I have struggled for years to reconcile my conflicting goals of wanting to be there for my kids as a work-at-home mom and continuing to advance professionally with my career. Notice, I say “work-at-home mom.” Whether a mother works outside the home or not is irrelevant—she still works at home. The only difference is income.
I never wanted to put my kids in daycare and never have. Not because I think daycare is bad, but because I wanted to be there for them. And I have been fortunate that family members have helped watch the kids over the years when I did work.
When our first son was born, my husband was definitely not on board with me staying at home full time. Because I had been at my job for several years, the company that I was working for allowed me to work from home most of the time. I think that it was during this time that my husband actually started liking the fact that I was more involved at home… that meant less for him to help with when it came to dishes, laundry, and helping to make dinner when he got home from work.
Then our second son came along. At this point, we made the decision that I would work only part-time. Plus, getting family members to babysit two small children was not going to be as easy as it was just one… it is a lot of work.
So, when baby number three came along, we decided that I would stay home full time. Now, keep in mind that each of these moves for me to work less outside-of-the-home had a huge impact on our budget and finances. We have had to make lifestyle adjustments: not eating out as much, not taking a vacation every year… but having this time with my kids—totally worth it.
My kids are my world and I love them with all my heart, so having the opportunity to be at home with them has been absolutely wonderful, but I still had that desire for career advancement. I just couldn’t be content to be a stay-at-home-mom. I don’t know why. After all, it is what I wanted. Even though taking care of three active little boys is a lot of work, I just didn’t feel like I was doing enough. I had a job since I was 16 years old. At this point, I really felt like part of my identity was gone.
So I started writing finance articles online, then I started a blog… and then something wonderful happened, I started making money for doing this! I really had no idea that it would be possible to do something that fits into my schedule that I could be paid to do something that started out as simply a means to stay relevant professionally.
All of this brings me to today. Today was the first day that was warm and sunny and, while my two oldest boys had to go to school, the little guy did not have preschool today… and he knew exactly what he wanted to do—go outside. And we did. For four hours. I literally had to drag him in the house for lunch. But as we did all the things that he wanted to do: ride his tricycle, went for a walk, and stopped on our walk to throw rocks in the pond, I felt so very blessed to get to enjoy this time with him, just as I have my other kids. Yes, I had other stuff I could have been doing… writing articles, doing laundry or dishes, cleaning, but that stuff was all there for me when we got back. Those chores didn’t miss the fact that I wasn’t paying attention to them, but I’m sure my little boy would have noticed.
I don’t want to be the parent that is just there physically. I want to be there for my kids, interacting with them and letting them know that they are more important than any of the other things that I have on the to-do list. Today was a wonderful reminder to me that LIFE. IS. GOOD.