Once a mom, no decision is easy. There’s one main decision, that seems to plague moms (and parents in general, high-five to stay-at-home dads!), and generate the so-called “mommy-wars:” Go to work, miss moments. Stay home, miss the stimulation and contribution of work. I thought I had the best of both worlds, when I started and ran a business from home. My business was creative and artistic. I built it alone from nothing. My items, that I made with my own two hands, were sold in Nordstrom, worn by countless brides on their special days, and featured in many print and online publications. I was so very proud. But, with the birth of my second baby who didn’t love to sleep, something had to give, or I was going to lose myself. So, I sold it. And I miss it.
What used to be harder for me than missing a business desperately, that I grew and ran for almost 5 years? When people told me, “you’re so lucky to have the luxury of staying home.” It’s such a pat and dismissive little phrase. I scream inside, “don’t you know what I gave up to stay home‽” I know it’s fortunate I can stay home with my children. Not everyone gets that choice. The fact it’s a choice at all is in itself, a luxury. I completely get that. But, I can’t help but thinking that there is nothing luxurious about being covered in bodily fluids that aren’t even my own (I suppose my own would still be gross, but someone else’s seems worse somehow), biting my tongue and taking a deep breath when yet another double tantrum starts and the screaming leaves my ears ringing for hours, answering “why” seventy-million times, holding 2 toddlers at once, because one is jealous if I hold just the other, cleaning up poop…so much poop, being caught up in the “nap-trap,” being so tired the very thought of getting dressed makes me want to cry, not having a hair cut in 6 months, budgeting very carefully and putting my needs last, not feeling excited about new work and contributing to my household in an obvious financial way, never drinking my coffee while it’s hot, feeling a bit like my own thoughts, feelings and personal/ career development is on hold, giving up a realized dream of building my own business that I put so much blood, sweat and tears into, and not having a single finished conversation or thought with a friend. It’s sometimes, a very isolating and lonely existence, and luxury is the last thought that comes to mind.
But, then my almost-three-year-old pretends she’s a puppy, licks my 13 month old’s face, and they both collapse in giggles so hard, that I do, too. My eldest says to my youngest, with such innocent sincerity, “I’ll always take care of you. I love you, sister.” My heart can’t stand the amount of love and laughter it just got to feel, and I realize: this is a luxury. It may not be so in the conventional way one thinks about, but my days are full of laughter, new beginnings, and so very much love. I get to wear sweats if I want to, while little hands slip theirs into mine, and soft, chubby cheeks nuzzle into my neck. I get to cure pain with a kiss. I get to watch my children get to know each other and become friends. My days are all different, and as slow or fast as we decide to make them. I get to bake cookies in the afternoon, make volcanoes erupt on the kitchen table, and have dance parties. I get to document it all with my old, nearly-forgotten and now-revived love: photography. I’m not using my degree in a conventional way. It’s not glamorous. I still yearn for a creative job again, and will constantly be looking for ways to “have it all.” But, my life right this moment? It is luxurious, in its own special way. And I’m so very grateful I get to experience this luxury.
(Once again, all these photos are taken with my trusty iPhone 6. Here’s my post on iPhone photos.)