Deciding to stay-at-home is never easy. I don’t mean the decision to obey the curfew laws and maintain social distancing. I mean the decision to be a stay-at-home mother to little ones.
For me, the decision is one I have always struggled with over the years. I have five children with ages spanning 15 years to 1 year and 7 months. During my years of bearing my children, I have had times when I was out to work and times when I would be home. It was always a back-and-forth wrestling that I needed to make peace with.
The need for finances was always one of the driving factors that would send me out to work, but if I am honest; needing money to live was not the only reason I wanted to leave home and join myself to some big organization. The prestige that comes with having employment was a real lure. As an educated individual, watching people I went to university with strive in their career did cause the green-eyed monster to pop up in my heart. I wanted to be successful and appear to others that I had my life together.
On the other hand, my family was always the most important thing in my life, and I wanted to ensure my little ones were settled. I wanted them to have at least one parent around, and I wanted to be the one to first invest in their lives.
I remember the intervals when I was out of a job because I decided to stay home and take care of my young children. Family members and friends would always ask, when are you going back to work? It was so bad that I had one family member send me links to job postings that I could apply for. While their intentions were good, I wanted to scream “I am not looking for a job! I am choosing to stay home with my children in the time when they are most vulnerable.”
It took me a while to settle the fight in my own heart of what I wanted. I realized that the moments that I was home, my children were more stable in their emotions. My son threw fewer tantrums and he stopped wetting the bed. My daughters had less anxiety about school. My husband was under less stress to drop off and pick up children from the babysitter, and I was less tired. All in all, my family felt whole.
So, that is what I have decided to do. To make the commitment to become obscure and stay in the background. The commitment to use my education, talents, gifts, abilities… everything, for their growth and development.
While I am in no way telling anyone to quit their jobs and stay home, I want to encourage those who have chosen to do so that you are making a difference. The world is not leaving you behind. As a matter of fact, this pandemic has caused many opportunities for us to be at home and still engage in work. We can be productive while taking care of our family.
We only have a short time to lay some good seeds in the heart of our children. When we choose to use our time and cultivate their lives, we are investing in the future.
So, Mamas, I have learned that us stay-at-home moms are a unique set of people. We may not dress in work clothes and heels every day. We may be running down toddlers with a diaper in hand trying to get him/her dressed. We may have to stay up late, giving our brains a mental workout in trying to figure out a tough math problem with a teenager. We may have to put in the research and engage in craft skills we may not have to complete a science project with our preteen, but we are doing a job that will change the world.