Case of the Stay-At-Home.
I've actually been thinking about this post for a long time now because a few of you reached out to me awhile ago. This title was created on January 1, 2018.
With the realization that Niti and I were heading toward divorce, it made me think about my value. Not that I wanted to think about it in that way or that he ever questioned it, but it crept up in the back of my head. My worth. What the sum of my life has amounted to. While being a mom will always be the most fulfilling thing in my life.. as a stay-at-home mom, legally, it doesn’t always mean much. I had nothing to my name.
People would warn me that he could screw me over if he really wanted to. That there are so many ways to move assets etc etc. That I need to protect myself. That he could leave me with nothing. I got where they were coming from, but it didn’t really matter to me. I know my children’s father would never do that to me. Or to our kids. It’s not the kind of person he is. And I didn’t need any of “this.” I’m not going to stake a claim in something I didn’t build/dream/create. Everything either of us do will reflect on our children one day.. we value them over anything/everything.
All of the things going on, all of the thoughts in my head, and all of the outside opinions.. were a lot. It’s exactly why I wrote “Worth” in 2016.
“Do you work?”
”What do you do?”
In short, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since 2006.
I started this account as a paper flower business and it grew so much more than I expected (I archived all of those posts on Instagram, but the DIYs are still up). Then, I quit and it evolved. The major reason why I stopped: Olivia was getting social anxiety. Everyone was a stranger to her (even family and friends) and she was getting so clingy. Today, she is such a social butterfly. She’s not shy at all when it comes to making new friends. She still has stranger danger if she doesn’t know an adult (which I prefer even if some might deem her rude for not responding.. or she won’t even look at them).
I dropped out of college 3x. The first time was essentially a full ride. I took my privilege for granted. At the same time, I wanted to raise my son. Some people can do both.. I couldn’t. Coming where I come from.. experiencing what I have.. I needed to be the one home with my child.
I guess blogging and social media is a job (I don’t make much at all because I’m not consistent… props to the ones that have grown theirs and created a living out of it because it is truly amazing), but I haven’t fully committed. Meethaha is my creative and personal outlet. I have reservations regarding the whole social media thing too (but that’s another story), which is why I’m open to sharing the deep stuff too. I’m a person, not a brand.
That question parlays into: How do you afford your lifestyle? And closet-related stuff.
In short, my children’s father (Niti).
I know people have asked me to share more photos of my closet and what not.. but I’m not sure how to separate the love of it without coming off as pretentious. I can talk for days about the materialistic stuff. I can obsess over history, heritage, and craftsmanship knowing that it’ll all be Olivia’s one day (Niti appreciates that aspect too). …But I feel like I didn’t earn any of this. I didn’t have to work for it. This is in no way my definition of “goals.”
I’m a 30-something, not legally divorced, college dropout who doesn’t work. We can (and do) joke about that.. but real talk:
I don’t know the value of hard work. I never learned to take care of myself. It didn’t even hit me until the past few years. I spent the last decade plus being a mom. I had to grow up while being a mom. I love my kids more than anything in this world, but I never gave myself a chance to... discover myself. I’ve never learned to be me outside of any of it. Apparently, my best friend and Niti foresaw this existential crisis coming one day, but it hit me like a train overnight. I am learning.. To take care of myself and to find myself apart from being someone’s daughter, family, friend, wife, co-parent, mother. I do have ideas whirling in my head, but I don’t want to speak on them until I make it happen (if or when I make it happen).
And that usually leads to Niti:
I met him in 2004 and he’s taken care of me better than any one else in my life ever has. Not meant to be a jab to any parent/parental figure in my life, but it’s just the truth.
We were/are very different. Aside from parenting (for the most part), we clash a lot. We think differently, talk differently, need differently. We were not a team. We did not make each other better people. We were not good together, but we can be good parents together.
Niti says I’m too hard on myself in all aspects of life. He says I deserve the world because what I’ve given him is priceless and what I’ve done for our kids is invaluable.
I will take credit for emphasizing that he needs to spend time with his kids. With the “if you build it, they will come” mentality in regard to the family businesses (restaurants). Growing up, his parents spent more time at their restaurants than at home. That’s just the way it is in the mom-and-pop restaurant world. I didn’t want to raise kids that way and neither did he. It forced him to figure out a way to build successful businesses and still make it home to hang out with the kids, help them with homework, or take them outside (all made possible by finding a great partner + team.. I don’t partake in the businesses, but I’ve witnessed the behind-the-scenes. There’s so much more I can speak on this, but overall, he values his people and they created a thriving work environment).
It makes people wonder that I can speak of him in this way, but we’re not together. Because.. he’s a good person and a good dad. Issues and all, I have never lost sight of that.
2. “You’re so brave traveling the world with the kids.”
3. “How is your house always so clean?”
Comments and comparisons like this have always made me feel uneasy. A lot of Instagram is edited, filtered, and probably micro-managed. Everything you see that looks effortless.. is nothing but. It’s a fraction of our lives that we choose to share. I’m a hot mess; on the inside more than the outside (which makes it harder to see).
1. Parenting is hard. Really, really hard. Half of the time, I feel like I’m failing. It’s easy to show the good stuff, but the other stuff.. it’s difficult to put into words because of the conflicting emotions attached. Maybe we don’t want to admit it. Maybe we’re still working on it. Maybe we prefer it to be behind closed doors. Whatever it is, the experience is what makes us want to be better parents. To learn.
With Bubba, we went through a rough patch that I’ve never discussed on here (or with many people in my circle). I’ve mentioned that going from 1 to 2 kids was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. Olivia relied on me so much and Niti and I weren’t in sync. Slowly but surely, we started to lose some connection. I had him for 7 years before he had to share me. That first year with two kids was not my best, despite all the good stuff (in retrospect, I’m pretty sure I was going through PPD).
Right now, I feel like I have a better understanding of Olivia, whereas I think Niti has a better understanding of Bubs. It makes me walk through our past/present and consider all the ways we need to work on our relationship and our communication. It’s because of Nathaniel that I became a better mother by the time I had Olivia.
PS. My kids have a love/hate relationship with each other and it drives me nuts.
2. I don’t. I have never ever gone out of the country alone with a kid. Niti has been on every single international trip. We want to travel the world with our kids. We still want to share experiences with our kids.
3. I love to organize.. but I don’t love to clean. We have a biweekly housekeeper. She’s awesome and she’s meticulous. The kids and I do clean before she cleans. I feel like they should be responsible for picking up their toys/books/clothes. Bubba’s chore is dishes so he’s responsible for that. What she does is the deep cleaning. She says we have the cleanest house she cleans. Clutter and messes itch my eyes.
4. See all of the above.