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Becoming a stay at home parent is like culture shock. At least, I believe it is after you’ve already been a working parent in the corporate world. Had I gone straight to staying at home when my maternity leave was over, it may have been easier to adjust, but for me, it was culture shock.
Culture shock isn’t such a bad thing. We adjust, we always adjust, and most of the time we realize AFTER the adjustment period that every electric zap to our system, no matter how painful, was worth it. Infact, I am beginning to see after everything I’ve experienced in the past 3 years, that in order to reach a cleaner and clearer destination you have to wade through waters of muck and filth. I like to call it the storm before the rainbow. I’ve been using that analogy very often these past few years.
We had a “storm” before the rainbow while trying to conceive my son. You can read about my husband’s perspective here.
There was a storm when I and found a less than warm welcome back to work upon my return from maternity leave, but then the rainbow appeared as I got back into the swing of things and was recruited to a new department.
There was a new storm when my new department laid off our entire team just 2 weeks after recruiting me. The wind and rain were fierce with fear and horror as we tried to figure out how to exist without my corporate income, and once we realized we could subtract daycare expenses, and survive on severance and unemployment, the rainbow emerged.
I had a #$^(*$ storm when I started my stay at home status and realized I didn’t know how to care for my child because the terrible daycare I had him in refused to tell me anything about the details of his day, his schedule, what he ate, or when he slept. That was much like going through a 2nd post-partum. My husband received many panicked calls from me that first week sobbing, “We should just give him back to them. I can’t even take care of my son as well as that awful daycare.”
What I didn’t realize is that the rainbow had already begun to form. As the days wore on, I began to settle into this new culture. It began to fit me so well, I wondered if I ever truly fit into the old culture of being a working mom. My son and I began to bond more than ever, and I was amazed at how he began flourishing. He never battled me on nap time, and it almost seemed as if he was happy to go down, knowing that I would be there when he woke up. My husband came home to a full cooked meal every night, a refrigerator filled with food, and his laundry done. So the only thing left for him to do was spend quality time with us until bedtime.
This was the culture I belonged to, and I decided that I was going to stay. The rainbow that has filled our lives has burned so brightly since then, that no storm has every come close to washing it away since then. I wonder sometimes if others have this same rainbow in their lives, but they forget to notice it because it’s always been there. Or maybe, there truly does need to be a storm sometimes before the rainbow can exist. If we hadn’t struggled to get where we are now, how would we know that it’s better over here? It’s times like these that I am glad for the dark times, as much I am the bright sunny ones.
OMM Andrew
Author: OMM Andrew