Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom Thank You Very Much

I was walking out of Walmart, bag of groceries in hand, when I bumped into an acquaintance from church.
"Hi" she said
"How are you doing?" I said.
"Not bad, how's the new job?" She asked.
"Actually I quit."
You could hear crickets chirping for a brief moment as she processed it, and then with a big gasp of horror she said the word I dread every time  I tell someone I am once again a stay at home mom, "WHY?"
Let me give you a little background on the situation.
Life has been rather tumultuous the last six months. For the first time since I became mother I stepped outside my door and got a job. Yes I was a working mother. For three months I worked the graveyard shift at Walmart. I continued to do my best to fulfill my role as a mother. My sweetheart did his part, taking shifts with the kids when he was home, but still once a week at least I would go 48 hours or more without sleep. I began to understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I began to search for another job and quickly found a call center. The amount of negativity on the phones was often overwhelming, and in addition to that I came down with pneumonia. After spending a week at home with my children, I began to realize something. Despite the fact I was so sick the house was cleaner, the children were happier, and we hadn't eaten out in a week.
I felt home calling to me. I missed being able to kiss my children whenever the heck I want, and I missed being a happy mom. So after a lot of prayer and soul searching my husband and I decided that I would once again be a stay-at-home mom. I felt such a powerful feeling of joy and relief when I got off the phone after quitting my job and was able to say "I am a homemaker again."

Getting out into the work place taught me many things. One, if I have to get a job I can. One of my deepest fears before I worked was that if anything should happen to my sweetheart the large gap in my employment history would prevent me from finding employment. Not only did I find a job, but I found it the first day I looked. Walmart is not the most glamorous job, but it certainly fulfilled our needs. Not only did I nail the interview, but I was able to draw upon my experiences as a stay at home mom. The second thing is,  it is okay to rely on my husband. He is a parent too, and he has the same responsibilities as I do to bring up some (hopefully) well-adjusted little people. Three, it is also okay to ask for help from other people. In desperation I searched for someone to take my daughter to school so I would not have to walk the half-mile there and back on no sleep. One sweet gal from my church stepped in and took her as often as she could. The last thing that I gained from working outside the home is a greater appreciation for the working mother. It is hard to be a working mother and a good mother. There are a lot of excellent working mothers out there, and I am in awe of them.

I have been unemployed for a little over a month now. My house still isn't immaculate, and I am pinching pennies three times before I let them go, but I am happier overall. My husband has a fantastic schedule, and because I am not working I get to spend so much more time with him. I would even say that despite all the stresses we still have in our lives I am happy. For the first time in months I feel joy on a regular basis.

Often the conversations I have with people about my state of employment elicit responses very similar to the one I listed above. People are shocked that I could possibly be happier at home. They seem confused as to why I would choose to struggle a little more financially in order to spend my time with three very time consuming, very exhausting little ones. Often my response to their inquiries has been " I just felt like I needed to be home with the kids." A response that feels rather inadequate.
Sometimes I want to push past the polite facade I put up and just snap and say "I'm a stay-at-home mom thank you very much, and I like  it that way." Shouldn't it be enough that instead of making money, I spend my time learning to save it, learning to live with my means? Shouldn't it be enough that I am making choices in my life for my own happiness and the happiness of my family?

"Oh , your just a stay-at-home mom."These used to be words I dreaded hearing. It felt as though my lack of employment meant that I was somehow less than your average woman. However, now I know that as long as I am making the decisions I know to be right, the decisions that bring me joy and satisfaction, I am enough.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited for you that you get to stay home with your kids! There are a lot of moms who do the working thing and are still good moms, but they have to sacrifice something somewhere. They can't do it all. Being a play-at-home mom has it's own rewards, and while money isn't one of them, the things you and your family gain by you staying home with them are far greater. Love you lots!