The White House

The White House

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's Take A Walk

About half a lifetime ago I graduated from college with a world of options open to me. I settled in Fairbanks, Alaska and began substitute teaching. Skipping ahead a few years my first son, Nicholas, was born. Right then I made the decision to fore go a teaching career and spend my life as a stay-at-home mom. I do not regret that decision one bit, but after almost 17 years I can say with confidence that our society doesn't celebrate that particular career choice. I can't even guess the number of times I've gotten "that look" like I'm uneducated, ignorant and lazy otherwise I'd have a "real job". It's one of those things that used to irritate me, but as I've gotten older I can honestly say "I could care less what others think". Probably why I can wear pajamas to the grocery store with confidence.

Over the past 17 years I've become restless at times and sought employment outside of the home. I am a pretty high-strung individual, and every few years being "couped up in the house" is more than I can handle. It usually doesn't take but a few months of someone else owning my time for me to realize how good I had it. Other times the money was so good I kept the job for a couple years. I think I'm getting restless again. It's been about eight years since I last "worked". Yesterday when I heard the patter of little feet getting out of bed it didn't bring me joy. I just wanted them to sleep a little bit longer. I guess it is time for a change, I'm just not sure what kind of change. I'm pretty sure I don't want to give up my freedom, but I'm antsy. Maybe Spring will help.

So over the years I've held all kinds of jobs and I'm wondering what kinds of things other stay-at-home mom's have done. Here's my list: pull-tab distributor, daycare provider, home health care for clients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, bartender, substitute teacher, manager of a fine dining restaurant, caregiver for the developmentally disabled, waitress and cleaned houses. Such a variety of jobs involving a wide array of personalities has made for an interesting life.

I've mentioned a few things about our house before. We purchased a partially done home a little over six years ago because it is what was within our budget at the time. I had split with my ex and had three children. My new husband had three children he was raising on his own after ex disappeared. We both came with a lot debt and were starting over so we had to take what we could get that fit eight people (that we quickly turned into ten!).

Raising that many children takes a lot of time (and money) so progress on our home has been very slow. Spending time with our kids and going to a multitude of activities while living in a not-so-fancy house was far more important than finishing it up. Heck, we never had time to entertain anyhow! :)

One of our kids is grown and on their own now, two others have chosen to leave us for what they believe is a better life, Nick can drive and Elijah is the only one playing any sports so we've reached a point where we have some time to work on our home. Unfortunately, we don't have the money, but that's another story for another day.

One thing I can say is that we are blessed. Our home is full of love and happiness, and our five children fill the days with laughter. They are also pretty darn good kids who are not selfish so we are able to cut a few corners and start working on the house again. Oh, but where to start?

Our list for the upstairs: finishing Lucas' bedroom, rip out the old kitchen and transform it into another bedroom to move Nick in to, move us into Nicks done room, finish remodelling Elijah's room, finish remodelling the second bathroom, remodel our room to be Olivia's room and build Emily's room. Downstairs: run electrical, finish the ceiling, paint, flooring, build the grow room, move the kitchen, put in windows, remove garage doors and build a wall, pour concrete and add on a single car garage. Again, where do we start?

Well, the number one priority this summer involves stairs. Right now the upstairs and downstairs are like two separate houses. To go to bed at night we walk out and around the house. It's 80 steps more or less. I know that I am far more fortunate than many in this world, but at -30 below, in the dark, carrying a sleeping child it is hard to remember that!

So after a long winded post of no photos I leave you with a video walking from the kitchen downstairs to go to bed upstairs. It's dark the first few steps until the motion sensor triggers the light. Life could be worse. Much worse. I may have to trek to my bed, but I get to lay next to a wonderful man with our beautiful children just down the hall. I am so thankful.


Queen-Size funny bone said...

thats a pretty long distance to carry a dead tired child. wow you must have some muscles.

FlowerLady said...

Gayle ~ You never cease to amaze me. That walk, in those temps carrying a dead-to-the-world child is not a nice thing, but at this time it is a necessity. I hope things go well for you so that you can have some indoor stairs this year. ~ Bless your heart for being a stay-at-home-mom.


Stace said...

Oh yea...I'd say stairs are a MUST...I can't even fathom carrying a kid that far in those temps. I'd probably never leave the You are such an incredible Mom. :)

Emily said...

Wow. You have such a great outlook on life. And I'm guessing you don't feel this way, but I loved the sound of the snow crunching! :)
I know this is a personal question, so feel free not to answer, but do you and your husband have children together as well. I'm just trying to get a grasp on who everyone in your family is.

Janie said...

I was a stay at home mom, and I never regretted spending the time with my kids.
You've had an interesting life, and you do have a wonderful family.

Amanda said...

Start with the stairs, and go from there. Sometimes we can't afford to get what we need to do.

As long as you make your House a Home, nothing else matters! LOVES!

a said...

Yes, I would agree, stairs are top priority this year ;)

As far as jobs, I am THE SAME WAY!! Except I get antsy about 1x/year. I think it's because I'm so disorganized otherwise. The only job I've taken and liked now is The Pampered Chef. Seriously, I know it sounds cheesy, but when I'm setting up shows I can schedule for whenever I want to be gone. If I only want to do 1 show/month, I can do that. If I need some extra cash for something coming up, I can book a month full. It's so much better than someone else making my schedule for me. Now I've had 4 months "off" (had some catalog shows sustain me and one month got to order some stuff for myself YAY!) and I'm sure next month when my LOA is up I'll be ready to do a couple shows again.

Last I checked there was not a PC lady in Fairbanks. I'm pretty sure it'd be a lucrative deal up there. Especially in the winter! Anyway, not trying to sell you on it at all, but you might consider a reputable direct sales company.

Bonnie said...

I vote for STAIRS!!!

I can't imagine but then I lived with mice for the first 8 years of my life in a trailer on our farm. It was not fun to wake up to a mouse crawling on ya.

As for the jobs I'm the same way. I get restless and feel overwhelmed with all there is to do at home and want to escape. Right now I'm cleaning a couple houses and it provides me with a bit of my money and that makes me feel good. I can purchase stuff for ME and not feel guilty.

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

Gayle, you are amazing! You give so much of yourself! You and your family have so much love and happiness. That's worth far more than having the "best house in the neighborhood"! That will come with time. You have a warm, loving home - which is much more than a lot of people. And I can hear how much you appreciate all you have!!

My vote is with you - stairs first!! Once you have the stairs, the rest will come much easier. Just being able to unify your house will make such a difference.

As for getting antsy - I know the feeling well. I love being an "at-home" mom, but sometimes I just need to get out there with big people!! As you know, my choice has taken me into the world of art and scrapbooking. I've been lucky enough to come to a point where I can teach a little. It's not much money, but it provides a network of folks out there that see me as something other than "stay at home mom". THEY never give me "the look"!!!

Chin up!! Spring will come....eventually!! Check out those new seed catalogs!

Martha in PA said...

Gayle, I think your post speaks to so many of us mothers. I was always on the other side of the coin. I worked full time when most of my daughter's mothers were able to be stay at home mom's, and I felt like I was missing something. I was a single mom , so there was no choice but to work. I spent this last 9 months being on hiatus after I retired from my career, and just now am starting to work again. It is part time in retail, no glamorous career, but I do enjoying being around other people. 24/7 with my daughter (because she does on line school) was starting to rob me of me!

I love reading your posts, I know I have said it before. No matter what is going on with you, or how cold the temperatures in AK, I am always left with a warm feeling from the love in your family.

Brrr... I think I would be sleeping by the fire every night!

Patty said...

I LOVE BEING A STAY AT HOME MOM!! I ran home daycare when the boys were smaller, so I was able to bring in money and still be at home. Then once both in school, I got a part time job at the school. Im still home in the morning with them, and I am back home by the time they are home. The pay is hardly worth it, but it gets me out into the 'real world' with other adults for a few hours a day. Now that they are both teenagers, I do feel like I should get a real job...maybe...AND Im a University grad too! My mother instincts were just too strong to leave my children into the car of others. Even when we were broke, we just made it work. I will never ever regret it, its the best thing I have ever done!!

Rayne said...

Stairs! Definitely stairs! That is an incredible trek to go through each night and then again in reverse in the morning.
You are an amazing woman.
I too have gone through many different jobs before finding my 'one' thing.
With everything you have done and your amazing organizational skills and your creativity, have you considered something like a Life Coach? Or a counselor?