why I can’t wait

I can’t wait to be home with my kids.

That is a super loaded sentence. One I sometimes feel like I needed to justify or defend, to follow that sentence with but I plan to also nurture some creative endeavors and write and do development consulting blah blah blah so the receiver of the information doesn’t perhaps conjure up the image of me as a stay-at-home-mom. Even though I will be….but I hate the stereotype of a woman wholly defined by her children. Whose stereotype is that anyway? None of my close friends model it. I am embarrassed to admit that I think it was my own some time long ago and I am not sure where it came from…Perhaps it grew out of my own uncertainty about having kids.

Since I had Margot nearly two years ago, I have enjoyed making it work well: the career and the home. I give my kid a lot. I give a lot to my career. I give a lot to my man and my friends and my family. And I save some some for myself. And part of me is afraid of changing that model. Or maybe I am just mourning the loss of that model. It has worked really well for me until now. I am nervous about what the change will mean to my girls, my colleagues, my friends. It is freaky to redefine how you answer the question what do you do? and I find that I have this canned answer explaining how I will still move through the world just as thoughtfully and productively as I do now. But, you know, I have always had a stump speech about this working mom question. What do you do? Right now when I talk about my work at the museum it inevitably leads to so you work full-time? I then say yes. But Margot came to work with me for a year and she is only in daycare three days a week and and…because I am afraid of that stereotype too.

But I have been slowly discovering a really liberating notion: to not give a shit about what others could think about my choices, particularly my parenting choices. It has been a journey but I am there. Or, closer. How boring would it be if all women made the same choices? And how beautiful is it that we have so many choices?

I can’t wait to be home with my kids. And whatever else also comes out of it or doesn’t, I just can’t wait to be home with my kids. I am so fortunate.

I can’t wait to not feel like I have to be hyper-productive in every sliver of free time away from my job. That every day will be flexible, defined by what I choose to do with two vibrant girls by my side teaching me humility and patience and a love I never even knew existed. That I can say yes to lunch dates on Tuesdays and hikes on Thursday mornings. That I can be spontaneous because the work I have to get done just needs to get done at some point.

When Margot was one I cut one day out of my work week. Mondays it is just my bug and me. It is in quiet moments on Mondays that I know, in a rich and awakening way, how lucky I am to be Margot Bea’s mama. And today I just reveled in my awareness of what my life will be like.

This morning bug and I headed up to our dear friend’s farm for the annual grape harvest along with two friends and their daughters. There were dozens of Missoulians buzzing about the vineyard, filling yellow tubs with grapes. A thick breeze snuggled us into a row as we chatted over hearty clumps of organic fruit. The Rattlesnake Valley was twinkling.

It was all so simple. Really, it was everything I want in life: community, camaraderie, dirty hands, happy kids, an awareness of myself on the planet.

After harvest, we ate good food and after that Margot and Moana got down with a perfectly placed string of mud puddles. I didn’t have any where to be but there.




Margot announced she had to pee after watching Moana do so and proudly peed in some knapweed and then I scooped my muddy chicken into the car where she fell asleep and this Ben Harper/Jack Johnson song from one of Margot’s cds came on. I can change the world. With my own two hands. Make it a better place. With my own two handsI can reach out to you with my own two hands… and I just understood myself, my current path. Jack and Ben helped me have a moment of clarity.

There are so many ways I can change the world. And positive change is almost wholly about mindful intention. I am a mama. All else I care about remains and actually has new importance but now, right now, I have the high charge of raising two conscientious, open, engaged, loving and passionate girls. And I just want to give it my everything.

Being a mama demands that I exhibit what it is to be a conscientious, open, engaged, loving and passionate person. It demands I nurture myself and my own interests if I want my girls to do the same. I can’t wait to be home with my kids. Because one day, relatively soon, I will send my kids off with more frequency and longer duration until I eventually I say goodbye for months at a time. I don’t know what that will look like but I know what now is and I don’t want to miss any of it.

I can’t wait to spend my days, with two girls, baking, learning, sewing, running, resting, gardening, dirtying, cleaning, singing, writing, playing, dancing, problem solving, reading, existing. As a Mama with intention. Living fully. And I get to just figure it out as I go.

34 Responses to why I can’t wait

  1. barbaras says:

    A surprise on a Monday! I’m happy for you Nici.. You know what’s important and you’re doing it. Don’t ever feel guilty…

  2. April says:

    You make being a parent sound attractive.

  3. Great post! I know you are going to have such great times with your girls. It is a grand adventure. You aren’t required to fit in anyone else’s mold as mama. The minute we start thinking we do is when we start to die a little inside. I love the time I have spent with my boys and I don’t regret the decisions we have made one bit!

    Remembering good times on a tire swing in Ronan….

    ~Janna

  4. anne c says:

    Ahh, Nici, I’m so glad you’ve got it figured out. I remember telling people I’d go back to work when Della was three months old, knowing in my heart of hearts that I did. not. want. to. – that what I was made to do was be a mom, but I had this nagging fear that people would think I was lazy, because really, what about an infant was so time consuming? And I’m so very glad I didn’t listen to that nagging. The very best thing I’ve ever done was stay home with my kids, even if we didn’t suck the marrow out of every single day. And now that I work in a day care (only when my kids are in school – aren’t I lucky?) I can say that maybe some kids are better off in that setting. But not mine. You are doing the right thing, and it will be wonderful.

  5. amy says:

    I stumbled on your blog and have been reading along for a little while now, and even though I don’t know you in real life, I just wanted to say thanks for this post. I don’t have kiddos yet, that’s in the works this coming year and I really appreciated hearing a bit about your journey. Women who think deeply, don’t live in the black and white of how to parent, and make decisions with thought and intention are so inspiring. Thanks for being one of them!

  6. breanne says:

    That was a darling blog, you are incredible!

  7. Funny…I came back and reread and am happy I clicked ‘post’ before I reread because I probably would have jumped in there and written about how much I love my job and what I am doing right now has been the right choice until now and how so many moms who work are so inspiring to me…just so I had this well-rounded thought about all the choices women have…but this wasn’t about that. It was about my current choice. And I clicked ‘post’.

    Barbara: Why do women feel so much guilt or a need to justify? Ack. Be gone nagging brain!

    April: It has for sure exceeded my expectations. I don’t by any means think it is the only way to lead a fulfilling life but my bug has sure rocked my world.

    Janna: Ah, the mama molds. So true. So many have expressed to me their non-regret (and total joy) for staying at home. It’s inspiring.

    Anne: I have it figured out?! Well, yay. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel figured out but I am getting a *bit* closer. :) The fear of what others think makes me nuts. So happy you chose what was best for you and that fear disappeared.

    Amy: Thanks for your words. Parenting is so wild…I can’t imagine feeling like I know anything about it, in a black and white sense. Being a mama is a world of gray. Warm wishes on the next year of changes!

  8. Kelle says:

    aw…i love your little conversations with your readers.

    and i love this post. how many times i’ve thought that:

    can’t wait to spend my days, with two girls, baking, learning, sewing, running, resting, gardening, dirtying, cleaning, singing, writing, playing, dancing, problem solving, reading, existing. As a Mama with intention. Living fully. And I get to just figure it out as I go.

    …except i do it now and learn from so many other mamas…and it just grows…and to think it will grow even more with another. funny…i answer the “what do you do” question different every time…and don’t even realize i do it. sometimes i say i stay at home. sometimes i say i am a photographer. sometimes i say i work at home. and recently, i just smiled and told someone…”i love. i love for a living.” because i love being home and i love taking pictures and i love writing and i love life and teaching and learning and i crazy-love my little and digging a little deeper into this motherhood thing. and funny…no offense to anyone says it, but yes…when told ‘don’t feel guilty,’ i like to say…’oh, don’t worry. i would never even think to.’ guilty? no. lucky? hell, yes.

    and, why look at that. a very long comment.

    i really am looking forward to seeing how you do it.
    my beautiful hippie mama friend.
    xoxo

  9. Heather says:

    “High charge.” I love that.

    xo

    Heater

  10. TRB Holt says:

    What’s to figure out….you have your priorities completely in tact. I loved my at home time with you and Trav. Those days are still so precious in my mind, days that helped shape you and me into better people. You are right in the blink of a lamb’s eye you will be standing on the street, waving with tears,as Margot boards the school bus. So my sweet, beautiful, loving daughter enjoy each and every moment…as I know you will.

    I love you, Mom

  11. TRB Holt says:

    Margot, I had to go back and re-read this and gander at you! So little in that great big bed and good times in the mud! I love your smile and you!

    xoxo, Gram

  12. Kelly says:

    what a beautiful post! i’m so excited for you to be home with your girls!
    not caring what other people think is a VERY liberating feeling! someone once told me “it’s not your business what other people think about you” and that has always stayed with me!! so true! xoxo

  13. Kelle: I love that you love what you do and I totally learn from you and your many answers to what do you do? Even now when I say I am the Development Director at the Missoula Art Museum it doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it is I do.

    Heater: I am always giddy when I get a comment from you. High charge!

    Mom: I love that those days shaped your being so much. Thanks for being home with my brother and me. They are precious memories for me too.

  14. Pam says:

    Ole, my pet:
    Not giving a rat’s ass about what others think is a strength that generally comes with age (can I get an Amen from Terri & Joan?)- so well done you for figuring it out early!
    You know who the people are who love and support you in all of your endeavors and that’s all you need. The rest can bloody well sod off.
    You rock at anything you put your mind to so here’s to those who wish you well and all the rest can go to hell.
    xoxoxo

  15. TRB Holt says:

    Pam,
    Ha-la-la-la-la-la, la-le-lu-jia, ha-la-la-la-la-la-le-lu-jia! … Amen

  16. joan says:

    AMEN Pam.

    The mud shots remind me how Andy used to love the mud in front of the house. He would bend over and dip the top of his head in the puddle and watch the muddy water drip from the top of his head. The neighbors loved to watch him.

    This WAS a great surprise this morning. I want to pick grapes too. I can’t stop smiling. This is a great post honey. I am so happy that you and Margot Bea are in my life and am looking forward to Number Two. XOXO J PS I think we should all pee on knapweed!

  17. Linda says:

    Awesome awesome awesome post! I love it! I am so happy for you Nici. I too feel like I justify my working (“but I am home half days with Ashley”, etc) but I need to stop worrying what other people think! Enjoy all the precious time with your girls :)

  18. Katie says:

    You’ve got it pretty figured out & you’re a magnificent mom because of it!

    The way I see this whole new stay-at-home-gig~~well, there’s a whole lot of time in my life when my boys won’t need me so much. But for now, to have this opportunity to just be a mama without all the time restrictions is a real blessing. And I intend to live it up. I know you will, too.

  19. Melissa says:

    This is a beautiful post. And it’s really striking a chord w me right now . . . thank you for sharing. xo

  20. Loved your post. It makes me happy when I see moms do what they want, be it stay at home, work full-time, or work part-time. We are lucky here in Missoula that we have great groups that you can connect with other moms.

  21. FinnyKnits says:

    I feel like that is the way all moms should go through their lives with their kids – wanting the experiences you described and doing it because it’s exactly what you want to do for the sake of happiness and fulfillment. I believe these girls are extremely, extremely lucky.

    Also, bless you for being a mom who lets her kids splash in mud puddles. I predict she will still love that when she’s a grown up and is taking the dog for a walk in the rain and takes joy in the fact that she has polka dotted boots just for the sake of splashing in the puddles and enjoying the moment.

  22. Sage says:

    Ah this post! Your friend Pam rocks! And Joan, let’s all pee on some knapweed! This comment made me laugh so hard. I guess it takes a weedy person like me to get a kick out of this :)

    This post rings so true to me. The constantly changing balance of life with career, family, passions, needs, and wants. I think it is so hard to come to peace with whether to stay at home or not, because it is more than how we define ourselves to others, its’ trying to get to the root of the ultimate question, “what is the whole point of it all, this life? What is the purpose”… just figuring it out, let alone finding a way to make it happen is tough. I guess for me right now, it just isn’t enough to have a career, it isn’t enough to be at home with the kids, it has to be both and to have them both at the same time along with everything else that that goes along with an engaged life is really hard and a lot of work. Sometimes so exhausting you wonder what the hell you are doing anyway….I feel so fortunate to have been given the choice to work part time from home since annica was born. But being at home has its own challenges too. It is hard being at home most of the time and not having an office to go to for work. It is hard being around your child all the time and not having the pleasure of a break and then feeling that much more present when you are with them. It is true you have more flexibility, and freedom to chose how your day unfolds, and some days I love that. Other days, I am so desperate to get it all done and wish I had a caregiver just so I could regain some sanity.

    I love that you have succeeded at one model and are embracing another. I am sure, like all your other challenges, you will rock it like no other. Thanks for the inspiration to be more present and more engaged.

    xo

  23. Penne says:

    You are totally amazing and will find peace with what to say to “what do you do?” It does fall into place, into a peace within that does not need explaining!

    Love you!
    Aunt Penne

  24. Geoff says:

    As one of the campesinos that day, I loved that there were little kids in the vineyards!

    My Mom and Dad had ten kids and while our home was full of love and great times, my Mom had to wait until the youngest one went to school to re-start defining her life. Now, in her 91st year, she is vital, active and engaged in her family, her friends and her community. I predict when you are 91, your kids will be saying the same things about you.

  25. Gillian says:

    dang, girl. this exhausted working-too-hard mama is bowled over by your post and all teary. ugh. it’s such a huge thing, this life and how we spend our days. i love all i do, but good lord if i don’t feel zapped at the end of the day. and wonder if i would feel differently if i were at home with my little one. but here we are, charging along, doing what we gotta do.

    you are gonna be one rockin’ stay at home who gets more done than most of us could even think of. and if you don’t, more power to ya. because for some of the greater challenge is staying still…
    gotta get the girls together soon! seeing those mud pics got me even deeper in the depths of emotion cuz el’s hasn’t seen her girls in so long.

  26. Linda: It feels so good to let it go! I am sure other situations will come up but the 30s are good for trusting ourselves.

    Sage: Working from home will be hard, I know. When Margot stopped coming to work with me, it needed to happen for a number of reasons but perhaps the most important one was because I needed to separate working and mothering. And, now, here I am going for it. I think it’ll be different because I am starting it that way instead of having my career going and then shifting it to accommodate a kid and work. I get to invent how it works. It’ll be a journey!

    Geoff: I hope I am that alive at 91! so cool. It was a good day on Monday, no?

    Aunt Penne: I am finding the peace without explaining and, yes, so far I love it!

    g: you are gonna be one rockin’ stay at home who gets more done than most of us could even think of. and if you don’t, more power to ya. because for some of the greater challenge is staying still… YES. That is definitely me. Stillness often feels unproductive but then, when I embrace it, I think why the hell don’t I do this with more regularity. I am hoping the new sched will allow me to enjoy the still a bit more. A bit less running. As for your running, it is an ebb-and-flow thing and you will get the rhythm you seek too. Always evolving…

  27. jen says:

    I wasted a whole lot of time trying to justify my days and feeling like I wasn’t “contributing” enough when I was home with my kids full time. DON’T DO THAT. It’s a HUGE cliche but it does go so fast. My kids are almost 14 and almost 11. I’d love to have just a couple of those days back every now and again. I’m so glad I had them.

  28. Wesley says:

    I stumbled upon your blog recently and have enjoyed reading about your adventures. (I, too, am a Missoulian)

    You sound like such a GREAT mom!! Don’t feel guilty for being a stay-at-home mom. It is an important job and I think that sometimes people fail to understand that.

    Your blog makes me feel so inspired. So motivated. Motivated to cook, garden, and create many new and interesting things.

    :-) Thank you.

  29. Janine Evans says:

    My goodness… it’s posts like these that make me feel a big jumble of things like sheepish envy, deep contemplation and profound inspiration. Your words serve as such a clear reminder to me about what’s really important as we walk this earth as mamas – especially when our little ones are, well…little.
    (I’m an acquaintance of Gillian’s from her college days and I stumbled upon your blog via her and Melissa.)
    I sometimes feel a bit like a voyeur here because your words often move me so strongly and elicit such emotion. But then I remember that you are sharing all of this for a reason, and although we’ll likely never meet in person, I am honored to peek in and share (and learn) this wild ride of motherhood with you – vicariously.
    I’m a stay at home mom who frequently finds herself in that weird mental battle about what others think. I’m going to save this post to read when those pesky thoughts creep up on me.
    Thank you. Thank you.
    Thank you.

  30. Janine, What a sweet comment. Thank you!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for reposting this! I am a stay at home mom and it was both the hardest and easiest choice I have ever made. While I miss the unique fulfillment of a career occasionally, I can’t imagine doing any thing else with my life at the moment. I figure work will ALWAYS exist, but my babies will only be young once and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.