Just the other day I was at the park playing with my kids, when another mom struck up a conversation with me. We exchanged the normal pleasantries about our kids, their ages, interests, etc. I asked her if she worked outside her home of if she was a stay at home mom.
“God no, I don’t stay at home with my kids. I would blow my brains out or die of boredom. So where do you work?”
Uh, I’m a stay at home mom. So thanks for that.
I am aware that staying at home is not a financial option for many families. Believe me, I know. When our first was born and we gave up my paycheck it was tight. Really tight. And now with two kids under the age of 3, our budget is still tight. Our carpets are fraying at the entrance to the dining room, half the doors in our house are a different color than the other half, we painted the cabinets in our kitchen but then ran out of money to buy the knobs, our cars are old, our backyard isn’t landscaped, our kids don’t typically wear new to them clothes, my wardrobe is sorely lacking, and we don’t go on vacations every year.
I am fully aware of the hit my career is taking. I have a B.A., and an M.A., taught college classes and was self-employed as a consultant before our kids were born. I know that every day I stay home with them is less earning potential in the future.
But I would argue that in the long run, those things don’t matter. I could recite all the sentimental crap about wanting to be around for my kids first steps and first words and yada yada yada.
But that’s not why I stay home.
Five short years from birth, our kids head off to kindergarten. For me, that’s just one and a half years away for my oldest (Sob. Hold me.). And right now, I am the world to my 3.5 year old. He hangs on my every word, believes everything I say, imitates my every behavior, and listens when I speak. His mind is a little sponge soaking up everything he hears and sees. And for the first 5 years of his life, I get to be the primary voice that fills his head. The second he steps into his kindergarten class, I am no longer the primary one he learns from. His days will then be filled with words from his teachers, friends and classmates. It’s not a bad thing – I welcome that day and look forward to what he will learn from the world around him.
But the thing is, if I get to be the primary voice in his head for the first 5 years of his life, I want it to count. I want to soak up every second with him that his little mind will hold, so that when he does go to kindergarten, it will be with the full confidence that I have filled his mind to the brim with our family values, faith and friendship.
I know there is an argument that kids need to see their parents work, so that they know the value of hard work and can see their parents succeed at their dreams. But why do they have to see their mom succeeding at a paid job? Why can’t they see their moms succeeding at staying home, raising kids and investing in the future generation?
I am not saying that it is an easy job that I enjoy every day (heck, I didn’t even enjoy my paying job every day!); just the other day I met my husband at the door when he walked in and told him I was leaving for the evening and wouldn’t be home until the kids were in bed (can I get an amen?). This stay at home mom business is hard, and at times I question my decision.
But I always come back to wanting to know that I invested every moment I could with my kids before I am no longer the primary voice in their heads. I want it to count. I don’t want any regrets. And for my family, it just works for me to stay at home. I won’t forever and it won’t define me. But for now, for this short season, this is my job. Once our youngest starts school, I will undoubtably go back to work. I love my former career and knew I wouldn’t be stepping away from it forever. But for now, for this short season, this is my job.
*This is just the opinion of one Dallas Moms Blog writer. I know every family and situation is different. This is just how it works for our family. I know that happy, well adjusted and moral kids can come from homes where both parents work. This is just the rationale and decisions for our family.*