Blog Manifesto!

photo courtesy of mipsy retro at flickr

As an English teacher, I used to tell my ninth graders that if they were mentally blocked and couldn’t think of a way to open up an essay, they could always start with a question.  Today, I’ll take my own advice.

Why am I writing this blog?

A year ago, I was working full time as a teacher while enrolled in a masters degree program in education. I had a plan for my career – I would secure tenure with my school district, and then start a family with my husband.  Typically, a teacher would be hired by the district on a probationary basis for two years before being granted tenure, which grants the teacher massive job security.  I was in my second year of probation, and I figured tenure was in the bag. I’d planned everything out – my husband and I would begin trying to conceive in March, so that I would have the baby around December of the next school year. That way, I could time a six-month leave of absence for the spring semester.

Incidentally, the old cliche is true – if you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a “plan.”

I learned in April that due to massive budget cuts, most of the probationary teachers in my district were getting laid off – including me. I wasn’t sure what my next step would be, but I didn’t have much time to think about it, because pretty soon, my husband and I got news that changed both of our lives forever.

I was pregnant!!

In the moment that I learned this news, I felt euphoria.  I couldn’t wait to meet this new person – to be his mother.  My feelings of joy were stronger than anything I had felt in a long time, which helped me realize that I wasn’t disappointed with being laid off – in fact, I was relieved.  That’s when I decided that I want to be at home with my son – I want to experience this joy every single day for as long as I possibly can.

But…. how would this work?  Could my husband and I make it on his income alone?  What does a stay-at-home mom look like?  Is she perfectly manicured with lunches in hand as she sends her husband and kids off to school, like June Cleaver?  Is she a couch potato watching soap operas and eating bon-bons, like Peggy Bundy?  I truly didn’t know what this job was supposed to look like – and I’m still figuring it out as I go.

THAT’S the purpose of this blog.  What is a stay-at-home mom?  What are the job responsibilities?  Who are the best role models?  In this recession, I am sure that there are others who have decided to turn pink slips into opportunities to spend their days raising their children.  So, what can we do to thrive at this?

Feeling grateful

Today, I am feeling grateful to be a stay-at-home mom.  I love spending the day taking care of my son, keeping our home clean and organized, and cooking dinner every night.  Tonight I’m making meatloaf (I’ll be sure to include a picture later), and I’ve gotten a lot better as a cook since I got married.  I always imagined cooking was incredibly difficult, but after discovering Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio cookbook and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything book, I’ve found that it’s actually fairly simple and straight-forward (tonight’s meatloaf, by the way, is taken from Bittman’s recipe). My favorite thing is Bittman’s iphone app, which inputs chosen recipes into a grocery list, making shopping simple too.  Yesterday I made Hunter’s Stew — a recipe incorporating beef, sausage, bacon, sauerkraut, onions and mushrooms — and it came out really yummy.  🙂

So, today is the second day of Lent. I’m not Catholic, but I’ve always thought it would be a neat experience to give something up for those 40 days before celebrating Easter, as a way to reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice. I’m participating this year, but because I’m protestant, it’s not really a Lent observance as much as a general fast.  I’ve chosen to give up bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes, because those are the foods I tend to overindulge in, and taking a break from them will be a good way to build up my willpower and motivation.

Disclosure: I am currently affiliated with Google Adsense, Amazon, and Healthy Wage, and this post contains affiliate links.  All opinions expressed are completely my own, and I am not influenced by any compensation I receive.  Honesty is my highest aim.