October 21, 2008

The Journey Begins

Before Kai was born, I harbored fear about the sacrifices I expected to have to make.

I thought I would see less of the people I love. I had nearly decided that the random dreams I dream would no longer be an option. In fact, I suppose I imagined that I would have to sacrifice myself on the altar of practical martyrdom.

Turns out my fears were unfounded. Motherhood has made me driven to do what I love, and has given me courage I had never tapped into before. I believe it is imperative that I give my son the gift of a mom who loves everything about her life. I want him to grow up knowing that he has the ability to make choices, to create a life that feels good.

My husband and I had everything worked out. He would be a stay-at-home dad and I would continue to build my career in higher ed fundraising. After Kai was born, he gave his notice at the college where we both worked. When I returned to work from my maternity leave, he came home full-time. And I knew almost immediately that everything we’d planned – the very practical plan we had come up with to keep one of us home, and one of us earning a comfortable living, just wouldn’t work for me.

Fast forward to Kai at nine months. I teach baby and toddler yoga classes, am working as a postpartum doula, and coming closer and closer to the end of my brief consulting career with my former employer. Bob has become certified as a personal trainer and has turned his passion for physical fitness and wellness into a career. Kai is crawling everywhere and threatening to begin walking any day now. In order to live more frugally and more peacefully, we’ve greened things up quite a bit (lots more on this in upcoming posts), gotten outside a whole lot more, and are generally living more actively and healthfully than ever before (also lots more on this to come).

To be honest, we're scared a lot. We know when our spendable savings (we're not willing to touch our longest term savings) will run out, and when we will need to begin earning more than we spend again. That day gets closer and closer. We've added expenses like life insurance, health insurance funded solely by us, and other "responsible" things that do, in fact, go along with being a parent. We try not to let the economy terrify us into paralysis.

Luckily, when one of us gets scared, the other is usually there to provide a gentle reminder that our worst case scenario is a wonderful adventure, a bit of failure, and a retooling of our plans. When we occasionally both get scared at once, we remind each other to breathe, and we slowly begin again, building our confidence and faith and joy in the possibilities that we are creating every day for ourselves, our family, and the world.

It’s fascinating to me that just days before launching this blog, intended to share ideas about living and parenting with presence, and pursuing your bliss not just in spite of being a mom or dad, but because of it, I stumbled on a post over at Christine Kane’s Blog mentioning that when she posts about courage and living intentionally, she gets angry e-mails from parents: “Easy for you to say! You wouldn’t feel that way about taking chances if you had a few kids!”

Since we chose this path of possibility and uncertainty, I’ve encountered dozens of other people doing exactly this. Parents who have been so inspired by the realization that we are all as our children are, little worlds of discovery and possibility. Parents who want to nurture that in themselves so that their children will have a daily real-life example of people who live with passion and creativity and inspiration and love. I’m looking forward to bringing some of their stories to you in the months and years to come!


Teal Marie Chimblo said...

What a great and encouraging post. Glad to know you and thanks for the twitter follow. Namaste!

Monsoon Mama said...

i love it! i'm so glad that you're blogging, lauren. it's wonderful to hear about your path as a mom and as a PERSON. if you ever want to read mommy rants & raves, i blog at monsoonmama.blogspot.com
i will definitely keep reading yours! happy blogging :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Lauren,
It seems wonderfully auspicious that you should find my blog just as you are beginning yours. Thanks so much for reading and for your great comment - it totally inspired what I had to say too, as you can see!
I am really excited to read about your journey. My husband and I are on the cusp of really starting to consider starting a family, and I admit I am pretty worried about exactly the same sacrifices you are talking about. I so applaud you for following your heart and deciding to stay at home, regardless of whether it was the most "logical" path. I just hope I am open to the same sort of guidance when I am in your position.
Thanks and blessings,

GooberMonkey said...

Teal - thanks right back at you!

D/Monsoon Mama - love your blog...and appreciate your thoughts. I do believe it's important to continue maintaining an identity independent of "mommy" even as the mommy identity has become really, really important to me.

eg - so exciting that you're thinking about thinking about starting a family, LOL! There's nothing harder or more amazing that I've ever done than carrying, giving birth to, and getting to know Kai. I applaud folks who remain childless by choice for following their hearts, but if yours whispers (or maybe shouts) 'children'...well, it's an extraordinary journey.

naturally nina said...

I almost cried reading this, which is maybe because I know you and am proud of you... or maybe because I just hope that I can follow in your footsteps some day. You rock! Big hugs.