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Working Mom's Musings: Sure, life brings changes, but it's your life

We are right in the middle of the holidays. All presents have been unwrapped and the new year's on the horizon.

Change is in the air. People are thinking of the ways 2012 is going to be better.

2011 was a tough year for many.

The economy has yet to improve. Many are out of work. Our politicians seem bent on further dividing our nation.

A new year always comes with a promise of change and prosperity.

This year I started my new-year change early.

I've just finished my first week at a new job here at the Journal. I've been a stay-at-home mom the past 10 years, so this was a big change.

I worried about how this would affect my daughters.

How would my two-year-old, Leila, survive without Mom around?

How would my older daughters, Calla and Elena, get all their homework done without me there? Would they need me or, worse yet, would they not need me?

Change is not something most people are comfortable with -- me included. But change is inevitable.

So I took on this new adventure. But there have been bumps along the way.

On my first day of work, Leila decided she should come with me. She did her best to argue her case (screaming), and she was still pouting as I walked out the door. The second day she thought she'd outsmarted me: She hid my lunch, hoping I would have to stay home.

To her dismay, Mom prevailed. Grabbing my lunch from under a pile of doll clothes and teacups, I kissed her goodbye and dashed outside.

By day three she was starting to realize that maybe this wasn't such a bad thing. With Mom away she was free to boss Grandpa around.

Days four and five found her more whiny and clingy.

The older girls had an easier time adjusting. Their concerns over not seeing Mom after school have subsided.

The older ones are still unsure if "Working Mom" will replace "Mom the Event Planner," but they've been supportive nonetheless.

Everybody in our house seems invigorated by the new change.

The girls are helping out more; my husband makes me lunch every day; and everyone is getting used to new routines.

I know these things may revert to old form. When the newness wears off, things could slip back to a new normal.

Still, this change has invoked some optimism for my family, some hope for the future.

Embracing change has allowed my family to see that we make a great team. Best of all, my daughters can see that even though Mom has to go to work, she always comes home at day's end.

Our new change has also allowed a changed perspective for me.

For myself, I see a women capable of doing more than changing diapers and wiping snotty noses.

For my husband, I see a man who will stay up until the wee hours of the morning baking cookies and making fudge so that I don't feel like I have to "do it all."

For my parents, I see people who love my family and me so much that they give up 32 hours a week to watch a rambunctious toddler.

Finally, for my girls, I see a strength that I had no chance to observe before.

They still need me, but new circumstances have allowed them to grow and for me to see that, "Yeah, I am doing a good job raising them."

Not everyone in my life has been as accepting of the change, but that's to be expected.

Change is scary, not always a good thing. But thinking back, even some changes that I thought were for the worst turned out to be just what I needed.

In 2008 I suffered a miscarriage. At the time I lost all hope that things would get better.

I decided to go out on a limb and apply for a freelance job with the paper. Eventually that led me here to the Journal.

Our tragedy was a blessing in disguise. Had this horrible thing not happened we would never have had our third daughter.

Now I can't imagine life without her.

My point? If at first a change seems negative, wait a while. Something positive may result.

You may not see it right away, but it's there, around the corner.

So with the start of a new year upon us, make a resolution to change something. Get a haircut, dye your hair a new color. Grow a beard or mustache. Drive a different way to work. Buy something you never would normally wear, even if you only wear it around the house.

If you're looking for a job, try opening a business. Go back to school.

If you're dissatisfied with your job, explore other options.

You can change something, be it big or small. Change will give you a new outlook. Embrace the change. It's going to happen anyway.

And last...Don't give up. Have hope!

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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