I tend to jump into things head first. Seriously. Well, more like free fall, but who’s counting? So when my husband and I decided that I was going to stay at home with our youngest, I spent only a limited amount of time preparing for it. At first, it was just going to be a temporary thing – until he started kindergarten. Then I would go back to work full-time. I really loved my job and was working for a company with great people and awesome leadership. The money was nice, but the hours were long. Sometimes I wouldn’t make it home until after dinner and occasionally not until after bedtime. I worked a minimum of 45 hours per week and I loved it. Until I clocked out.
My crazy long hours had pretty much turned my husband into a single father. My daughter was struggling in school and my son wasn’t adjusting to his new babysitter, even though she was great with him. Everyone was exhausted and tensions were high. We knew if we stayed on the path we were on, our family would implode. Now, please understand that these are my family’s unique circumstances. We made the best decision we could based on our needs, wants, and resources. We have since decided to home school (again, head first, but more on that another time) and the move to be at home with the kids has become permanent. But rest assured, it is not without its challenges. I have grappled with several issues since we made this decision:
- Am I really doing what is socially best for my kids?
- Am I really doing what is financially best for my family?
- Am I really doing what is most beneficial for my marriage?
- Am I really doing what is most beneficial for my sanity?
But the hardest part of all of that is that I was weighing out the very same questions every single day on my commute to and from work. It seems these days there are no clear-cut right answers. Stay at home moms climb up on their soap boxes over how they are putting their children first, they care for their own hearth and home, and believe their priorities are in the right place. And on the other side of the same coin, working moms climb up on their soap boxes extolling the benefits of having a break from their kids, pursuing their own interests, and contributing to the family’s financial needs. Both sides have pros and cons, but I am not here to debate.
Having been both mothers I can assure you, nobody outside of your home knows what is best for your family. Neither option is one that is easy no matter what anyone else tells you. Don’t let the feminist rhetoric make you feel like you are perpetuating some stereotype and holding other women back from pursuing their dreams if you choose to stay home and raise a family. You aren’t. Don’t let the stay at home mom crowd make you feel like less of a mother if you drop your kid off at daycare or school before you head off to work. You aren’t. Nobody knows your kids or your circumstances better than you and nobody else is qualified to tell you what is right for your family. But a small piece of advice from the mommy that sometimes jumps head first into the deep end without her water wings: make that decision slowly, carefully, and prayerfully with your spouse. Whichever path you decide to take, you two have to be on the same team in order for your family to be successful. So when your alarm goes off tomorrow morning, arise guilt-free. You are a good mother whether you clock in across town or down the hall, because there is grace to help you swim, no matter which body of water you jump in.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2
Abide in His Grace,