Out here in the ‘burbs, it’s easy to feel a little bit out of the loop. So I’m very glad to be participating in this project, which will allow me to do something other than chase the baby around in an attempt to make sure he doesn’t kill himself before Daddy comes home. Some days this is more difficult than others.

Actually, this week has been relatively easy because of the mild weather we’re (finally) having. The baby and I have been outside much of the time, walking around downtown and eating junk food–I introduced him to sour cream and onion chips yesterday. There’s a park by the train station, which is great because he can swing and slide and watch the Metra trains come by at the same time. We also went to our usual Gymboree class and tried a trial class at Little Gym, which is more fitness-centered than Gymboree.

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and as such I’m steeped in the minutiae of little lives: trying to make sure my 21-month-old eats enough vegetables, trying to coordinate babysitters’ schedules with mine, trying to figure out the difference between daycare and preschool, trying to cater to my son’s Wiggles obsession without going mad. Trying to remember that once, I had a life and a job and an identity that was separate from that of being Mommy.

I used to be an entertainment journalist. After a stint with a magazine company whose inner politics resembled “The Devil Wears Prada,” I gave up writing about meaningless topics like Britney Spears’ lip gloss and started a pet-sitting company. I didn’t have to be on the phone with publicists and every client was always tail-waggingly happy to see me. Though I never imagined I would be the type of woman who’d be happy staying at home 24/7 with her kid, it was more cost-effective to close the business when he was born. So here I am. And here I’ll stay.

I wouldn’t change my life, despite occasionally feeling left out when my husband goes off to a music festival with my best friend or when I have to miss a movie because the babysitter’s sick. My existence is full of tradeoffs like that. On the other hand, I never missed a moment of my baby’s development. I was there for his first steps, his first five hundred times calling “Mommeeeeee!” and the first time he thrust a Wiggles CD at me to buy while we were at the bookstore. I have to say that, when all is said and done, being a mom at home is infinitely more rewarding than wrangling yet another interview with the pop star of the week.

Helen, 34 in Glenview, Illinois, USA

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