Friday, September 14, 2012

Five years down this road ...

My first Mother's Day. With my week-old baby girl.

I never dreamed of becoming a mom.


When I looked down the proverbial road, I saw myself as a reporter and maybe eventually an editor at a decent-size city newspaper who would perhaps have kids. The road turned back toward Murray when I said "yes" to my then-boyfriend's marriage proposal. I never doubted he was worth it, but I did wonder what this meant for my career. Plus I had said I was done living in Murray.

I swore I'd never work at the Murray Ledger & Times, a newspaper we picked apart in journalism classes at Murray State. As 20-year-old students in training to become more, we thought we knew better than people who were paid to publish a newspaper. And maybe we did.  

But, you know, never say never; it's a constant lesson in my life. 

I ended up working for four years at the Ledger & Times and loved it. Sure, there was inner-office drama I could have lived without. I don't expect to ever like to write weather stories. I prefer hard news to fluff pieces. But, overall, I loved the job I swore I'd never have.

We spent a couple years trying to become pregnant. I assumed that was the road to having a family. Well, not for us. We ended up adopting our newborn daughter and I stayed home with her for six weeks, fully intending to balance my new life as a working mom.

Because I'd said more than once I'd never be the kind of mom who stays home with her kids. 

Well, about five weeks after Cate was born, I really didn't want to go back to work. Really. But I told my bosses I was coming back. So I went back. My bosses were accommodating and I worked in the office in the mornings and at home or wherever interviews took me in the afternoons. My husband worked from home in the mornings and from his office in the afternoons. Back and forth. In and out. Passing in the doorway.

It wasn't working for me, mostly the momma part of me. And it wasn't going to work for Greg much longer. This was part of the process of being realizing becoming a stay-at-home mom was the best option for us. The other part was logistics, mostly involving health insurance and income.

God worked out all the details, and for the third big moment in my life I remembered why never say never is a good rule in life. I lived in Murray, was quitting a job I said I'd never have, and I was becoming the mom I said I'd never be.

That was five years ago. Today. I was officially finished as a small-town newspaper reporter on Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, when I filed my story from the MSU Board of Regents meeting that took up most of my first day. I came home feeling like a burden had been lifted because I wasn't being stretched between what I assumed my life would be and what my life had become.

Today instead of covering a meeting, chatting with a university president and turning information collected from said meeting into a newspaper article, I drove carpool to my daughter's school, volunteered at that school, and then took my son to a play date with some of my mom friends. And writing is still therapeutic for me.

Seriously, I wouldn't change a thing. Well, you know, other than ridding my life of diapers and having perfectly obedient children ... But I wouldn't change how I got here or where I am, even though some of the getting here was hard. It's our journey.

Quitting my job for my family was one major storyline. But God didn't let it end there. Sure, I was able to focus on being a mom and raising my daughter, and now son too. But my life road that took this sharp turn, sort of unexpectedly, lead me to two of the dearest friends I'll probably ever have.

I met my writer friend Holly, who lives too far away now, when I gave her a crash course on the job I was leaving. We converse like we're chatty neighbors I have 1,281 emails and 359 Gchat histories between us saved since February 2010, and that doesn't count the texts, emails on my old account, Facebook exchanges, blog comments, phone conversations, meals shared, words exchanged around my kitchen table, or cards mailed hundreds of miles. 

My momma friend Courtney was the best thing to come out of a mom's group I joined shortly after quitting my job. When our family became four, Courtney was the first of my friends to watch both my kids. We've been to the Nashville Zoo, Venture River Water Park, each others' houses, the local park, blueberry and blackberry and strawberry patches, Kentucky Lake, basketball games (and even the Final Four!), tons of restaurants, and Bible study together. We've played and prayed and cried and laughed and listened to our kids argue and heard our kids love each other. Who knows how many chicken breasts we've prepared for meals to stock our freezers. My husband and I helped make her into a college basketball fan. And now our husbands work together. 

Quitting my job was certainly a new leg of the journey, and I couldn't really see too far in front of me. But looking in my rear-view mirror, I'd go around that curve again, especially knowing my life is absolutely nothing like I planned and I wouldn't have it any other way. And, you know, for being a stay-at-home mom, I don't even stay home that much.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this - as a first-time mama to be in 5 weeks, and one who's struggling/sharing similar paths that you've taken, I appreciate the positivity and realistic view you've taken. The neverending debate between working mom vs. SAHM gets to be such a drag - thank you for finding a way to gracefully relate to both.

    1. Deciding to quit my job was a decision I certainly had to make for myself. It would be a WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY had I felt pressured into it. Best wishes as you begin motherhood. It's the best adventure I've been on yet!