Hi! My name is Kali Tunstall. When introducing myself, I find that I need to divide myself into two parts; the Kali before baby, and the Kali after. Before my baby was born, I was working as a School Psychologist in the public school system. I loved my job and devoted my life to helping children. The most important things in my life were my husband, my family, my dog, and my three cats. This is how I would have introduced myself three months ago.
Now, as I am writing this, I feel so different about how to introduce myself. I am Beckett’s mom. I love being Beckett’s mom. The most important thing in my life is Beckett. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my husband, family and animals. I still care about the well-being of children other than my own, but everything in my life has shifted in a way I never thought it would. It is like a section of my heart opened up that I hadn’t been using before.
If you asked me three months ago how long I was taking for maternity leave (which many people did) I would have said 9 weeks. I felt that was long enough to get settled and get back to my job that I loved. All my life I had wanted a career. I went to grad school for four and a half years to become a school psychologist. I had my dream job, in a county I had worked so hard to be hired in. I had the life I wanted.
Then Beckett was born, and everything was different. I fell so in love with him, and I fell hard. I would hold him and think, “I only have 9 weeks with him. How can I put him down? I need to spend every second with him that I can.” As the weeks went by, this feeling didn’t fade. I started talking with my husband about finances and whether we could afford for me to take a few weeks unpaid. Could we extend my leave just a little longer? He saw how important it was to me, and agreed to 12 weeks. Still, this wasn’t enough. My husband knew it, and I knew it. So we decided (after some serious number crunching) to delay my going back to work until July (when my modified year-round school would start back). Beckett would be 7 months. For now, that is the plan. Maybe. In the meantime, we are sticking to a very tight budget, trying to pay off some of my student loans, and watching our bank account to see if we can really manage all of our expenses on one income.
So that’s me. In a seriously quick, this is where I am in my life right now, summary.
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