Hi! I’m Reneé and not only am I a new Northeast Ohio Parent blogger, but I’m a new blogger in general. This is literally my first blog ever written. I’ve always thought about writing a blog but then I would follow up my thoughts with “who would read my blog?” Well, so here’s what happened. I normally only post cute pictures of my kids on Facebook and like my friends’ pictures of their kids. I don’t post my political opinions and I don’t share funny memes or those things that say if you share this you’ll have good luck coming to you. Nothing against those, but I just don’t. So a few months ago I had a maddening experience regarding being a stay at home Mom and I posted the story to my Facebook page. Turns out, 141 of my friends liked what I had to say and 41 of them liked it enough to comment. That’s not a big deal but it got me thinking that maybe people would want to read what I have to say. I’ve been approached 4 times off of Facebook from “Mom friends” who actually thanked me for posting what I posted. Really?! I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast let alone what one of my friends posted on Facebook weeks ago. I thought I was just writing a rant but I guess it really resonated. One of those friends happened to be Angela, the Editor of Northeast Ohio Parent and needless to say… here I am.
Here’s a little backstory and then yes, I’m going to tell you about the maddening experience. I grew up in Mayfield Heights with two brothers three and four years older than me. I went to The Ohio State University and I absolutely love my Buckeyes. Don’t ask me to name any of the current players or to remember who won what game last year because it’s not like that. I just like wearing scarlet & gray and rooting for them. After college, I moved to Miami, Florida and lived in South Beach for six years. My life was one giant vacation. I worked for a major newspaper, several leading radio stations and for a luxury shopping mall before deciding I’d had enough mojitos and it was time to move home.
When I got home, I landed the job as Marketing Director at Great Lakes Mall, bought a little house in Lyndhurst and then met my now husband, Adam, on a blind date six months later. We were engaged within a year, had to sell my little house and move to Painesville with him. We had the world’s best wedding ever (no really, it was the best Country music dance party and we almost broke the floor) and then soon found ourselves expecting our first baby. I attended a good friend’s baby shower while I was pregnant, came home and told Adam we needed a bigger house for the baby. I mean, that was kind of like the ultimate nesting instinct, no? We bought our current house a few months later and had to sell the Painesville house. Our son Leo was born and I found myself in a position where I never thought I would be. I found myself wanting to leave my job and be a stay at home Mom. Insane. I never would have pegged myself for a stay at home Mom. I thought I would work forever and never leave my job that I loved and respected. I thought wrong! I resigned and a few months before Leo turned one, I got pregnant again. We welcomed our daughter when Leo was 17 months old and as I write, she is seven months old and he just turned two. Allow me to do that math, we met five years ago and have gotten married, sold two houses, bought one house and had two kids. I’m tired just thinking about it but here we are.
Ok enough about my past; lets get to the maddening experience I had. With two small kids, I frequent the mall and since I used to be a part of the management team, I know a lot of people at the mall (tenants, customers, employees, etc.) A few months ago I ran into a tenant that I used to work with. During our conversation he asked me when I was coming back to work, to which I replied, “I am not sure that I ever will.” He then followed up with “Oh sure you will. Otherwise it would be a waste. You need to be challenged.”
I glanced at the 7′ long double stroller carrying my then 5 month old baby and almost 2 year old toddler, laughed and assured him that I was being challenged. He clearly has never seen Leo in action… my toddler is the definition of toddler. And I’m pretty sure my old job never forced me to wake up every two hours in the middle of the night, made me start my day at 6am and then carry on drinking cold coffee as if nothing ever happened like Cora requires, but I digress.
I am not a super sensitive person and I know that his intention was to pay me the compliment that I was talented at my job. For that, I appreciated what he had to say. However, he continued with how I need to be “out in the world to be stimulated” or else my talents “would be wasted.”
Since when is raising children a waste of talent? I’m new here to this Mom thing but I already know that I’m good at it. My kids are amazing and smart and are learning something new every day. I was blessed with the choice to stay home or go back to work and I chose to stay home. Maybe my job doesn’t have spreadsheets and conference calls and budget reports anymore but I most certainly am faced with problems that need to be solved and strategies that need to be thought out. Stay at home moms & dads don’t have it any worse or any better than working counterparts. There are trade offs always. It’s up to no one to compare the two as if it even matters what’s more challenging or which opportunity will “use your talents” in a better way.
I was a big deal when I had a job. Even if it was within my own mind, it was a big deal to me to have the job that I had. I was a contributing part of the community and attended meetings, luncheons and ribbon cutting ceremonies. I sat on the board for the local chamber of commerce and was heavily involved in advocating for the business community. Now, I’m a stay at home Mom and still am a contributing part of the community, except it’s a totally different community. It’s a community of moms and dads and toddlers and babies and businesses that cater to families with small children.
I posted my story to my Facebook page that day to make the point that raising children is “enough.” It’s stimulating. It’s challenging. It’s rewarding. Seeing my baby crawl and listening to my toddler count and sing and dance is far better compensation than any paycheck I’ve ever received.
I’m glad to be here sharing my thoughts. I hope you can relate. Or maybe you can’t and that’s good too because this is just my experience and you don’t have to agree. Just go easy on me. I’m new here.