The older I get, the faster time moves - it's been said many times but it rings so true. It's amazing to me that the year is almost half over. Anna has been having growth spurts physically and mentally. The other day I put on the sandals she's been wearing for almost a year now and her big toe was hanging out the top. Time for new shoes! Also, she's quite a bit taller - seems overnight. I can't pinpoint any one thing but she's definitely a big girl and no longer a baby.
I am so proud of her. Her attitude has changed completely, she takes things with so much more ease. She was always so tightly strung before. I think part of it was that I was so tightly strung too and also that the school day was long for her. She never really napped well or enough so I think she needs more down time during the day than they were able to provide. I can't believe how much she's changed. She is so funny now. Just today she blurted out "mom, I think I'm allergic to traffic lights but I'm not allergic to rocks." Not really sure where that came from but I was cracking up. She says thank you for EVERYTHING and is honestly so appreciative. The other day I made her some plain noodles and she said, "Mmm, thank you mom. Thank you for making these noodles. They are so good and good for my tummy." She says thank you if you give her water, comb her hair, anything. It's so cute and heartwarming.
She had her first day all by herself at her new school and it went pretty well. She was thrilled when I came to pick her up and for me it was fun to have that reunion too. Also, it was so awesome to have an afternoon all alone. Thanks to all of you who spoke out in favor of preschool. I spent my free afternoon picking up some new shoes and clothes for Anna as well as a couple new things for myself. I also stopped by my old work and popped in on two buddies. One of my pals actually asked if I had done botox again. I didn't think quitting work would make a difference to my body physically but the stress has just fallen off.
I've been thinking a lot about being a SAHM now and why it works so well for me. Of course, since I've found something that I think is amazing, my first instinct is to recommend loudly and often that everyone should do exactly this. But I've learned through time that not surprisingly, everyone is not like me and may not want to live just like me. There are some distinct factors in my life that have made this work for me and have also allowed things to be so much better for me:
First, Uri and I did not and never will have a 50/50 relationship or anything like it. I know women usually carry a bit more of the load with kids and the home, but in my case, I was pulling about 90% and now I do about 97%. I mean really, I do it all. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, bedtime, dressing, teeth brushing, meal planning, organizing, gardening, bill paying, whatever. So I only picked up a little more work in the home but by shedding all my work outside the home, I've got so much more leisure time and flexibility. This may seem unfair to some of you. Especially when I was working. Well, I have to tell you, it really sucked. Towards the end of my working days, I was so frustrated with my situation and with Uri. I was seeing red all the time. But he just doesn't have the skill set or attention span for home matters and he is away on business a lot of the time. (He just left today for 9 days.) So this new situation REALLY works for us. I am totally in charge of Anna and our home, and he is totally in charge of providing for us. I love it.
Second, I didn't have a nanny or a mother's helper or anything like that. We started out with a nanny but she didn't work out and I felt burned. We found a daycare that worked okay but it is so difficult to be at work at a specific time and get everything ready and out the door every single day. I did daycare drop off and pick up and prepared everything - clothes, lunch, diaper, um, Anna. It was a lot of hustle. If your husband isn't available to help - it's nice to have a nanny or a mother's helper to assist with all those chores.
It was all just a lot and I was drowning. The situation was not working for our family. I was angry with Uri and not able to be the mom I wanted to be for Anna. My job wasn't all that bad but it was the daily grind - just getting there on time every day - it was bleeding the life out of me.
Uri and I say all the time how we just wish we had done this sooner. I haven't felt the slightest bit angry with him at all since I've officially assumed all home and child duties. I mean, I pretty much did it all anyway but now I do it with pride and happiness because that's my domain. And damn, I am good at it! You should see our sparkling windows! (I even took off the screens to wash them... that is dedication.)
I realize there is another piece of the puzzle: finances. We had to take the leap and decide that Uri's income would be enough when up until that point we had been living with two incomes. It's been amazing that our lifestyle hasn't changed at all without my income. I guess part of that comes from the fact that Anna's school was so darn expensive. My paycheck was almost all allocated to 401K and Anna's school. So yes, I've given up saving for my retirement for now - maybe forever. But if I had the choice again, I would do the same thing. We talk about what would happen if Uri lost his job or if he had to take a lower paying job. Our lives are just so much better this way, I think the best thing would be to live in a cheaper place and tighten our belts. I feel strongly that this is what I'm meant to be doing. All of us are thriving and I am thankful every day for this life. I'm going to do this thing!