The other day I ran into a friend of mine on the street. We first met many years ago when our children were in elementary school. We started talking and catching up on things. She told me about her boys and I told her about my girls. Even though all four kids are in their twenties, we are still stay at home moms. We both had college educations and careers, but once we had children, raising them took precedence over everything else. We were lucky that we were financially able to stay home. It was a conscious decision on both our parts, to give up the extra pay check and many luxuries in order be home with our kids. We had made that decision before we even had children.
Being a stay at home mom is not for everybody. Some women would rather work and some have to work to support their families. All I know is I made the right decision for me and I wouldn’t trade one minute of raising my children for anything. I was always a hands on Mom. Before my children started school, they were with me practically 24/7, unless I had to do something, and then I would leave them with my mother. I hugged and kissed them all day, we talked, we played together, we planned holiday activities, I read to them…there was time for everything. I went to mommy and me classes with them. I took them to ballet and Girl Scouts. I drove them to school every morning and kissed them goodbye. I was there waiting in the schoolyard when they came out at the end of the day to drive them home. When they were sick, I was home to care for them until they were well. When they had class trips, I would volunteer to go along and chaperone. I helped out at school when the teachers asked. I oversaw their homework and made sure they did their best in school. I arranged play dates with their friends at home and elsewhere. I paid attention to the friends they had. We always had dinner together. We had a lot of family time on the weekends taking day trips and visiting grandparents. And, we managed to take family vacations every summer.
Once I resigned from my job, after my one year maternity leave, I never looked back, never had a moment of regret, never missed it. I was where I was destined to be, at home with my children. I never thought about what the extra money from my paycheck could mean for my family. I never looked at the sacrifices we had to make as that a big deal. Sure we could have had a much bigger house, better cars, and a lot more things and money. But we never missed what we didn’t have. As far as I was concerned, we had everything.
My friend said to me that many people have said to her, “Look at the sacrifices you are making by being a stay at home mom.” She said she answers them, “You are the one making sacrifices,” by not being home with your children in order to earn a pay check. I have to agree with her. We may have less money by staying home, but we have so much more time with our children. I have loved every minute of it. I don’t think any woman should give up having a family because she needs to work to support them. I don’t think anyone who wants to work or have a career, should stop working when they have children if that is not their choice. But there are some of us, when given the choice, choose to be home with our children and raise them the old fashioned way. I just know that the time I have spent with my children is priceless.
A bigger house, luxury cars, more jewelry, none of it could ever compare to seeing them take their first step, saying their word, hearing them laugh, or feeling the tugging on my jeans from my baby girl who wanted me to pick her up and hold her. It would have killed me to give all that up and I'm very blessed I didn't have to.