What I never thought would happen has happened. Never in a gazillion years would I have suspected it, and yet, here it is: I am 34 years old (as of two days ago), I have a ten week old baby (as of tomorrow), I have a husband (for almost 13 months), I have a Lola (or rather, Lola has me, for almost four years); I have a lot of professional experience in different areas: teaching, radio, television, translation, public speaking, editorial (so on and so forth); I have two published books (and one or two in the drawer); I have almost the first complete chapter of my PhD thesis (almost as in lacking just a few pages); I have many languages under my belt (always wanting more)… and all I want to do at the moment is: be a stay at home mom.
Who knew!!? Certainly not me. Who would have thought it? Not I, not even a month ago did I suspect this would be me at 34.
I always saw myself as having children and going back to work, of having a few hours with my child a day and spending the rest of the time in my own endeavors. (And now, even as I write this piece I can’t resist looking to my left as my little one bounces on her bouncer, listening to whatever strange music I am playing for her now, and I seek to see her smiles, her reactions and even her fist eatings, they are just so wonderfully delicious!).
If six months or even two months ago, when my baby dragon was born, you would have told me I would feel this way, I would have been like “nah… I’ll go back to work, I’ll be happy, my baby will be fine… I can’t spend all day with a baby, I’ll go crazy…” I was not the kind of mom who fell instantly in love with her child. I loved her, sure, because it was natural, because she grew inside me, because I pushed her out and now she needed me more… but the crazy “over the moon” feeling other mom friends described to me… that wasn’t me.
And yet, as of now (and with the exception of my own mother when I was a baby myself!) I have never spent so much time with one single human and I’ve never been this happy.
I have become That Mom, the one who thinks that the day her daughter started sucking her thumb to self soothe the gates of heaven had been opened to sing the biggest ¡Halleluja! Of all times. I am That Mom. I am so aware of my baby I know in the last few days she has discovered a new kind of cry that goes something like ‘ayayayayayay’ and therefore I feel she might have a future as a mariachi. I am That Mom who facetimed the husband and the grandmother the day the baby didn’t sleep during her walk because she was more interested in looking out at the world, getting this look of ecstatic curiosity with the passing of trees intermitting with skies. I am That Mom who has, in her weekly schedule “baby yoga”, “new moms support group”, “early development music class” and a moms get together in the park and it makes me oh so happy.
I have become That Mom, the one who approaches other moms in the park in the hopes of sharing the amazingness that is taking care of a tiny human we spit out of our bodies in the most incredible ways.
Wanting to stay home all day with my baby does not mean I want to forgo of my entire life. I have come to realize I can do one thing a day (during naps), sometimes two. Morning naps equal writing, afternoon naps equal cooking. An amazing, understanding husband equals working out 4-6 times a week. A good support system means we get to have at least a date a week without the little vampire that is our child. An incredible partner means I go to the opera or to dinner with friends without my tiny specimen.
But yes, I do not want to go back to work. I love teaching and miss it, but if I have to choose, I’d rather teach my child what the world is about.
Writing and my PhD thesis are priorities and I am back at them, much slower than before but with a lot more intensity since computer time is limited.
I will probably go back to work at some point and be very happy with it, but as of now, and as long as it is emotionally and economically possible, I’d rather be a stay at home mom, without any shame.
It is the one job I’ve had I didn’t apply for and am not overqualified for. It is the one job I won’t put on my CV once I start searching for jobs, although all women in the world who share this responsibility, should. Heck it is the hardest, toughest, most creative, most amazing job in the world!!!