This February marks my 13th year as a stay-at-home mom.
A lot can change in thirteen years.
In less than a month, we will officially have a teenager. He's almost as tall as me now. He's fairly responsible. In three years, he'll want a license. And in two years he'll have a job.
I have a six year old in kindergarten. He reads now. I know that next year, he won't want to hold my hand anymore while he walks with me back to the car after school.
The twins are in preschool three days a week. They are each other's best friend one week and the next they bicker like mortal enemies. Each of them are learning to navigate the world in their own way. Sometimes, I'm too busy to enjoy those precious hours that I have to myself. Other days, the stillness in this house makes my heart ache just a little bit because I know that this is the end of a another chapter for us.
In the last six months, many well-meaning friends have offered their advice. Others have presented me with wonderful job opportunities (friends...I love you dearly and thank you from the bottom of my heart). Some would be a good fit, others would require a lot of additional juggling. And there has been a large part of me that's felt like it's what I'm supposed to do. Kids are gone, mom goes back to work. It's the natural way of things. And, aren't you supposed to feel guilty if you don't want to?
I had really, really struggled with this. Because, when it came down to it, I've enjoyed this occupation. It has been an opportunity that not everyone can enjoy. Even on the days where it hasn't been very enjoyable (and there have been many). I like being a taxi service. I love being the one that organizes everything and takes care of everyone. I am so thankful that I can be a part of the things that go on at the boys' schools. The sacrifices are sometimes difficult and certainly, going back to work would lessen those burdens. But, the thought of not doing this anymore hurt. And, it made me incredibly sad to think that I would have to give it up.
I talked to friends. I talked to family. I talked to my husband. I had expected them all to urge me to find a job. I had expected my husband to beg me to bring home a paycheck. Instead, all I heard was an immense amount of support from every direction. My parents both reminded me that what I do is so important, even if the boys are in school. My husband told me that he wanted me to just be happy. And my friends said the same.
Maybe there will a point in time where I'm ready. When I feel like my kids maybe don't need me as much as they still do right now. Maybe there won't be. I will freely admit that there's something incredibly wonderful about being able to be home when they walk through the door at the end of the day. And I don't think it will ever, ever get old.
So for now, I'm going to continue to cherish the fact that being a full-time SAHM makes me incredibly happy. It doesn't make me selfish or unambitious or lazy. It doesn't make me less of a mother or more of a mother. It just makes us work as a family.
That's pretty much all that matters at the end of the day.