Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Waiting

For most people I know, I'm the absolute minority when it comes to topics related to "waiting".

I've never been in a big rush to potty train. Carter was nearly three when my grandmother pointed out his legs lopping over the changing table while we were on vacation in California.

"Aren't you going to potty train him soon?"

"Hmmm.....I guess I should get going on that, huh?"

Carter was 4 when we started trying to get pregnant again. We married quickly. Had a baby even quicker and saw no rush in having another child. We had a savings account to fill and a house to build. Blake and I took our time. Carter snorkeled in Mexico, surfed in Hawaii and traveled through California unlike most adults have experienced before we even ventured into the 2nd child dynamic.

I put no pressure on Blake to have another baby. Truth be told, I liked the idea of having a child every 5 years. I've heard all of the arguments against this timing and I can't say that I agree with many of them. "They'll be better friends if they're closer in age." Really? Caroline and I are 5 years apart and have a sibling between us. I've never been closer to anyone in my life. As children and as adults.

So, we moved forward after Carter and lived our lives. We got to know him so well and his "only child" status, I believe, contributed to his personality today. Confident, independent, strong.

Then we had Jack and I really felt in control of our little family. Blake's career was moving along nicely and we were headed to Colorado.....lovely, beautiful was good.

And, then the Christmas Blizzard of 2006 hit Denver and we Texans, not being accustomed to snow or a blizzard for that matter, didn't venture out much for a few months. Which brings us to Lainey. Our only daughter and a new light in our life that has changed it so dramatically.

I could list out the pros and cons of having kids close in age vs spacing them out. We really are doing both versions:

-5 years-
-16 months-

I feel lucky that Carter and Jack are boys because boys naturally gravitate toward the same things. Dinosaurs, snakes, bathroom humor and grossing out Mom. I'm grateful our youngest is a girl. It feels right. The boys take care of her and toughen her up at the same time.

All in all, I feel that every child kind of fell into place, timing wise. While I would have liked another chunk of time between Jack and Lainey, I'm honored to experience motherhood in this new way as well.

Aside from how our kids lined up, I've also been an oddity regarding the milestones. Besides breaking the bottle habit (which, I learned with Carter was easier done sooner than later), I've been very relaxed about the rest of it.

Potty training? When they're absolutely ready.

Crib to bed? Not until we have to.

Sippy cups? 2 out of 3 of mine still use them.

And, finally school. A few of you know me well enough to know that I'm in no rush to send my kids off. I've never done Mother's Day Out and really have no interest in it. As far as "time for me" goes, Jack and Lainey go to their classrooms while I'm in mine during Building Better Moms. Our kids are in bed early and I have a highly involved husband who takes over the minute he walks in from work on my stressful days and sends me to the movies on others. So, I haven't felt the urge to put them in a program.

Oh, the criticism I receive! Most of my friends simply can't understand it and others insist they
have to have the socialization. OK. Why? Neither of our little ones are running for Congress anytime soon. They both see more museums and go on more zoo trips than most Kindergartners I know. We're constantly around other children. While I see that a consistent, formal classroom setting could benefit them their Christmas program mentioned in a previous post......besides that, I simply can't find the urgency if I'm happy providing equally stimulating and educational opportunities to them. I see nothing wrong with Mother's Day Out. It's just not a fit for me.

Perhaps it's a result of my working while Carter was a toddler and I'm making up for time "lost". While he thrived in daycare and preschool, I wasn't with him on a daily basis. Maybe it's because we're done having children and I'm not ready for them to grow up. Sending them to school makes them less of babies and more of children.

It certainly could be a combination of all of these things. Any way you look at it, I'm cherishing these days at home with my two little monsters. It's all going so fast. I guess you could say that I'm soaking up every last minute of their toddlerhoods and feel good about our choices.

A lot of this has been fresh on my mind because I was hoping to start Jack in Preschool come January and found out recently his class is full. We're on the waiting list and hoping to be fit in, otherwise, we will wait until the Fall. I spoke to the director today and she assured me he would be just fine waiting, given our current routine and participation in the community.

Ok, then. Someone else is on board with "waiting". Maybe he won't end up in prison after all.


Shannon said...

NieNie and CJane's mom felt the way you do. I don't like to do all the stuff you do so mine were better off in preschool. We both needed the time apart. I'm glad you enjoy it though.

timmonstimes said...

I'm so glad I read this today! I stay at home too and enjoy it more than words can say. I used to be a teacher and my former principal called yesterday and offered me a job starting in January (just a few short weeks away). I knew I had no desire to go back to work and leave Corinne but I loved reading your post because it just solidified some of my reasoning. And, I have a friend who thinks my daughter should be going to some sort of program and my husband and I think she is doing just fine :) Perfect timing for me and this post!

Carrie Darney said...

Casey, this is a great post. You stated your opinion while supporting the other side to. I think all Mothers as well as kids are different and so different decisions are made. I think it is neat that you got to see both sides and see positive impacts from both sides. Carter has grown to be a wonderful guy and the babies are not social idiots by any means...they are very social in fact!

YOU are a great stay at home Mom. I just happen to not be. I always pictured myself as being one, but I just didn't feel like I was good. but that is my own personal opinion. YOU on the other hand are AWESOME...

Great post my dear,

starnes family said...

Carrie - thank you. Funny.....I was not a good stay-at-home Mom with Carter. That's why I went back to work. I loved being a working mom. And, now I love staying home.

Happy to know both and have the choice, ultimately.

I appreciate your kind words!

The Rand's said...

great post, casey! i, too, LOVE staying at home! although, gracie does go to school t/w/th, but she needs it. i cherish all the time spent with her, especially since she's going to kinder next year! and, i love that i can help at h's school and pick her up from school, just being here for them!
i've been on both sides--working mom, stay-at-home mom, just like you. i much prefer to stay at home, but i know it's not for everyone! if gracie was my first, I might not of quit teaching!! ;) totally kidding. kinda.

The Lenzers said...

just catching up on your blog, i feel weeks behind! that's because i am! glad you and crazy coco had a good visit, the snow is great, and you wait all you want on what you want!! you will always know whats best for you and your family!!

Coco said...

Not rushing potty training, crib to bed and you know how I am with the bottle and paci.

Totally agree, my kids did it all when they were good in ready.

As for a mother's day out program. I feel even just two hours a week is extremely beneficial to kid and mom. But that is just how I roll.

Monica said...

Well, I think you're the best mommy out there and I can only HOPE to be as awesome as you are when I have kids.

Clare said...

Ah, so awesome that you have experienced both and obviously been good at both. As others (and you) have stated, your kids are getting plenty of socialization. You're the parents you get to decide, just because some people do things different (or even the majority) doesn't mean it's right.

merrilee said...

Great post. . .I love how you have paid equal respect to both sides. I am SUCH a believer in doing what is right for both you and your family. I have too many friends who don't have the option of staying home and carry such guilt for it. It is such a personal choice and I don't think any of it is black and white!

FROGGITY! said...

i feel right on board with you!

although i felt ready to have a baby a year ago, i am really really glad that they are going to be 4 years apart, in fact i think God just knew better than i did. my sister and i sound like you and caroline, we couldn't be closer and i am 4 years older. she is and always will be my best friend (besides hubby) age just doesn't matter! (i like your family structure by the way! think it's cool.)

and i didn't even want to think about preschool until LL was at least 3, and if i had waited longer it would have been FINE. no rush! we as parents only get a few precious years (months really) of our children's lives sans school. everyone is different! enjoy your time and NO harm in waiting!

SASS said...

Blah blah blah everyone agrees with you.
I was hoping for some drama.

Momma to the A's said...

I love this post. I shows how good of a mommy you are! I believe that you have to do what feel right for you and your kiddos! Way to go Casey!

It was time for A1 to head off to preschool. She is 3 1/2 and needed more than I could provide her at home. She loves being around others and we are so new here that I felt it was the best decision for her. B also works loong hours and is gone on business trip quite a bit. The breather it gives me is great during those times.

Keep following your heart! Your kids will love you for it!

Kristen said...

Who cares what other people think. I don't know you well, but so happy to be getting to "know" you and your family more... and you are obviously all happy and enjoy each other and laugh and live life to the fullest. That's all that matters....

The Soladay Family said...

I have also been on both sides, staying home and working, and have loved both. I honestly thought I would be staying home next school year, but after the summer, I have decided to continue to teach for awhile longer. I do have a perk by being able to be close to my kids and see them while at work since I teach at their school. =)

As far as waiting, I think it comes with age and experience that you become okay and content with waiting and doing what works for your family. You seem to have that down!

Tutus and Choo-Choos said...

What a great post! I have been the working Mommy and the stay-at-home Mom. I worked until baby #3 came along and then it just didn't work for our family for me to work. Now that I have two in school and two at home I'm thinking that my days at home are numbered. My baby #3 goes off to Kindergarten next fall and I'm going to miss her like crazy because she has always been at home with me. But, somedays I still miss the adult interaction and conversation.

Only you know what is best for you. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I once had someone tell me that being a stay-at-home Mom was beneath me because I had a college degree. I looked right at this person and said that me being home with my children was what was right for our family at this moment in time.

Jodee said...

I enjoyed reading this post! I think every mom does what is best for her family! I especially admire SAHMs because I could never be one! In fact, I go stir crazy just after a long weekend!

Enjoy every second of your SAHM status. They grow up sooo fast!

Mama Sue said...

One thing we sometimes forget is that kids do most things when they are ready no matter how hard we try and it helps everyone involved when we just relax. By the way, you would make a great homeschool mom...that is basically what you are doing with Jack and Lainey.

Sara said...

You are an incredible mom! And you do so many activities with your kids that they probably learn more being with you than they would in any MDO or daycare program. Not that those are bad....especially since Hudson's in "school" 3 days a week. Point is: To each his own! Do what's right for you and your family...and that's all that matters. Period.