Becoming a mom for the first time was a dream come true. I was a late bloomer, having my first child at 32. Prior to that I spent most of my twenties in graduate school working on advanced degrees. My preference would have been to have my children in my twenties but I needed a husband for that and a good one. There were no suitable prospects at that time, so grad school was my focus.
My friends would call and relish in my life experience of furthering my education, being single and living alone with no one to worry about but myself. On the other hand, I envied their life of being a mom, wife and career woman. It took me a while but I realized that I needed to be led by God. I met my husband while in graduate school (finally!).
Shortly after marrying and having my first child, I lived in a neighborhood of at home moms. It seemed like I was the only mom on the street that worked out of the home. There were a lot of kids outside playing on warm days as I was driving into my driveway. My daughter would see them and immediately want to join them. So after changing into something more comfortable, I would head out there to chat with the moms while the kids played. I dreaded it at times because I just wanted to unwind and relax after work. I felt out-of-place, like I was secretly being judged.
After relocating with a three-year old, fifteen-month old, and one month old, I resigned from my full-time position as an Assistant Professor a year later. Many of my courses were on the weekends and in the evenings. My husband also had a crazy schedule. I was stressed and struggling with finding good child care in the evenings. To say the least, my schedule was challenging and infringed on meaningful family time. I was new to the area and worried about leaving my babies A LOT. We didn’t have any family in the area. The guilt was overwhelming at times.
Family and close friends were surprised by my decision, because I spent so much time pursuing my education. I heard things like, “you are going to waste all of that education?”. Of course their comments were out of concern for me but my focus was on my children. They needed me.
Before I go any further, I’ve never been completely comfortable with the titles used to describe mom’s who do not work outside of the home. For one thing, we don’t just stay home all the time, we are rarely at home doing nothing, and there is always work that needs to be done. For lack of a better title, I will use at-home-mom.
Staying home with my children was a decision that I had grappled with for a long time. I prayed regularly that my husband would be supportive of my decision and he was. Many women out there have made the very same decision and it’s a very personal one. We are all unique individuals with different personalities, needs, and desires. Every situation is different and I can only speak from my experience.
I had fears of being intellectually deprived, budget constrained, and lonely. All of those fears became real at different times. I had good days and bad days. Yet my desire to care for and raise my own children was far greater than my fears. I made the necessary adjustments over time. I continued to teach on-line courses which allowed me to feel connected academically.
My visits to the mall were fewer and for a purpose. I became really good at scouting for bargains and shopping out of season. We revised our budget which took some tweaking over time but we figured it out. I was reminded by my husband on several occasions that we were living on one income. You know how that is.
We found a great church home that we enjoyed. I also met a great group of at home moms who became my close friends and support system. Our children all attended the same school. We’ve all relocated but we are still great friends to this day. We had each others backs. That was 11 years ago.
To Be Continued: Read the Grass Is Always Greener Part II
Peace and Blessings,