Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Regrets

Kate over at One More Thing invited me to be part of a blog carnival, whatever that is. Today's topic is "Regrets." Since listing out the things in my life that I regret would send me down a dangerous path considering my current state, I'm going to list the things I don't regret. It seems a healthier option for me.

Moving to Austin
In August 1994, I helped drive B's then girlfriend's car (a really, really long story for another time) out to Austin. I spent two weeks here and absolutely fell in love with the city. I had decided not to extend my coaching contract at UF (another long story) and had no job and no real plans other than to move to my parents' house in Atlanta and pull myself together. Instead, I decided to move to Austin. Over Labor Day Weekend, B and I drove from Austin to Gainesville, loaded up my stuff, and drove back to Austin - we left Friday evening and were back Monday evening - I don't recommend such a trip. I've been here ever since.

Things were rocky at the start. I didn't have a job, so I was doing temp work and volunteer coaching for a local swim team, hoping it would turn into a job. I was also burning through savings at alarming rate. But just as I was about to throw in the towel and give up, I got a real job (not coaching, but hey, it was a job), and things started to turn around.

I have never regretted my decision to make a leap of faith to an unknown city and start from scratch. I believe pretty much everything good in my life right now - my husband, our kids, our friends - stems from my decision to move here.

Not running the 2000 Motorola Marathon
I had run the marathon in 1998 and 1999, and for the 2000 marathon I had been running with a great group and training under a coach. I had a spectacular racing season, including running a personal best half marathon by 12 minutes. I had done my last long run of 21 miles by myself and had survived it and the head games that came along with running alone for that long. I was ready to go, and if the stars aligned there was a chance of my qualifying for Boston. The stars did align, but for a different purpose. Seven days before the race I found I was pregnant. My OB gave me permission to run the marathon given that my body was in marathoning shape, and I spent several days going back and forth on whether to run. In the end, and much to my husband's relief, I decided not to run. Even though I still feel like I have one more marathon in me, I've never regretted not running that race. If I had, and something had happened to the baby who turned out to be Ella, I'd have spent the rest of my life regretting the decision.

Staying home full time
After Ella was born, I was able to arrange things at work so that I was in the office from 7-12 each day and then working from home in the afternoons. I loved the schedule. Ella was home with B in the mornings - he was coaching diving at that time and didn't need to go to the pool until after lunch - and home with me in the afternoons. I felt like I had the best of both worlds - time in the office with other adults and time at home with my baby. But when I was pregnant with Lily, we realized that the arrangement would no longer work with two kids. For one, B had changed jobs and even though he had flexible work hours, he was having a harder time being home in the morning. We knew that we wouldn't be able to afford child care for two kids. Also, I had begun some limited freelance work for the textbook publisher I still do work for, and that gave me hope that I'd be able to pick up work to supplement B's income.

Two months before I had Lily, I announced my intention to take a permanent maternity leave. The reactions of my coworkers were interesting. The women who worked full time and had kids in day care predicted I'd be bored and begging for my job back within six months. Coworkers of my parents' generation congratulated me on my decision to stay at home, saying that they or their wives had done the same thing and had loved it. Coworkers who were younger thought I was crazy. My beloved bosses just sighed, having known all along that it would come to this.

It's been six years now, and while there are days when I long to escape to an office, I have never once regretted the decision to stay home. And I've certainly never been bored. I do realize how fortunate I am to be able to stay home. I have a husband who's supportive, freelance work that keeps my brain engaged, and a community of other SAH moms who provide much-needed support and friendship.

There - three major things I don't regret. I'd write about more, but it has taken me an hour to get this far because of requests and interruptions from children and a crying baby, who is crying again.


calicobebop said...

I love the idea of writing about things you don't regret! What a great way to reflect positively on past decisions.

Cathy said...

great idea, and great list. I'm totally with you on #3--I don't regret staying home, although there are definitely days!!

Anonymous said...

Good for you...positive is healthy, or so I hear.

Sorry I was so late getting the ball rolling this morning... the combination of hypersomnia from increasingly bad depression (started Zoloft Monday, it can't work fast enough) and no kids in the house in the morning (E back at school after a sick day, J at a sleepover) led to me sleeping until almost 11:00. Not because I was tired and needed the sleep, but because I was just so desperate to stop thinking. Thinking hurts.

But, we're up and running, and I'm loving everyone's responses... definitely hoping to keep the "carnival" going, because it's good for me to feel that sense of responsibility and community and structure, at least once a week. And thanks very much for playing along.

Baino said...

Hi Heather . . actually not staying home with my kids (not my choice by the way) is something I didn't want at the time but in retrospect it's not worked out badly for them so that's one 'regret' I've been able to file under 'redundant'. My parents made the move with their young family from England to Australia in the 60's. They may have regretted it but we certainly didn't!

Jane said...

I've never regretted being home with the boys, enjoy almost every minute of it

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I like the "inverse regret" concept too. Enjoyed your post!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to frame this - we all too often think about the things we do regret, not the things we don't.