Yesterday I had a meeting. A bonafide "business meeting". I wasn't someone's mother. Someone's wife. Someone's daughter. For about 15 minutes I was just me, Chantal. I had an opinion and it mattered and the other person was genuinely interested (and invested) in what I thought. How cool is that?
I've been a stay at home Mom since the summer of 1996 (even though Kristyn was not born until December). That is also same month I got married and the month we began our pursuit of John's business dream. He wanted to become totally self-sufficient and have a business that worked for him. It took a long time and it sucked alot, but he did it. Actually, that's not true, WE, did it. We sacrificed a lot for the sake of getting where we are today. We had our four children very young. We saved money, spent money and learned from mistakes. We bought houses and sold houses and adjusted to the change each new one brought with it.
So where are we today?
A great place. Our youngest child is 3. We have a business that on many days can basically run itself. John works from home. That in itself is a big deal. It affords us some luxuries that are really advantageous to me. The biggest of which is that we can switch gears a bit and focus on something I want to do. I am at a point now where I can take some more time for myself and, dare I say it, consider my own career path. At 30 years old, I am finally starting to think about my own career. It gets me all giddy inside, the thought of doing something I find interesting and making money.
And so, before this meeting, of course one of the kids was sick and not able to go to school. My first "business meeting" and it looked like I would either have to cancel or take her with me. Both so not cool. In the end, we came up with a plan leaving Meghan in the very capable hands of her father. She was not happy. She was sick and she wanted Mommy. For the first time in her life, Mommy just couldn't be there. While she was crying about this, Erin came in the room and said "You're going out? Where are you going?" She was on her way to school for chrissake! What did it matter where I was? It didn't. The point, to her, was that I would not be home, waiting for her to come home.
A wide range of emotions went through my head. Not least of which was wanting to yell out "Come on all of you! You've had me to yourselves for TEN YEARS! It's my turn. Deal with it!" Of course, this wasn't the first time I had left them but it almost seemed as though they knew that this time had the potential to have me away from them a whole lot more. There is nothing wrong with that and I don't feel selfish for wanting to start my life at this stage of the game. How I inpart on them that being away from them a little more, doing my thing, will make me a better Mom is beyond me. I almost don't want to have to justify it to them.
This whole process makes me feel guilty, like I'm letting them down. Then I get angry that I feel that way. I'm excited at this opportunity, but they have a hard time letting me leave. Even if I'm just leaving for soccer at least two of them yell out "You're leaving!? Where are you going?". Like I belong to them. Do you know how suffocating that feels? I don't want memories of leaving them for an evening to include having to pry them off my legs and saying "Get back in the house!" That's not fair to me and it's not fair to them.
I sure could use some words of wisdom I guess. I can tell you all about birthing babies, breastfeeding and childrearing. I can give you the rules of soccer and how to train for an upcoming race. I can tell you how to sneak vegetables into your kids food. But fuck if I can tell you how to transition myself like this.