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Teetering on the Edge of the High Dive

 This post is written by guest contributor April Conway.  April is a Reno resident who grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Besides her intimate knowledge of Santa and all things cold, she currently toils away in unflattering camoflague as a human resources officer at the Nevada Air Guard, introduces her Girl Scout Troop to new endeavors, concurrently eating a lot of cookies, and desperately tries to find time to moisturize. She’s lived on or traveled to all seven continents and firmly believes that dust and mud from each of those is still embedded in her carpet. April is a wife to Cotter (yeah, it’s a family name) and mother to two school-aged children, a near deaf dog, two cats who understand use of the litter box and one with irritable bowel syndrome who doesn’t. When that doesn’t keep her busy enough, don’t ask how much she’s invested in carpet cleaning, there are also two frogs who happily inhabit her house. She also slightly freaks out when the other April posts to RMB, thinking to herself, “Oh my gosh! What did I write and post while I was tipsy last night?”

An enormous weight has been lifted off me. I feel as though I can breathe deeply. Deeply for the first time sinceThe Ellen Show debuted. Not the Ellen Degeneres Show, the one before that! I recently gave notice and tendered my resignation from a job I’ve loved since 2001. I still feel ebullient. Tired, but ebullient.

In the 14 years I’ve worked there, I’ve had two kids and went to war, two things that require many of the same negotiation and tolerance qualities. I’ve gone to graduate school, moved to two new houses and had four offices. I’ve buried two cats, three dogs and one unfortunate hamster. I’ve experimented with blue eye shadow. A LOT has happened.

I’ve also missed school plays, birthdays, field trips, holidays and more. I’ve packed shitty lunches, failed to return library books on time, let my kids skate out of homework I was too tired to help with and ignored my husband in favor of a precious few minutes snuggling with my kids before they went to bed.

I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. I always liked working and still do. I can be an excellent employee and an excellent mom, but those two things never happen on the same day. Someone always loses. I found my eight year-old eating plain oats out of a canister with a spoon the other day and when I asked why, she said, “There’s no food.” A cursory glance in the pantry and refrigerator revealed her truth.

I can’t be the mom and wife I want to be in the approximately 3 hours a night I see my family. So I’m taking the plunge. Like from the highest diving board. It’s scary up here.

We’re fortunate, I know, to be able to live on my husband’s salary. It will be tight, we’re losing 40% of our income, but we’ve figured out how to make it happen. For a few years at least. I think.

I’ll stay working for the Nevada Air National Guard as a traditional airman, working one drill weekend a month and two weeks throughout the year, and I’ll definitely have to go back to full-time work at some point, but the opportunity to stay home for even a little while is enticing. I envision my house being spotless, serving healthy meals and having the kids run home from the bus stop into my waiting arms.

In my fantasy I’m also wearing a super cute shirtwaist dress, patent leather heels and a headband, the smell of baking cookies fills the house.

It will likely look very different from that scene when it finally happens. I know I’m more likely to be in slippers and pajamas at 3:45 p.m. and who am I kidding, I’ll eat most of the cookie dough before it gets into the oven, but I’m ready. I’m ready to leave the worry and stress of the 9 to 5 behind.

January 16 is my last day of work, and it can’t come soon enough.

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  1. I love this post, thank you for sharing. I always feel like I’m never 100% good at either job: my job or my family and as you said, 3 hours a night isn’t enough. I love how you captured everything. Good luck in your new adventure and I hope you enjoy!

  2. Jessica Santina

    Man, I totally relate right now. I just got to see my daughter for 10 minutes, and that was all I’ll get for the rest of the day today, and it wasn’t very good, so now I’m sad. It’s my last night of working (final night of a class I’ve been teaching) and cannot wait to get my life back. 🙂 Good luck with your plan and enjoy the time!

  3. What a beautifully written and funny post. Thank you. I took the same plunge three weeks ago. It was a long ass fall and totally worth it. My best wishes to you and your family.

  4. I was able to stay at home and raise my kids, I often felt guilty for not helping financially, things were really tight most of the time, but we made it. I often felt inferior around those who had jobs. My kids are grown with kids of their own now. Those were difficult years But i am so glad i was there for every part of their lives. I I knew their friends, I helped in their classes so i knew the kids that gave them problems too. I was a homemaker i would cringe at that title then. I think that is a beautiful title now. I am still a home maker though my kids are grown. I consider myself support staff to my husband. Caring for him to make it easier for him to focus on earning the money. It works for us and its worked for 28 years we are a team and always have been. Being a homemaker is far from glamorous and rarely looked upon with much respect, but what could be sweeter than making the place you all live together a family home.

  5. Over the past 10 years of our friendship, I have watched you with the utmost respect. I look forward to celebrating, supporting, and encouraging you on this new journey.

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