I'm tired.

It's 9:30 pm.  I've been awake since 4:15, and up for the day since 6:15.  I'm tired.

But I don't complain. I will never complain.  I chose this job, I volunteered for it, I begged for it.

I could have kept working at my comfortable desk in my office with a view. I could have kept working to pay for the nanny, the housekeeper, the gardener, the boat.  But I chose to let all that go so that I could be home with my children. Some people I know would say that I made a big sacrifice to stay home with my children. I gave up so much. A sacrifice?  I don't think so.  I don't think living without a housekeeper or a yacht counts as sacrifice.  I think it counts as reality.  I chose to give up a lifestyle to live in the real world, to be a real mom with my kids, living the life that I wished for. All day, every day.

I know everyone's situation is different.  I know that working is not a choice for everyone.  But I started doing the math and realized how much of my income (basically, most of it) was going to pay for the lifestyle and the household help and the childcare.  And I couldn't in good conscious choose to do it any more. 

I was a little scared at first.  I knew I wanted to do it.  But could I do it?  Would I do a good job? Would I have enough patience? 

And you know what - I can do it.  And I'm really good at it. 

I love being a stay at home mom.  Love it.  I still use a lot of my corporate skills.  My days are filled with negotiating, planning, scheduling, brokering compromises, carefully thought out communications, making hard decisions that have a huge impact on the balance sheet.  Making hard decisions that have a huge impact on people's lives.  And at the end of the day, I don't walk out of corporate board rooms with even longer lists of deliverables, emails that come in too fast to answer, and executives that are never happy and never truly appreciate the work I do. I leave bedrooms with soft music and white noise and toy airplanes on the floor, I get hugs and kisses and begs for just a few more cuddles.  I get more appreciation and love than any paycheck could ever buy.

And so here I am. My boy is currently sleeping on a blow up mattress on the floor next to my side of the bed. (There's a whole other long story as to why that's where he's sleeping right now, but it's not even a slightly permanent situation, it's just for a couple of weeks.) He has a hard time sleeping some nights, so he was awake for the day at 4:15, and therefore so was I.  

I did laundry, 5 made breakfasts (I ate a few bites out of the pan, and drank some coffee on my way out the door), made lunches, got kids dressed, scooped a litter box and vacuumed up the mess, got dressed, supervised teeth brushing, made beds, took two to school and spent a little time in their classroom, took the other two for errands and shopping and lunch, came home, unloaded, frosted a birthday cake, did more laundry, popped popcorn, mediated a few 4 year old fights, got two off the bus, unpacked backpacks, supervised cake decorating, did more laundry, ordered pizza (it's Friday, my night off from cooking), served birthday cake, got 4 ready for bed, brushed teeth, put to bed, put on a meditation cd for 3 that were too wound up from cake, did more laundry, packed a ski bag, checked on all sleeping children, turned off the meditation cd, got more laundry out of the dryer, straightened up a little.  

Then I made a cup of tea and caught my breath.

It's going to end up at about a 16 hour day.  A little longer than usual - I'm usually working about 12 - 13 hours.  I used to work 8 or 9 hours. 

And now it's 9:52.  And I guess I'm tired. But I'm not complaining.  There's no other job I'd rather do, no matter how much you paid me.