“C’mon, Nancy, you can do it,” Nancy says to herself as she jabs at the keys on the keyboard. Obviously, the computer is not doing what Nancy wants it to do. She starts mumbling under her breath, feeling even more frustrated that she has not been able to accomplish what she needs to get done.
This is the first day at her new job. It has been so long since sitting behind a desk professionally. Yes, she has a degree in business, but she graduated college almost 18 years ago. As she sits here trying to figure out how to input numbers into the spreadsheet, she contemplates why she even decided to go back to work in the first place. She almost wishes she could go back to the way it used to be.
Nancy recalls her life the last couple of decades and remembers at one time she had despised having a family, thinking it was ruining her life. But she ended up with a special fondness of those early years and a sense of accomplishment she would never get to feel again. She remembers how 15 years prior, she and her husband, John, were married. Little did she know how good she had it at this time in her young 24-year-old life.
Nancy and John did everything right. They met in college, both graduated and found jobs in their respective fields, got married, and had 2.5 children all by the age of 30. Then, the stock market crashed.
With this economic crisis, everything had turned upside down. John’s position was no longer needed and upon landing another job in such short notice, he settled for about half the pay of what he had been making. Nancy wanted to continue to work, but with such young children, there would be no way they could afford childcare for all of them.
Nancy decided to leave her job to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. For someone that is used to a 9-5 scheduled life, this new endeavor would take some getting used to. Nancy was used to having a nanny for the kids, so, she had to learn all there was to know about her own children. Kaitlyn was 6, Elliot, 4, and Cara was almost 2.
Now, of course, Nancy knew what to do to keep her children alive (i.e., feed them, dress them
clothe them, etc.), but unless you have ever had to be a stay-at-home parent with multiple children, you really don’t know what that really entails. After about 3 months of trial and error, Nancy finally felt as though she got down a good routine.
She would set her alarm for 6:00 every morning, although Cara would tip-toe over to Nancy’s side of bed at about 5:45. It used to startle Nancy when she would open her eyes to see her daughter staring at her, but she had become accustomed to it. So, Nancy usually was already awake before her alarm went off. Occasionally, there were those days that Cara would have a nightmare and that would cause her to produce a blood-curdling scream in the middle of the night. Nancy would then walk around frazzled and dazed with blood-shot eyes for most of the morning.
Nancy’s next task was to wake John up. He was a very heavy sleeper and even though he had three different alarms set, Nancy would have to be the one to turn them off. She would need to make sure he got out of bed on time and got into the shower. If Nancy had not already taken her shower by the time John got in, she likely would not be able to shower until that afternoon.
Then, it was time to wake up Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was not a morning person. She was so grumpy and always whined about having to get up. Nancy wondered how a first grader already hated to get up early for school. Getting Kaitlyn showered and dressed is always a fight, not to mention, fixing her hair. Kaitlyn had naturally curly hair and having to tame her mane daily was a full chore of its own.
The next job on the morning to-do list was breakfast. With five people in the house, Nancy quickly adapted to 5 personalized breakfasts. John only required his morning coffee and sometimes he would ask for a bagel or pastry. Kaitlyn was the picky one and would not eat anything else for breakfast except oatmeal. But, not just any oatmeal, it had to be the instant oatmeal with brown sugar and maple syrup (Nancy learned the hard way after many attempts at trying to make Kaitlyn eat other kinds of oatmeal). Elliot and Cara were the babies and Nancy could usually get by with feeding them some fruit or breakfast biscuits. Nancy herself would try to eat a healthy breakfast, but she would just end up eating the uneaten portion of Kaitlyn’s oatmeal and a couple of pieces of fruit the babies had not touched.
As the morning dragged on, it came time for John to rush out the door. He would grab his briefcase and coat before kissing all the kids on the forehead and giving Nancy a quick peck on the lips. Once John left for work, Nancy would have to load all the kids in the car to take Kaitlyn to school. And heaven forbid any one of the kids had a meltdown before getting into the car. If one started, it would cause a chain reaction and all the kids would be crying, or fighting, or screaming for no reason other than just to hear themselves over the other two. Sometimes Nancy would even lose it, too.
Finally, after getting Kaitlyn to school, usually on time, Nancy would head home with the younger two. Nancy and John opted to keep Elliot at home and not send him to pre-kindergarten to save on costs. Therefore, Nancy took it upon herself to try and teach Elliot the basics like letters and sounds. Elliot would understand some of what Nancy was teaching, but it would frustrate her when Elliot had just counted to 20 on his own with no problem, but when asked to do it again, he missed the number 15. Trying not to get angry, Nancy would tell him what number he missed, she quizzed him several times, he understood clearly where the number 15 was in the numerical sequence. Then again, Nancy asked Elliot to count to 20, and again he missed the number 15.
The only time Nancy found during the day to catch her breath was from 11:00am-12:00pm. Naptime. That was only if Elliot and Cara were both able to settle down at the same time. These were the times Nancy wondered if this was going to be her life forever. She would complain about her current circumstances all the time.
After some time, though, Nancy finally got a good grip on her reality. She eventually turned into an outstanding wife and mother. She became organized and structured. Her husband and children respected her, and she found this life to be rather rewarding. She didn’t think she would ever want to join the workforce again.
Now, as Nancy reflects on the past, she misses that precious time she was able to spend with her children. She thinks about how it all goes by so fast. Cara has just graduated from high school and will be off to college next month. Nancy and John are going to be empty nesters now. A small tear forms in her eye. She lets it escape onto her cheek. Nancy realizes how blessed she is and smiles.
About the Creator
Long ago, a little girl loved to write. She loved to explore the depths of her mind and create the impossible. That little girl still sits in the back of my mind waiting to pursue those dreams. I am now 39, a wife, and a mother of three.