Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When my life was very different for 16 months

Lately I have been thinking about a short period in my life when I was a true stay at home mom and housewife. It was for a very short 16 months. April 2004-August 29th, 2005. I think many of my readers will recognize the significance of that last date.

When we moved to New Orleans, I quit my career as a Web Usability Consultant at US Steel in Pittsburgh. We decided hubby made enough money for me to stay home full time with our 14 month old daughter.

At the time I thought it was harder than being a working parent. Was I ever wrong. I'll tell you what is harder. Being an "at home" working parent and stay at home mom at the same time. That is what I do now.

So needless to say (and I am not complaining here) I am endlessly busy. I have little to no time for myself. I am always either taking care of my kids or working at my computer. I barely have time to clean. Luckily, my hubby picks up the slack there for me in his little spare time. He cooks, does dishes and laundry. And if I ask nicely, cleans the bathrooms too.

Over Easter weekend my parents were generous enough to take us to Orange Beach, Alabama for a very much needed mini-vacation. I took the laptop but much to my pleasure there was no WiFi where we stayed. It was my excuse to say F-it! I didn't think about work. I didn't do any work. I didn't even read a magazine - although I took at least 10 with me.

It was that weekend that I started to have this reoccuring thought of those 16 months where I was carefree and living the good life. Money wasn't an issue for us. Hubby was always working. I just hung out with My Girl. We were on the go daily. Parks, zoo, aquarium, children's museums, play dates, mom's club events, shopping, exploring, visiting friends. And when hubby traveled - which was often- we had no schedule what-so-ever.

We ate dinner when we wanted and where we wanted. We sometimes ate it early and spent the hours between 4 and 9pm out running around. Maybe we'd get Wendy's and eat out of the back of my truck at the lakefront and then swing afterward. Go to Wal-mart and just spend hours looking around at everything and hanging out in every aisle of the toy section. There was no bedtime and no wake up time. We would stay up till 11pm watching TV. Sleep till 10am.

We were spontaneous. A friend would call in the AM (not too early everyone knew!) and say, "Want to drive to Waveland today with the kids and do the beach?" We would drop everything and be out the door in 30 minutes! I remember spending long days away from home. We would hit the children's museum in Gulfport, swim at the beach after and get Dairy Queen for the drive home. Arriving home around 5/6pm sunburnt and exhausted!

We often stopped by a friends house to visit for a few minutes only to stay until bedtime because said friend opened a bottle of wine and the kids were having too much fun. Sometimes we even had dinner there.

The girl and I had no schedule. No one to answer too. No deadlines. No dinnertime. No bedtimes. No alarm clocks. Nothing. We were just two girls hanging out in our new home in the south. We were enjoying the mild weather all year. I remember the many times in February I would put the girl in the jogging stroller and roller blade the trace and lakefront . Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes in the afternoon. Sometimes around dinner time. Today, I would have to make plans and schedule in an hour to rollerblade.

I felt good then. Happy. Content. Alive. It was a very bright time in my life.

The one vision that I keep remembering the most is when I was hanging out with a bunch of mom's club friends at the trailhead water spouts. We had been there all day. You could tell whose hubbies traveled as we were always the last to leave as we didn't have any reason to rush home for dinner. It was so nice out we lingered extra long. I mentioned feeling like having a chocolate shake. Another mom made a suggestion of a new pizza place that had just opened and had great shakes. On the spot we all agreed to just take the kids to dinner there. And our day long event turned into dinner out with a bunch of tired kids and we loved it!

I got to know other HOOT moms (Husbands Out Of Town) and we tried to eat out together once a week. Often Mexican. Kids always wanted Mexican. It was a fun time.

Things have changed a lot in my life since August 29th, 2005. Not all bad. Just different. Katrina threw us for a loop and turned our world upside down for almost a year. Hubby lost his job the day before our 2nd child was born in July 2006 and then started a business 4 months later. And now I have to work to make ends meet. And that is fine. I am not opposed to working at all. It is just that my easy life has turned into a very busy, very scheduled, very routine, very chaotic, very stressful life.

But I got a taste of the carefree life. And I got precious time with My Girl. Today, I see my hubby daily and we are much more of a family - a family of four, not just two. So the good life had a lot of ups and was fun, but now, we are more of a family. And that is more important than anything.

1 comment:

mimosa momma said...

another bright side...look how much LESS laundry you have to do now since hubby helps out so much!