My motherhood journey: Celebrating a year as a stay-at-home mom

My daughter was running around the house in a lovely dress, excitedly planning something as she likes to do.  She was making signs with crayons and markers and looking for glue.  I didn’t think that paired well with her nice dress, so I told her to go change back into play clothes or her “play dress up” clothes.  She protested but couldn’t explain why she needed the dress so she reluctantly went to change.

Later, she formally invited me to accompany her downstairs to the basement playroom to join her brothers for a special event.  She had planned a celebration and decorated with her sweet signs and balloons.  They shouted, “Happy retirement anniversary!”

I immediately felt bad about making her change, realizing the dress was part of her party hostess vision!  I was touched that they wanted to celebrate my first year as a stay-at-home mom.  It was a nice moment to reflect on the blessing of being home with my family.

When I pointed out to the kids earlier in the day that it had been a year since my last day at work, I hadn’t expected such a reaction.  Being home with them is just the new normal now.  I was simply noting the date on the calendar.  But they have never stopped being enthusiastically happy that I no longer have an outside job.

I’m glad they like having me around!

It was a long road for me to get to this stay-at-home mom phase of my life.

Before my first child was born, my husband and I weren’t quite sure what to do about the work situation.  We wanted me to be home with our son, but we also needed the money.  After he was born, I had three months off thanks to FMLA.  When that time was up, I just knew I would be heartbroken to go back to work full time, so we prayed about a solution.  I talked to my boss, and she didn’t want to lose me completely, so she convinced the company to allow me to work on a part-time schedule.  It was a fantastic answer to prayer!

My hubby was working some weird hours at the time, so when I was at work, he was home with our son.  It was a great arrangement.  And my mom helped us out a lot with child care.  She came to our rescue many times when things came up.  Although we did without luxuries like cable TV and newer cars for years, it was worth it so I didn’t have to work more hours.

Over the years, the company where I worked went through a lot of changes.  Through several management upheavals and an ownership transfer, I wondered what would happen to my job.  Each time I came out OK.  When a new VP didn’t like having a part-timer, a colleague recruited me to transfer to a different department.  There’s no explanation for my unique work situation except that God answered our prayers and kept me in my part-time job.

In many ways, it was the best of both worlds.  I had a lot of time with my kids – and when I wasn’t there, they were with my hubby or my mom.  I still had a career and some income to help keep up with the bills and build some savings.  But it’s always a balancing act.  I missed my kids when I was at work and couldn’t help but feel envious of my stay-at-home-mom friends who met up for play dates while I was working.  I was happy for my coworkers as their careers took off with promotions and new dream jobs; at the same time, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere.  It was my choice to remain part time, but I still felt stymied professionally since I was on the mommy track.

With the company ownership change, my part-time work started moving up toward full-time hours.  The deadlines could be relentless.  I had the perk of working from home for four years – another way God allowed me to remain at my part-time job when my hubby’s work schedule changed and he couldn’t be home.  That arrangement was tough, though, when I had to work late on a deadline.  My family was surrounding my work space, and I was telling them I needed them to be quiet so I could work.  I was home but unavailable, and they weren’t free to go about life as normal in their own home.  On top of that, there were new travel demands that were hard to juggle with our family schedules.  After 13 years in my part-time job, it just didn’t seem to be working for our family as well as it had before.

Finally my husband said enough is enough!  He did the math and declared us solvent without my income.  And he enlisted the kids to help petition for me to quit my job.

Even with compelling reasons to say goodbye to my job, it was a hard decision for me.

I had been working since I got my first job at age 14.  It was nice to have that income.  I worried that something would happen with my hubby’s job and we would be sorry I wasn’t working.  I wondered if it was right to leave a job situation that God had so clearly worked out for me.

As I prayed about the right decision, I began to see the recent changes in my job as nudges toward a better family life with me staying home.  I felt like God was showing me a new path.  Most of all, I felt like God was giving me a chance to trust Him for something new – to step out in faith and let Him continue to provide everything we need.

Now it’s been a year since my early retirement – as my husband likes to call it, even though I protest that it makes me sound old!  I’m so glad I’ve had this time to focus on my family.  The kids are growing up fast, and I like being there for them.  The years they have with us are limited before they’re out on their own, and there’s always time to work later.  So I’m determined to make the most of this time we have together.  Besides, they need a chauffeur now more than ever with all of their activities.  :)

So here’s to soccer mom life and my first year as a stay-at-home mom!

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