We do not have a traditional 9 to 5 position. There are no plaques with our names emblazoned on them. We do not have mandated lunch breaks nor opportunities to go to the restroom on our own.
Rather, we have moments caught in time in the hectic nature of our day, slices of our lives where we can find a brief moment to mindlessly check Facebook or attempt to eat a snack before our children request our attention.
Being a mother, for me, is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I will be honest. Prior to having children, I was very selfish and very self centered. If my needs were not met, whether it be by ridiculous clothing or other purchases that would briefly satisfy and then bore me, I would immediately move on to the next thing, with utter disregard for how my actions affected others.
After my first son was born, I was very quickly propelled in to the world of motherhood, and what it meant to care for someone other than myself. Now, instead of thinking about what I would waste my money on next, I was thinking about the ways that I could best parent my child, including making sure he had nice clothing, interactive and educational toys to play with, and comfort in the moments when he was sad or uncomfortable.
Becoming a mother changed my entire perspective on my life, and my sole mission was to ensure that my children were happy and well provided for. I was also blessed with an incredible husband, a wonderful provider who allowed me to act as a stay at home parent for a brief time. However, as life so often does, monetary expenses called me back to the work force, where I would work a 40 hour per week position to make sure my children were loved and well cared for.
Yet, at the end of these long days, as I dropped in to the nearest chair in utter exhaustion, my children asking for my attention and energy that I no longer had, I knew that it was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be with my children, and for nearly two years I fought the struggle of my head versus my heart as I watched their faces fall a little less each day at drop off, leaving them alone for 8 hours while they grew before someone else’s eyes.
As fate would have it, or life rather, last year I became very ill, and the extent of my medical issues forced me to choose between my career and my children. I was concerned, as I’m sure everyone likely would be, about how this choice would affect our financial status and overall flow of income. However, as my husband assured me, we would be okay. He wanted me to be happy, and what brought me the greatest joy, more than anything else in life other than our marriage, was being a mom and being with my children.
For this reason, I am now beyond blessed to be on this journey of stay at home motherhood for a second time. I am blessed because I know that so many others would like to be in my position and are unable to do so. I myself, was the woman on the other side looking in, the working mother at one point, and I believe they make the ultimate sacrifice. It is so difficult to miss moments, and full portions of your children’s lives when work calls you away, but you have to work to provide for your family. It is the ultimate and most beautiful sacrifice and I applaud all working mothers.
Stay at home mothers are my heroes as well. Each day, we provide our full selves in to making sure that our children are fed, played with, well cared for and become productive adults. We balance motherhood and our households, and all too often, we feel the mom guilt, whether it lie in the fact that we are not bringing in an additional income, or wondering if our reaction to a situation or event during the day permanently scarred our children.
Yes, my children, like many others, often test my patience, and know how to stretch their boundaries. I still crave those few minutes and even hours of alone time at the end of the day, but for a mom who for so long was away from her children and missed out on those pivotal moments in her boys’ lives, I wouldn’t consider what I do work. I am just loving my boys, and that to me, isn’t a job at all.