Those words, by Winston Churchill recalling his days as a student, are inscribed on a sculpture at the Hub of Miami University. I spent five years there in Oxford, earning my undergrad and graduate degrees in accounting. I learned even more outside of the classroom, meeting friends that have already lasted me over a decade. While my days there lived up to the idea of such a life, my days since have been even more cherished.
I never spent my days dreaming of children like some women do. I wasn't into babysitting and baby dolls and baby anything. I spent my days dreaming about my success as an accountant. Even though I assumed children would be part of my life, part of my family (with the standard husband, kids, house, dog and white picket fence) I also assumed I'd be a working mom, dropping off at daycare each morning on the way to my wildly successful corporate career.
I started off on the way to my dream, moving to Boston, settling into my career as a CPA, meeting an amazing man and buying a cute little house. We even added two dogs to complete the American Dream. Then the kids arrived and threw me for a loop. The logistics of my career require long hours, which daycare doesn't cover. The logistics of Ryan's career require months out to sea, which daycare also doesn't cover. I couldn't quite get the hang of finishing my work by the time I had to leave to pick up Pete from daycare and I couldn't quite figure out how we would ever have time together as a family. I was working a tax season while Ryan was in port and then I had time off in the summer while he was out to sea. So I quit to stay home with my first baby when he was about nine months old. I assumed this would be a break for three to four years until he entered pre-school and I could get my "life" back.
After getting over the bored to death feeling, and learning to cook and bake from scratch- it's easier on the budget of a single income family, I decided that if I were going to be a stay-at-home-mom, I was going to REALLY be a stay-at-home-mom. So we had two more boys, all three of them in under four years. And now, I can honestly say I'm having fun. Of course there are many challenges like frustrating days and sleepless nights, but I can actually say the satisfaction I get when Chester pees in the potty is equal to the joy I used to feel when I tied out a FAS 109 footnote. I really never thought I would feel this way, but I do, and if I can enjoy motherhood, I'm pretty sure anyone can.
Recently I considered ordering a hand-crafted sign common in military families- "Home is where the Coast Guard sends us" followed by a listing of all the places Ryan has been stationed. But now that I think about it, I'd rather have a sign that says "To think that in such a place, I led such a life".