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.