, but not me. You know something, though?
I think I'm fine with that.

For the first time in my life (yes, I'm slow...I know) I've come to realize that following your dreams doesn't necessarily mean advancing your career or taking a globe-spanning trip.

And this is scary for me...because I was poor for so long growing up that I'm afraid that if I don't work full time we won't be able to make ends meet. Yet I know that's silly.

But I think the solution lies in working less. And I have every intention of doing what I need to now to make that happen. Whatever the outcome...whether I find in three months' time that I need to go back to working more hours or that I was silly to have waited so long...I think its finally time to make a change.

Otherwise I could breeze through hundreds of more days like the one I mention above and miss everything.


Tom said...

Never miss a moment to enjoy your children while they are growing up and you'll never regret the time you didn't get to spend with them!! Love you guys.

Melisa said...

Great post! Tom is right: childhood only comes around once. If there's any way you can work less, budget-wise, I would get going on making it happen if I were you! You'll be so happy you did! (Obviously if you can't cut back because of finances, you can work on ways to make extra money from home...)

R.L.Scovens said...

I've had this same convo with a girlfriend of mine. She works 6 days a week all day, gets home about 9pm! She has 2 kids and she's a single parent (so am I). I, on the other hand, go to school full time and God makes a way!

We disagree about the need to work, but I feel that anytime God allows a parent to stay home, is BLESSED TIME! I don't have a hubby so I KNOW it's nothing but GOD making this happen.

Enjoy your kids while you can. Alot of parents are gonna miss out on that!

THopgood said...

Great Post!

I LOVE Tom's comment. So well said.

Suzie said...

Its so hard to figure it all out. Im alwasy searching for the balance. Im glad your getting a handle on it all.

Happy2bme said...

Great post Colleen!!! I have always battled the thoughts of working parent verses stay at home parent. Once I divorced reality hit that the SAHM just wasn't in my cards. I do the best I can and enjoy every minute that I do have with Austin in the evenings. When it comes down to it what kids remember is the quality time that you spend with them.... i.e. that you took them to the park. Later they will learn to appreciate the time it took for you to prep for the dinner in the park.... haha unfortunately that doesn't come for quite some time.


lisa marie said...

I'm glad you don't have to go through that entire commute every day or even once a week! I absolutely feel the same about picnics, they are unforgettable even though they are usually worse than anticipated.

wfbdoglover said...

My little scout is 11. I have been able to be home for the most part for the past 6 years, I wouldn't change the way anything has been done. I am now ready to go back to work and I am not looking for that power job either.