Writing is my passion. It is who I am.
I remember getting my first diary. It was a gift from my sister for my 10th birthday. I remember because I have this diary and every diary and journal after that first one. When I have read through the entries of my childhood diaries, I have realized that I remember the events described in the pages because I wrote them down.
Parenting and Work
When my oldest son was born, November 10, 1997, we had a plan in place. I would return to work full-time after a 12 week maternity leave and my husband would stay at home with him while he grew his business. I was able to return to work at 32 hours a week and remain fulltime. Before my son was born, this plan sounded great. I remember telling my co-workers that the father could be the primary caregiver as well as the mother. My plan was that once my husband’s business grew enough, I would reduce to part-time hours. In 1997, I could work “prn” and earn double my full-time hourly rate. It sounded so easy, I could work 20 hours per week (without benefits) and make same amount of money as I did working 40 hours.
Birth and Bonding
I had hoped for a natural birth but only took the hospital birth class and one offered by my NP at my OB-GYN office. I wound up being induced with an epidural but was so glad he was born without a c-section. I intended to nurse for 6 months because that was what was recommended by the AAP at the time. I was very happy to have a healthy baby boy yet boding with him took time. Parenting was a whole new experience for me. When he was 12 weeks old, I had to return to work. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do.
Motherhood and Parenting
Going back to work was so difficult for me. I was glad he was home with my husband when I went to work and I don’t think I could have left him otherwise. I wanted to be home full-time with my baby! Don, my husband, told me he would get a job so I could stay home. We had a plan. He had quit his job to be in business full-time for several reasons but a big one was because he wanted to be involved in his child’s life and be there. His previous job required regular travel. We both knew we wanted to raise our child and not have the child in day care. We shared the parenting experience and he worked when I was home. Yet, from that moment when I returned to work, my goal became to find a way to work from home.
Employment and Working from home
I remember researching working at home opportunities. All I remember about that is ordering some ribbons to make some bows for a company, but the ribbon was tiny and I never made any of those bows. It was 1997 when my first child was born and we had the internet because my husband wanted it for his business but I did very little on the computer back then.
My job changed dramatically in 1999 with the many healthcare changes that happened. I no longer had a job 4 miles from home working 3 full days and 2 half days. I had to drive to two different nursing homes, one 45 minute drive and the other a 90 minute drive and work in both each day to keep my job. My salary was cut by 15% and my benefits changed including less paid time off and higher healthcare costs. I did that for 9 months and managed to change my hours to working just 4 days per week and remained full-time but started job hunting. Because of the changes in healthcare, there were not many jobs to be found at the time.
In 2000, I found a new part-time job in home health care. I had more flexible hours and could do my paperwork from home. Moving from full-time work to part-time was a big jump. Also, having to manage my own schedule was a significant and challenging change for me. My income was half that year being part-time compared to full-time. (as a side note: when my husband quit his job to go full-time into his own business, ( because I pushed him to do so saying I could support us) our combined $100,000 income went to $50,000 that was 1996. When I returned to work in 1998 at only 32 hours per week, my income was $42,000). I share all these figures to truly paint the picture for you. We choose to live on less because being home with our child was more important to us than having a bigger house and a newer car. We were looking at moving to a new home in 2000 but because our lower-income, we had to suspend that plan. My husband’s business was slowly growing but I remained the primary breadwinner for some time.
An Idea Is Born
I attended my first LLL meeting when my oldest was 3 weeks old. I was looking for support with breastfeeding with returning to work. Being in the room surrounded by moms and babies and children, even nursing toddlers, was an eye-opener to me! I swore I would never nurse my baby past age one. Yet, being surrounding by attachment parenting moms was a new world for me. I can remember talking to a mom of a 3 month old. She worked as a nurse and worked nigh shift so she was home with her baby in the day. I can hear here saying something to the effect of, “aren’t they wonderful “(meaning the babys). I was still bonding with my baby and adjusting to motherhood at that stage. I know deep inside of me, my soul knew that this was the life for me.
My oldest, Harrison, developed a love for road signs at an early age. You can read more about this here. I became more involved in the attachment parenting world and learning from my son how to be a mother. From these two aspects, an idea was born. I envisioned a conscious parenting website and called it, “Mommy, Daddy, STOP”. My meaning in this name was “Mommy, Daddy, stop what you are doing and pay attention to me because I will be a baby and a child for a short period of time and spending quality time and quantity time with me is important. And stop reacting and just parenting the way you were parented, but consciously choose your words, actions and your method of parenting.” By this time, my husband’s business had morphed into a website business and he secured the domain name for me even before I started the website. I spend time writing about parenting and created a notebook full of ideas for my website. As I write this, I am picturing my notebook with colored pen marks and realize that I need to find this notebook!
Flash Foward to 2008
I finally created the site on the Ning platform with the help of my now 10-year-old son. And I created a homeschooling website on Ning as well. I was motivated to finally jump in and do this because my husband had lost his job August of 2008 when I was three months pregnant with our third child. Backing up…My husband sold his website business in summer of 2007 and then went to work full-time for the man/company he sold his business too. This was a wonderful opportunity for our family. We had regular income for the first time in years and I was able to not work outside the home for the first time in years. And it was what I was waiting for to even attempt to have a third child. I had my second child in 2002 after a year of attempting and one early miscarriage. I was working in home health care and was able to very slowly return to work when she was 8 weeks old. Literally working just 3 hours per week for several weeks before increasing to about 6 hours per week and slowly increased to an average of about 15 hours per week.
In 2008, creating a website on the Ning platform was free of charge. Ning is a platform for creating a social media website which was new and fresh at the time with the growing popularity of that big social media website, you know, Facebook. I also found work again, prn work as an OT at a local nursing home that summer without telling them I was pregnant. I needed to bring in some income while my husband rebuilt his business and before my new baby was born! I also poured my time into primarily my homeschool website thinking it would be the one to first bring in income, eventually. I had no initial plans for making money, I just knew the site would benefit the homeschooling community at a time when it was difficult to find out about homeschool support groups and area resources. I trusted in the universe that somehow over time, this pursuit would bring me income in order to be home full-time with my children. And I began posting articles on my Parenting site; the tag line for Mommy, Daddy, Stop was : consciously parenting our children, our parents, and ourselves.
Baby number three is born in 2009
I worked until mid December of 2008 and then went on unpaid leave. When you work prn, you don’t really “go on leave” you just don’t sign up to work any hours. He was due January 4 but my other two children were born before their due dates: 12 days prior and 4 days prior. Jason was born on January 8, 2009 in our kitchen, an elective home birth with a lay-midwife.Yes, that story is for another post. I remember getting called from a co-worker after a few months asking if I would be coming back to work. I told them I wasn’t ready to come back to work yet. We managed to live from savings and eventually credit because I wanted to be home full-time with my baby for at least a year. And I did not return to work until after he was a year old but our financial situation was demanding it and it was a crazy hard decision for me.