So interestingly, it appears that my "Working vs. Stay at Home Mom Myth" entry (written mid-way through my first year) is one of my more popular posts. And though I might come across as quite certain and resolute, these sort of posts are in a way a pep-talk to myself to counterbalance my uncertainty and lack of resoluteness. In fact, the recent flurry of "mom" posts are an attempt to acknowledge more of my internal struggle and relax some of the cheerleading I forced myself into over the past two years lest I discourage anyone from taking a similar path.
The last Bertrand study tidbit I'd like to share is the finding that women's workforce participation dropped off not immediately after childbirth but about two years later. Fascinating. In my experience it takes about two years for the denial to wear off. Initially, the memory of your childless self is fresh in your mind. You're just waiting to "get back to normal". And then month by month, as you forget what it's like to be able to leave the house on a whim, or lose yourself in a thought for five hours uninterrupted, the permanence of the new arrangement becomes undeniable. Maybe you begin to like parenting more or start to allow yourself to hate your job more or just feel resigned to a new existence. But what does a woman with a 9 month old know about working motherhood? Not much frankly. And while I found my summer internship schedule a complete relief compared to the 24 hour slog of being in school, getting a bad grade is not really comparable to being wrong on a big trade. So I understand the limitations of my perspective over the past two years.
Interestingly, I find that I am enjoying Baby X's new babyness much more than I did the first time around. She is an easier baby I think, but mostly I am just a better parent. Parenting is a skill and having some recent experience makes a huge difference in my state of mind. So that's lovely. The thought that this is my last baby ever is very sad for me. Although these days the thought of parenting more than two babes gives me hives.
And then there is the baby love. With Y's absence, Baby Y is turning the full force of his affections on me. In every moment that I am not breastfeeding or diapering #2, I am either consoling or applauding #1. Our neat and tidy 30 minute bedtime routine (usually performed by Y and followed by a 11 hour respite) has turned into a 2.5 hour soap opera, followed by an encore at about 1:00 a.m. and another at 5:30 a.m. It's exhausting but their adoration is undeniably endearing as well.
p.s. I randomly discovered Jonniker's blog who, in turn, sent me over to the following heartbreaking blogs (here and here) which remind me in my moments of feeling completely overwhelmed with packing and preparing to move 2,000 miles and job hunting and momming two babies sans hubby that I don't have much to complain about