1. Don’t live in Iowa.
2. Don’t become a teacher.
3. Don’t be a stay-at-home mom.
This “Don’t” list has since become the “Do’s” that define my life — and I couldn’t be happier about it.
An Illinois native, I started grade school in San Diego, earned a degree at Loras College in Dubuque, and finished grad school in my dream city of Chicago. A long-distance and winding relationship led to marriage and a move to Des Moines, capital city of the very state I’d sworn to avoid in any permanent capacity. Why? No good reason. This city is amazing: small enough to get around easily, big enough for a wide range of opportunities, nice enough for my family to flourish. Our home is here.
Teaching high school English was too obvious for an English major, too familiar, too boring for a good story. Then I tried it. And fell in love. I continued teaching for eight years until my husband and I entered a world I/we knew absolutely nothing about – parenting.
I’d watched my friends enter motherhood gracefully and maintain a work/life balance seemingly without breaking a sweat. I intended to do the same. Even after meeting our son and enjoying an extended maternity leave thanks to summer break, my intention remained. I grappled with this “balance,” through illness and sleeplessness and daycare indecision and the day-to-day of life with kids and career.
Two and a half years later, our daughter was born on Christmas Day and we decided that even a teacher’s calendar didn’t offer enough time off with these two hilarious, challenging, extraordinary little beings. I left my job and entered the emotionally rewarding tumult of stay-at-home parenting, with all of its financial challenges, confidence beatings, and unadulterated joy.
Troy is my husband, Jonah and Gwendolyn are my kids, and Beaverdale is my new hometown. We are library lovers, parks and recreation explorers, bedtime battlers, and half-birthday aficionados. We are blessed.
I no longer have a “Don’t” list, at least not knowingly. My “Do” list changes daily and depending on the amount of caffeine in my system. I greatly look forward to exploring it in service of Des Moines Moms, a wonderful place for encouragement and perspective. One of the few constants in recent life has been the importance of community, and the sanity provided by fellow moms of all ages.
Here’s to expanding that community!