Choosing to Stay Home

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READING TIME: 4 min.

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.

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My loves and I at a wedding this fall.

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 was trying to read a daily devotional app on my phone. That lasted for approximately 30 seconds. Note that neither of my kids are dressed and there is a giant mound of laundry behind me.
I was trying to read a daily devotional app on my phone. That lasted for approximately 30 seconds. Note that neither of my kids are dressed and there is a giant mound of laundry behind me.

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.*

4 COMMENTS

  1. Laura you are absolutely right! Oftentimes moms who think “they’d go crazy if they had to stay home” are the first ones who park their kids in front of electronic babysitters or have no idea how to have a conversation with their child. I am a SAHM by choice and my sister works FT. She constantly asks me to move closer to her (Florida) so I can stay home and watch her kids too, like I’m a daycare provider! Sadly, when she is off from work, she is usually too tired to do much with her own kids and craves quiet reading, alone time, or tv– like the rest of the world!
    Life is all about choices. I could choose to work and have money to shop more often or I can choose to go without another purse or outfit for the freedom to be able to wake up with my kids and not HAVE to rush them out the door everyday. To be bld to watch the understanding in their face when they finally get how the puzzle fits together and want to put it together over and over again. And to find that next challenge for them as their minds and hearts grow. I choose to be a part of that everyday- not just be the one who paid for the outfit they wore that day by working!

  2. Melissa, isn’t it such a gift to stay home with our kids? I mean today I want to pull my hair out from all the arguing, but I know we are just detoxing from all the holiday craziness 😉 I am so grateful that I had the choice to stay home with my kids, when many moms do have to work to pay their bills. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. 23+ years ago, after I had returned to my electrical engineering job for 2 weeks, after having taken off 10 weeks of a paid and unpaid maternity leave, I decided that I couldn’t leave my firstborn with someone else to raise. I made the decision to stay home and continued to do so for a number of years. I only started working part-time when our third child was about 3. I never did return to full-time work. We chose to homeschool for awhile and then for 12 years our children attended a university modeled school which requires tons of parent involvement especially on their home satellite days. Yes, it was hard, especially the first year. Yes, we had to sacrifice, but what we sacrificed was not what we would consider important. I wouldn’t trade any of my time with the kids for the world. We just sent the baby off to college in August and our oldest moved out of the house for good and is an officer in the Air Force. I quite enjoy the people my kids are going into and I firmly believe that the sacrifices we made and the time we poured into them was the best choice for us.

    I’m just writing this as one who is on the other side looking back. Hang in there mom. It truly is worth it!

    • Thank you Laura and Jenny. Jenny, we have chosen a similar path with a university model school. And Laura, you named every undone thing around our house…varied paint colors on trim, no landscaping in the backyard, etc. Good to hear others are in the same boat for the same reasons!

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