While You Were Parenting


Okay, I’ve decided…I can’t wait until 2012–I am ready to start sharing with you. (Right here, right now:)

But first I want to tell you a story.  My aunt was a journalist for a well-known news outlet in New York until she had a baby and decided to stay at home. Then a couple years later, she had another baby boy. Then a couple years later, a third baby boy.

When all three were in school, she decided that she wanted to go back to work on a part-time basis. Even though she had been a journalist in NY, she hadn’t done anything ‘resume-able’ for years. She ended up working at Starbucks because she said that she had been cleaning up messes for years and didn’t feel suited for anything much bigger right out of the gate. That last comment always made me sad. (Just so you know–I am NOT knocking working at Starbucks. I love the place.) But it made me sad that with a degree and professional experience, she felt like she had been “out of the game” too long to be competitive for a bigger position.

Even though I absolutely want to be a stay at home mom, I definitely need something that furthers my professional goals each year. So a couple years ago, it made sense to me to start writing. I applied to write for the online magazine, Blissfully Domestic.  Each month, I submitted one little article about any health topic of my choosing. Did I make a lot of money doing this?  Ha!  I did not, but that wasn’t my primary motivation in doing this.  My hope was to begin planting seeds that would grow while I had young children in the house.

This way, I would have evidence that I did something besides clean up after messes. My blog is part of it, too. It’s evidence that I did something that was separate from my family life.

When I applied for the freelancing positions in October, it was AWESOME to be able to show off writing samples. They people could see examples of my work and instantly get a sense of my personality and abilities.

Now I know writing isn’t everyone’s passion, but I am sure there is something that you can do to continue to plant seeds for yourself. If you volunteer in your church, received a fitness certification, helped with the Junior League–these are things that you should keep track of for the future. You just never know when you might need to show it off.

What kinds of things have you been up to even while you were parenting?  I’d love to hear your stories and ideas…

© 2011, Amy. All rights reserved.

amy

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November 27, 2011 | Filed under Stay at home mom

{ 4 comments }

1 Blair November 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I do believe in having things for yourself, things that interest you, while you raise small children (or older children of course). But, often times mothers (especially stay at home mothers) feel some kind of imaginary pressure to show that they are interesting and relevant in the world or worry that there will be nothing to show for their time spent teaching and loving on their kids. But we all need to have the confidence to explain that being a mother is like being a business executive on crack. It isn’t just cleaning up messes. It is being organized, able to preempt others needs and wants, knowing how to plan a social calender, follow through with everything, be tough and push through even when you feel like falling over with a 103 degree fever, do 4 or 5 things at once, work 12-14 hours a day without any pats on the back and much much more, all with the patience of a SAINT. If those aren’t marketable skills, i don’t know anything. They say our generation is the “me” generation, but we are proving that theory wrong by becoming amazing mothers and sometimes doing it completely alone because we stand in the support role of someone who has to be gone for their job.

2 Amy November 29, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Hi Blair!

Thanks so much for your comment! Motherhood is certainly “the real deal” and when you really start thinking about how much you do every day, it’s actually pretty overwhelming. Especially when you consider that we’re not just watching children (like babysitters), it’s our responsibility to take care of them emotionally, prepare them spiritually, and nurture their (sometimes wild) spirits. I have thought to myself, “I have to get this motherhood and wife thing right because if it’s a total failure…how can you really move on??”

Your comment pointed out to me that my own story lacked context. I was unhappy in my job before having children, so I wanted to “redefine myself” and come up with new options before both kids were in school, and I would be able to work again.

I absolutely agree with you that being a stay-at-home-mome exclusively is awesome work, and one that should be regarded as such. It stands alone. It is amazingly hard, emotionally draining work. I didn’t mean to imply that our job was only to wipe up messes. (Though on days like today, I would wishfully dream for only wiping up messes!)

I have found that I am happier when I have some other interests or hobbies, especially during the deployments. It just so happens that what I am interested in has the possibility to make additional income.

Thanks again for your comment!!! I just love hearing your thoughts and getting feedback!

Amy

3 Blair November 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

By the way Amy, i think it is soo soo WONDERFUL that you are writing and have work that is flexible with your time at home with kiddos. I have found the same thing in being a Crossfit instructor. Just don’t want the mom’s without extra income or work on the outside to feel like they aren’t absolutely amazing at “just” being home with their kids. I know you agree :D

4 Blair December 4, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Amy – Your post was and is so relevant to my life recently as far as things i’ve been marinating on, so i hope my ranting wasn’t too much. You are awesome to give sound advice, from experience, on how to develop your interests best when a stay at home mom.

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