Monday, September 28, 2009

Stay At Home Parent

I want to first acknowledge that not all moms desire to stay at home. I totally get it. You not only have no desire to stay at home but you cannot understand even for a second why anyone would want to. I get it. This is a post about those of us who are or want to be stay at home parents. I do however think you could benefit from reading on since you never know about what your children may choose to do and you may see another side of things.

Why is it that when we are young no one ever tells us that “hey one day you might have kids and if you do you might feel the desire to stay at home with them, and well, if you do it is OK and maybe even natural?” Seriously, did anyone ever say anything like that to you when you were growing up? If so, did you benefit from that? I certainly could have. No one ever even mentioned to me this possibility. I think that is kind of HUGE. This information may have influenced decisions I made educationally and otherwise. How about with you? If you are a stay at home mom who used to work outside of the home how do you feel about the importance of such information. And don’t get me wrong, I realize that the number of stay at home dads continues to rise but since I am a mom who once had a very successful career outside of my home I am interested in their thoughts. I am not discriminating though, if you are a stay at home dad who wants a share of voice please speak up too.

I was raised in a house where education was pretty much the most important thing in our lives. My dad was a physician (he is now retired) and therefore he and my mom placed a great deal of emphasis on academics, especially math and science. I can in no way say that my parents did anything wrong, it is just that my upbringing is very relevant to this post. I am also the oldest of four siblings and all three of my younger brothers are physicians or on their way to becoming physicians. I myself went to school for science and have a strong science background. Even in my career in the pharmaceutical industry I never thought in a million years that I would feel the way I started feeling when our second child was born. I had a drive for work that words cannot describe and coupled with my burning desire to be number one at what I did I was the best of the best. I was going to be CEO and nothing was going to stop me. Right? Wrong. I had children and everything about me changed. Ultimately money did not matter to me because although I tried to go back to work after Inara was born I only lasted 20 months. My heart was always at home. And it was not that I did not have good childcare as their grandmothers were the main ones in charge of them when I was working. It was that I literally ached not to be with my girls. I wanted to do everything with them and that desire only grew to the point that it finally outgrew the importance of money in our lives. My husband and I both wanted for me to stay at home with our girls so much that I just walked away from what was probably the best and most flexible job a mother could ever have to stay at home with my girls. I have not looked back since.

Was there a way for someone to be able to prepare me for these feelings? And if so then the next step would have been to consider a plan. Like perhaps looking at careers that mothers can have that might facilitate them being with their kids. For example, a woman can be a nurse and work a full weekend while hubbie is at home with the kiddos and then you trade during the week. Or like a career as a Physician’s Assistant which can allow you to pick and choose your times so you can literally work only a few hours a day while your babies are at a mother’s morning out or something. Even teaching school can be the perfect gig for a mother as you are at home when they are.

Just a thought. What do you think?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dads do Rock!

I really must tell you that I can be hard to live with. I know, I know you think I am a saint and as pure as an angel can be but believe you me I do have some faults. My husband and I met on November 14, 1998, the year I graduated from college. The short version of how we met is that we were set up. The long version is the subject for an entirely different post and perhaps a glass or two of wine. We got engaged after only 8 months of knowing each other. It was an indisputable case of what is commonly referred to as “love at first sight.” A year and a half later on May 27, 2000 we were married at the Georgian Terrace in Atlanta, GA where I grew up.

The last 9 years of our marriage have definitely had their ups and downs. Sometimes like a rollercoaster and other times like the smoothest ship you have ever sailed. None-the-less we always get through everything and wind up still loving each other. I think it is just that we were meant to be together. This becomes clearer to me daily. In 2006 we had our first daughter, Andira and then in 2007 (yes, I did say 2007) Inara was born. While the first six or so months are a blur now the products of them will amaze me daily until my time on earth ends. As will the evolution of Tyler (my husband) and our marriage.

Tyler married a woman who no longer exists. He fell in love with and married a head strong (that has not changed) and career driven woman who would stop at nothing to be the best at work and at driving her career to the topmost place possible. That woman was also driven strongly by earning potential and without a doubt worked for money – and wanted lots of it. Today I am not even sure who that was or what that felt like. What was once a tough career woman who knew not what inner peace was is now a mother who searches for the peace inside of herself daily and who would rather do nothing other than be with her children. Hi, I am Shazana. And through it all Tyler has not only stuck by me but he has pulled me up. During times of darkness and uncertainty he shined light into my soul and he is the reason for the wonderful life I have today. I don’t tell him that enough. He has worked countless hours and through many frustrations to build a web site for me to be able to share my interests of children, parenting, cooking, and much more with the world.

We often talk about what is wrong with our relationships but I wanted to talk about what is right. Very right. My husband is making my dreams come true. Not only has he built this site for me but he has also allowed me to give up my substantial income to be able to stay home with our girls. I find this the most unbelievable and courageous part about all of this. His (and my) once money driven existence has disappeared without a trace. The man sitting across the table from me right now is a man who has expressed his love to me and to his children through his unselfish actions and this has changed the way I look at him and at the world. He is willing to significantly reduce our household income in the name of two little girls who want to be with their mother. Is there a better definition of “father?”

We are all so blessed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let's Talk About Autism and Vaccinations

Both the spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ari Brown, and the Institute of Medicine have “definitively” denied any link between thimerosal (the preservative found in vaccines) or the MMR vaccine and Autism. They are citing 5 studies that have tracked thousands of children since 2001 and say that no link between the vaccines and Autism exists. I am well aware of the debate that goes on daily and my heart goes out to those parents who feel that the MMR vaccine or thimerosal are to blame for the state of their Autistic child. But I just can’t help but wonder how can we debate facts? Some say that the levels of mercury in the vaccines are nowhere near harmful and others claim that the levels are higher than what would be permissible by the EPA for adults. Who is correct? Both sides can be convincing. It is important to be able to look at the body of evidence available and then to make a decision based on what the facts show. If we do not vaccinate then we are at risk for disease so we really need to know if it is worth withholding the potentially lifesaving vaccines from the tender and helpless bodies of our babies.

My children were both vaccinated according to the schedule prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And schools require vaccination records before they will admit a child into their program. If you are one of the ones who have chosen not to vaccinate how do you get around this? And do those of us who have vaccinated our children want those unprotected children in the vicinity of our schools?

Believe me when I say that I know you are hurt. If I believed that vaccinations caused my girls to be Autistic I can’t imagine how hurt I would be. But I can’t help but wonder why, if studies have denied any link, and guidelines have remained the same, we are not looking at other possible causes. The Autism rate has been increasing over the last two decades so there is probably a cause somewhere out there. What if we are focusing on the wrong thing? Thimerosal has even reportedly been removed from most vaccines since 1999 but the rates of Autism continue to climb even despite this.

Should we look elsewhere?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kids Sure Can Make You Laugh!

So I was leaving my Daughters’ school this morning (The Montessori School) when behind me I heard a mother laughing. I turned around to see if she was laughing at me since I am sure the sight of me ducking to avoid the (very low) window so that my 20 month old would not see me leave was quite comical. It actually took her a minute and then she said “no, it was not you” when she caught her breath she continued “it’s my son, you see I have been watching him for the last 10 minutes and the teachers have been trying to get him to be quiet and settle down to listen to the story they are reading. Well, he finally does, after some convincing, actually settle down and now he is trying to tell the other children to be quiet!” We then both laughed at how silly our kids can be and I thought of so many times when my older girl tells my younger one that she is going to get put in “time out” if she does the thing that I just told the older one not to do. It is just so cute that you have to laugh. Like yesterday in Hallmark my 3 year old was speaking to a lady who was also shopping for cards and having quite a good conversation which made me smile and then she tops it off by saying “it was nice to meet you” when the woman starts to walk away. To hear a 3 year old say those words is just cute! By the time the other mother at school and I parted ways we had concluded that we would never laugh this hard if it were not for our kids.

What has your kid done to make you laugh lately?