I am a stay at home mom and all 3 of my kids are in school.
I feel no guilt.
Enjoying some hot chocolate while we catch up after school.
Once upon a time, I went to graduate school and got a business degree. Somewhere in there, we purchased our second, larger home. Before making that official offer, I vividly recall my husband saying to my 27 year old self, “Are you sure this is what you want? Are you sure that you won’t ever want to stay home?” Pshaw. Of course I wouldn’t. If I did, I wouldn’t have
paid for grad school taken out all those loans for that masters degree, right? Wrong. Not even a year later I found myself with a newborn baby and working at a job that I loathed with every inch of my being. Whether it my career path or that particular job, I’ll never quite know. But that job did me in. It knocked me down and stomped all over me. And that baby made me want to be home with him. Only I couldn’t. We made a choice to purchase this big house with this big yard in suburbia, and it took both our salaries at that time to make it happen.
And then I got pregnant again, 11 months later. With twins. Doing the math, I knew there was no way that I could fathom tossing $30,000 at daycare every year…it would kill me. I mean, I could do it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So 10 years ago we had a heart to heart and did what we needed to do…we packed up our bags, sold that house, downsized and moved to the city, and my husband became the sole supporter of our family. I’ve never looked back.
Do I miss working? No. I do not miss cut-throat corporate america or any of those games that you have to play. Do I miss the camaraderie? Sometimes. But I’ve made up for it. Do I miss my paycheck? Sure. But my husband never holds that over my head. Do I feel guilty for spending money that I don’t make? Heck no. I work hard at what I do.
When the kids were younger, I was busy keeping them busy. But now that they are in school, its the little things that occupy my day. No, not things like bon-bons and soap operas (though I do admit to watching stuff off the DVR while I am eating my lunch or folding laundry and lunching with friends every now and again). But things like the never-ending pile of laundry, the endless runs to the grocery store for the tweens that eat me out of house and home, exercising myself and my dog, attempting to keep the house in some kind of order and having a home cooked healthy meal on the table each night. These tasks all take time. Not to mention volunteering in the kids schools and in the community. Then there’s the flurry of after school stuff…like homework (4th grade math, I am talking to you! You too, 6th grade math!) and extra-curricular activities. I don’t know how working parents do it, but my kids could not be involved in the amount of activities they are in if I went back to my career.
Its ironic. When I was in college, one of my roommates babysat for this family where the wife had a masters degree and she stayed at home. I vividly remember being completely befuddled, asking what the hell she did all day and how she could let her education go to waste. My roommate informed me that that, well, she had just done an extensive remodel of their kitchen and she put a lot of time and effort and input into that. I recall rolling my eyes.
And now here I am. Kicking myself. Because you know what? When you’re the sole person designing a remodel that you want to look damn good, that takes a hella lot of time. I cannot even imagine what it was like before the internet exploded!! (yes. it was *that* long ago).
So anyway, at least once a month, I get the proverbial questions, “will you ever go back to work?” or, “do you feel bad not working?” and I don’t even pause before I answer, “no.”
You do what works for your family and we will do what works for us. And this– this is what works for us.