I never would have guessed how drastically my goals would have changed after having a baby. My plan had always been to return to work when Cayden was 6 weeks old, take off one semester and then return to school, and one day be a successful career woman. After Cayden arrived everything changed. It was physically painful to be away from him and I felt like I was missing everything. I was unhappy at my job and miserable that the only time I got to spend time with my baby boy was after work from 6-8pm. Luck was in my favor though, because not even 2 months after returning to work I lost my job. I was ecstatic! Not only would I get to spend all day, every day with my little guy but I would get unemployement benefits until I could figure out a plan for working at home. I've been home with Cayden for about 4 months now and not a day has gone by that I haven't been thankful. I see every smile, every tear, every milestone he hits and I know this is how it SHOULD be. I want to stay home and raise my babies. I still haven't returned to school and honestly, I don't know if I want to. I had always dreamt of being an elementary school teacher, and having my own classroom with field trips, history projects, and arts and crafts. I loved school growing up and I love children. However, every time I turn on the news I hear about budget cuts, union strikes, pink slips, 60 child classrooms, and online schools. Just recently I read an article saying that in 20 years there would be no more traditional classrooms and teachers. Not only does this make me sad, but it scares me. I don't want to spend time going to school getting a degree that is worth nothing for a career that has no future. I am terrified to send Cayden off to a school with metal detectors, drugs and bullies just to be taught by a stressed out under-paid teacher who doesn't have the time or energy to worry about whether or not my son is reaching his full potential. And after nearly 6 months of thinking about it, I've realized that I can have it all. I can be a full time mother. I can teach him myself. I can be with him day after day and have full control over what he learns and experiences on a day to day basis. I want to protect him and shelter him and shape him into a good person. I want to homeschool.
I've been thinking a lot about my long term plans. I know that I want to try for another baby in the Fall, but I also know that it will put a huge financial strain on us unless something changes. Living in California is NOT cheap, ESPECIALLY the Orange County/Los Angeles area where we are. We pay more to rent a 1 bedroom apartment then my sister (living in TN) pays for the mortgage of her 3 bedroom home. Not only is it expensive, but I (personally) feel that this is a toxic place to raise a child. Around here the focus is on money and labels and possessions and outer beauty. I know that it's like that in every state, but it's magnified 100x here in Southern California. We are just a short car ride away from the fashion capital of the country and celebrities in multi-million dollar homes. My entire life I have felt that I didn't belong here. I know most people think that CA is the perfect place to live with the perpetual 70 degree weather and beaches, but it's not for me. I'm ready to move to another state. I want to see the seasons change. I want to see the brilliant colors of trees in the Fall and I want my kids to get snowed in and run around barefoot during scorching hot summers. I want to be able to afford my own home with a big porch and actually have LAND and SPACE for my kids to play and explore. I don't even like the beach... I'm a pale, white Russian girl and trust me when I say that I look ridiculous in a bikini. I could care less about the new iPad and would rather spend my time baking apple pies with babies under foot. I truly just want to live a simple life.
Mando and I have talked about our future plans and feel bad, like I've blind sighted him with all these new ideas and plans. When we first met I was working in the corporate world, wearing 5 inch stilettos everyday, going to the gym 3 times a week, and partying all weekend. I had no idea I would turn into this person who just wants to stay home and raise babies, homeschool, bake, and grow a garden. But I can't help the person I've become, and the reality of the situation is that this is the future I see for myself now. This is what I want out of life.
Of course Mando, being the amazing man he is, supports me 100%, but I know that it will be hard for him. He hates change and it will be terrifying for him to up and leave the place where he (and I) were born and raised. And his family. It will be so, so hard for him to leave his family. I honestly don't know if he could do it. I have a small family, and we're all spread out anyway, so I know it wouldn't be so hard for me. Mando's entire family is here though, along with his childhood friends. We've talked about it though, and we both agree that moving would be in our best interests as a family. We could have more babies and live comfortably and take vacations. We don't want to move far. I'm thinking Portland, or maybe Austin so we'd still be close enough to trip home if we wanted. Hopefully after getting married within the next year we'll be ready. Right now it's just a dream, but I'm ready to make it our reality.