I can remember the exact moment that I knew that I had to be a stay-at-home mom. It was our first night home from the hospital after Katie was born. I had just tucked her in to her bassinet next to our bed and we couldn’t sleep because we couldn’t stop staring at her. I felt such peace and contentment at having my little family and thought that I might actually burst from the happiness inside of me.
Don’t get me wrong, I had been dreaming and plotting of quitting my job from the minute I found out I was pregnant, but it wasn’t until that first night at home that I knew that it had to become the reality of my life and not just the dream.
I am not one of those mothers who proclaims and demands that all mothers must stay home with their kids. I know there are some out there that would disagree and quote the bible at me and say that it is the purpose and duty of the woman to run the home and take care of the children. I don’t argue that for the most part, but I do think that it’s possible for mothers to do those things and hold down a job too. I’m not one of them, but they are out there and I applaud them for it. I think that as mothers, we all do what is best for our own families. At the same time though, I think that there are probably a lot of women out there that might want to be at home and think that there’s no way they can do it. And I just want to say that it’s easier (and harder) than you think. Ha! That was confusing right?
There have been times, especially when Brian was out of a job, that we had to accept help from others. There are times even now when we do. A lot of people think that if you have to have help, then you shouldn’t be living on one income, but I disagree. If occasionally accepting help from your family when times are lean allows you to be home and doing what you know your family needs and loves, then isn’t it worth it? And when you are in the position to help someone else and you do so without a second thought because you know, you’ve been there, you understand, it makes it all feel right in the end.
I can remember that first night home from the hospital and turning to Brian and saying “I want my face to be the last thing she sees when she goes to bed at night and the first thing she sees when she wakes up in the morning. I don’t someone else to watch her during the day. I want to be able to be with her all day, every day.” And I remember him saying that he wanted that too. That we would keep working towards getting there.
We didn’t get there until she was 18 months old. And fortunately my mom was able to keep her until then, which kept me appeased for those 18 months.
We had no idea the amount of sacrifice that is required when you give up an income that you are used to having. You’ve been used to living a certain way and buying certain things and then one day that is turned completely upside down and you are left trying to figure out how to make it all work. There were periods (and still are) where we wonder how we have done this for so long now. But we do and we are glad that we decided to make those sacrifices to keep me home.
There were people in our lives back then that thought we were crazy for doing what we did. There are some that still think that. But the thing that I know for sure is that it is the best decision we have ever made. When I look at my girls and see how close we are, how close they are with their daddy and how many things that we do together as a family that maybe initially we started doing because we couldn’t afford to do anything else, but are now things that we truly love and look forward to doing together (bike rides, picnics, playing in the yard together…etc, versus expensive family vacations, running out to the movies and out to eat every weekend, and shopping at the mall for the next latest & greatest thing that all the kids are going nuts over), I know in my heart that no matter the sacrifice it was the right decision.
Now with 3 weeks left until school starts and I find myself alone all day, I have lots of people asking me what I plan to do with myself. I know that people are surprised when I tell them that I hope to volunteer at the school a little bit and still plan to take care of my home and family full time. Some people even ask me why I’m not getting a full time job. The answer to that is very simple actually. My priorities are not changing just because I’m going to have more time on my hands. I will keep doing what I do now. I want to pick them up from school and bring them home and feed them a snack while they tell me all about their day. I want to have the time to take a walk with them in the evenings and not have to be running in the door, stressed from my day at work and then trying to slap dinner on the table in time for them to get their baths, do their homework and get to bed at a decent hour. I know that there are mother’s that can handle all of that with flying colors. In fact I know several. And their kids are happy and healthy. I also know that I’m just not one of those mothers that can do all of that and handle a full time job while keeping my sanity and not taking my stress out on my family.
I’m not saying that I’m opposed to a part-time job that would help bring a little money into the household. In fact, if I could get something part-time at the school, where I would only be working while they are in school, then I think I would welcome it.
I guess the reason for this post, the REAL reason, is that the closer the start of school gets, the more I find that I’m trying to get myself ready to cope with the fact that my babies, BOTH of my babies, will be gone from me all day. It gets one to thinking. Life is going to be a lot different around here. And hopefully cleaner! It won’t look very good on me if I’m home alone all day and the house is a wreck. There will be no one to blame it on in T-Minus 3 weeks! 🙂