Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To be, or not to be?

And the answer for me is: To be a stay-at-home mom.

I have a confession to make, one I hope that doesn't offend anyone. Before I had children, and maybe even after Kennedy was born, I thought stay-at-home moms were lazy. I had this horrible misconception that these ladies were sitting on their behinds, allowing their children to watch television all day and night, all while I was busting my butt at a job, cleaning house, cooking supper and running my child to and from various activities.

Fast forward to 2006 when Preston is born. I had to make the tough decision to go back to work or stay home. I cried as I searched for child care and declared I wasn't going back to work, but I couldn't let go of my pride and three months after he was born, I went to work. I quit that job soon afterward to, in my mind, compromise and find something that allowed me to spend more time with my children while contributing to our household income. I did find something - a job at the local college, where I had a schedule that allowed me, at first, to be off each Friday, and the last couple of years I adjusted my hours so I could leave early and pick up my children from school and run, run, run them to their respective activities.

When I became pregnant with Bennett, Ryan and I were faced with the reality that child care expenses for three children and the time I would need to spend away from home to complete my job at a level with which I would be satisfied, wasn't worth the extra income. And this month, I turned in my notice at the college where I worked for five years.

I can't begin to explain to you the relief and joy I felt from this decision, which certainly wasn't an easy one for me. I blame growing up with a single mom, but until I had children of my own, I never aspired to be a stay-at-home mom. I pride myself on my independence and the thought of not contributing to our household income has always bothered me. And I will admit, I have always had big goals for myself and for my career, that I have yet to reach and may never fulfill. This has often been a source for disappointment for me and has caused me to ask myself on many occasions (only with regards to my career), "Why can't you do any better than this? Aren't you smarter than this?" Oh, and I thought that staying at home was me being lazy (I chew on those words every day - I'm more tired today than any day I spent at my desk).

It wasn't until last year while having a conversation with my friend, Sara, that I came to realize what is truly important and that maybe the goals I set for myself aren't exactly the goals that God has for me. I was telling her about how each time I plan to further my education (i.e., return to college for a graduate degree), I find out I'm pregnant. Her response to me was something like, "maybe this is God's way of telling you that your job is to be a momma."

{Gulp.} What? Just a momma? For the past year I have thought about our conversation numerous times. It has taken me a while, but I now realize that this job, my position as a stay-at-home mom, is exactly the one for which I have been searching. Once I gave up my pride as a do-it-all, working mom (at least I tried to do it all), I have found this to be my most fulfilling role yet. It feels so good to be the one teaching life's lessons to my children, changing my baby's diapers, providing meals (and not McDonald's, much to Preston's disappointment) and cleaning my own home (seriously ... sort of).

Today I find myself extremely thankful for the opportunity to be at home with my children. I am grateful for my conversation with Sara, and for Ryan, who realizes just how important it is for me to be with our children. And I share all of this with you, why? Because I am sure there will be days that I will need a reminder of just how grateful I am and should be.

1 comment:

  1. Love the blog! Found it through the Newmans....I totally understand your feelings.Those precious children will love having their momma home- GREAT idea for the menu blog btw. Will follow it and throw some menu ideas your way! :-) Lindsay