Last year my husband owned a business which I helped run, which is really modest of me to say because I did everything that he wouldn’t do, didn’t do, couldn’t do (translations: a whole helluva lot more than he’ll ever admit). I learned to live on practically 4 hours of sleep a night, using the weekends to try to sleep a little more, cook and clean, wash and fold, and give a little quality screaming time to the kids–all while actually still working on the business. I never spent more than 12 hours a day at home with much of that time picking up after everyone while they slept, praying or attempting to make our house feel more like a home instead of a hotel.
If anyone had taken a vote, I would have won the award for “The Worst Mom in America” hands down. I rarely cooked, I cleaned in fits and starts, I used the local laundromat’s drop off service (sometimes spending $50-$60 let them wash), we ate McDonald’s sometimes 4 nights a week and some other dine out establishment the other 3 nights, I rarely combed my hair or Ashleigh’s, and Haleigh was left to her own devices in the tub (never good for a 5-year-old).
After dedicating the last 1 1/2 years of my professional life to a business project that my husband created, our lives (as we knew them) came to a sudden and ridiculously painful halt. In this economy and dealing in the neighborhood where we located, our business failed. We had to make some life altering decisions, and one of the biggest stretches for me was suddenly having to stay at home with my 3-year-old while Bill went back to work and we got on our feet.
Mind you, I’ve failed miserably at this before–Bill is an entrepreneur at heart, and we had to rebuild before when Haleigh was a baby. I hated every second of being at home then; I couldn’t imagine what I would feel like this time around. I had two things working for me, though: 1) I was dead tired, and 2) We had finally moved to a neighborhood that I could modestly enjoy. I had also begun writing again and had really appreciated being my own boss, so I decided to chill and make it work.
Then it hit me: I could actually write about this experience! I am not the typical housewife by any stretch. I love my financial independence even as a married person; I do not like not working. I have the extra-added bonus of living in an area where black stay-at-home moms are very rare and most of the women my age and color were nannies or housekeepers while the “women” lived wealthy lives (which we are TOTALLY NOT)–how would I be received when Baby and I were out and about during the day? What would we do, exactly? Where would we go? How would we meet people? Could I pull this off WELL?