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Monday, January 16, 2012

Is the Grass Greener?

Riley and Maggie, in front of their International School in September 2010. I LOVED being able to take them to school each morning, and pick them up each afternoon.
Last weekend, I went to a friend's house for a little dinner and wine. There were four of us girls at my friend's house. Three of the women I already knew, and the fourth was a woman I just met for the first time. I'll call her "H." H has recently resigned from her full-time job, and has decided that being a stay-at-home mom is the only option for her, since juggling work and motherhood was a bit challenging.
While we were talking to H about her decision, we all shook our heads and nodded. We could all relate to her. All of my friends are high achievers and really strive to be our best in both our professions and in motherhood. But at some point, something has to give. And, it ends up being our own needs. We put 100% in our work, 100% with our own children, and we try to give 100% with our husbands, and then what is left to give to ourselves? I'm lucky to give myself 50% of what I need. I dream of going to Yoga classes, but with my work schedule and my husband's work schedule, I just can't seem to leave my house in the evenings. I dream of a lot of things for myself, but these things are on the back burner, as I raise my kids and go to work.
H is a very happy person. Whenever I meet a stay-at-home mom, they always seem to be in limbo; never completely happy or satisfied doing what they are doing. I am always intrigued with stay-at-home moms, since I struggle with being in the category of working mom, and I always think to myself, "How lucky she is." Sometimes I think there's too much on my plate, and I just can't keep up with it all. My house is always a mess, I'm always rushing places, and I feel like I walk around all day with a "To-Do" list in my brain. But this girl, H, was ultimately and completely satisfied. My mouth dropped in awe as she told me that she is spending time working out and training for a triathlon. Her house is in order. She drives her kids to elementary school and preschool. She volunteers. She can have coffee with other friends in the daytime. In my head, I always thought to myself that "The Grass is always Greener," there will be things about working that I'll miss. And I agree with that to a certain degree. I will miss teaching; teaching is in my blood, and I feel like I just can do it naturally and without thought. But because I was a stay-at-home last year in Germany, I know how balanced and happy and "with it" I was. I had a clean apartment, dinners were planned, kids were dropped off at school and picked up, I volunteered, I had countless coffee mornings, and I was happy.
I'm happy now working, but it's a different happy. This balancing act is a challenge. But when I met H this weekend, it opened my eyes to how the grass actually might be greener over there in Stay-at-home-Land.

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