I always knew I wanted kids. There was never any question that one of my goals was to be a mom. I still did the college thing, and waited till after graduation to get married and start our family. I think I pictured things a little differently in my head however.
I didn't think I'd be doing it alone.
I know there are millions of single moms and dads out there that know what I'm going through, and I'm certainly not going to try to compare our lives or play the "who has it rougher" game. I can safely assume that a non-working wife of a deployed soldier spends more time with her kids collectively during that year-long deployment than most working parents do in several years. And generally single parents have exes that take their kids for weekends or overnight occasionally.
For the first couple of years after I had my son, I continued to work mostly full time. It was a struggle to juggle our schedules and keep him out of daycare but we managed to do it successfully. I did always have a twinge of guilt about not spending enough time with my baby though.
Whoa - what a complete 180 flip from feeling like that!!!
My kids are always with me. Every minute they are awake, we are together. Sure, there are daycare options on post for people just like me, and if I wasn't completely paranoid about leaving my kids with strangers, I might actually explore some of those options. At first I thought it would be way too much of a shock for the kids to move to a new place, have their daddy leave, and then plop them in the care of a complete stranger. Now I simply refuse because I've not once had a positive experience with the Child and Youth Services Dept of the Army.
Boy, some days I sure wish I was heading to a job in the morning! I didn't have a major career or do anything that was really setting the world on fire but I loved, adored and respected the heck out of my co-workers. I felt like the work I did was valued and the place I worked was the best I've ever had.
This might sound very self-serving but one of the things I miss the very most is just someone saying to me "Hey you did a great job on that!" or "Wow thanks for all your hard work, this looks great!" or "Hey I can really use you, if you got some time later". I miss feeling appreciated and I miss the recognition that comes with that. I miss regular adult interactions. My kids are lovely and supportive, as much as a 3yr old and 2yr old can be I suppose. Gus tells me I make the best Cheerios's he's ever had. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
Finding that balance with work, life, kids, family etc isn't easy for anyone. Right now I'm just feeling there isn't any balance of it in my life.