This morning when the alarm went off, I stayed in bed. Brian got up, turned it off, and went downstairs, while the cat curled back up beside me. About half an hour later I wandered downstairs for some orange juice, just as Brian was heading back up to get ready for work. I did the Sudoku and puttered around a bit. When Brian left for work, I wandered around the house aimlessly for a little bit. I had told Brian that on my first day at home, I wasn't going to set any goals for accomplishing things. I was going to eat and sleep, and just enjoy not doing anything. Getting things done could wait until Thursday. But after I checked my email, I started a load of laundry, made the bed, wrapped some presents, and tried to clear out the slow-running bathroom sink with baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water (which totally failed, but did make cool noises).
So it wasn't particularly interesting, although no longer being required to show up for work was a relief, even if I had had an easy desk job. It was nice to not have to commute up to Glover Park from Alexandria each morning. When I got tired during the day, I could lie down and nap for an hour. I tried to get something done around the house each day, and I tried to get out for a walk every day, but other than that, my only task was growing the baby. It was strange to become "a stay-at-home mom with no kids," although apparently, according to what I wrote last year, one of my friends had noted when I described myself that way that the Bush Administration would probably just call me a stay-at-home-mom, and even give my fetus Medicaid. (I have no recollection of that conversation, but I know exactly which friend would have been the one to say that.) I ended up with three weeks off before Adriana's arrival--three weeks to rest up, to allow myself time for the quiet contemplation of the end of pregnancy, the strange turning inward that seems to happen for most women. That was a huge blessing.
Then Adriana arrived and everything changed. Moments for quiet contemplation seemed few and far between, even with our easy-going little girl. IN the early days, when I wasn't busy with her, I was too exhausted to think. But there wasn't that scary end-of-maternity leave date looming six- or twelve-weeks ahead on the horizon. I found it comforting that for the time being, my sole job was to nurture my baby.
Before we were ever married, Brian and I talked abstractly about kids ("our subjunctive children," we referred to them), and I recall him saying that he assumed that if we had children I would continue to work afterwards. I was thinking along the same lines at that point, but as we began to talk about starting a family more seriously, I realized that it was important to me to be able to stay home with our baby, and Brian agreed with me. I feel incredibly lucky that we were able to afford to give up my salary. That means it's important for us to stay a one-car family, and that it will take longer for us to get to a position where we can buy a house. Most of the people around us were very supportive of our choice, although there were a few comments that annoyed me because they made me feel defensive ("Your brain will turn to mush!") and others that made me want to jump to the defense of families where both parents work ("It's really the best thing for the baby."). For the most part I haven't felt the need to proclaim that "Of course I work!" or that "Adriana is my job!" when people ask me if I work, although when couple of (childless) friends have commented that they wished they didn't have to do anything Brian has had to listen to me bitch about them that night.
There are days when I have my doubts, days when Adriana and I are both sleep deprived and cranky, days when I wish someone else were dealing with her refusals to nap and the constant fussing. Then I think that trying to do another job on so little sleep wouldn't be fun, either, and I'd really only get to spend time with Adriana at the end of the day, which is not her finest time. There are those days. But most days we play together and I use her naps to take some time for myself or get things done around the house. She holds my finger and leads me around and around the apartment on her wobbly legs, stopping to laugh at the cat or investigate a magazine that was left on the couch, and I am completely aware of how good life is, how lucky I am.
In one of the posts I began last December, I wrote, "I spent most of my final commute home wondering if I'd made the right decision. All that time and money spent on grad school to become a stay-at-home mom? Would I go absolutely crazy in the first three months of being home alone with the baby? Should I have at least kept working right up until when the baby came?" A year later, I do feel that it was the right decision. That's a nice feeling to have.