I'd prepared my whole life to be a homemaker. It was the way I was brought up.
College education for girls was discouraged and working mothers frowned upon. Add to that the fact that my mother passed away before I really knew her and there were those times that I just wanted her to be there when it wasn't possible... it was never even a question.
When I had children, I would stay home.
I would be there every little step of the way, giving them the love and time that I knew would make them flourish.
It was a deal breaker when I was looking for a potential spouse. He had to understand that I didn't care if we rented an apartment, lived in a trailer house, had one vehicle, didn't go out... whatever it was we had to give up. I would scrimp and scrape and find a way to be there for my kids always.
It was easy because there was nothing else I'd wanted from life.
Then about a year ago, I found something else I did want.
Photography. I love it and I think I could really grow at it.I discovered birth photography and it was my niche. If I could photograph any one thing, it would be births. And the opportunity was there teasing me.
You know, it wasn't like it was the kind of job that I had to go to every day. If it got off the ground, I could still schedule things so that AJ and I were the ones watching the kids. We could rearrange our time and make it work. I had my support group cheering me on, and I wanted it so bad that I could taste it.
I decided to try to make a go of it.
One night last week, I was laying in bed trying to figure out how I was going to make it to a birth. How would I get the car back in time for AJ to go to work and who would watch the kids when he did?
There's no timing a birth. It happens when it happens, and what if I couldn't leave? Normally, AJ could go in to work late, but not this time.
I worried and I couldn't sleep and I prayed for that baby not to come that night. I was freaking out.
It wasn't something I could just cancel or reschedule.
There in the noise I knew it wasn't right. The timing wasn't right.
I hated that. I pouted and cried and threw an internal tantrum.
But when it was over and I'd yielded and made the decision to stop trying to make it happen, I had peace.
All this had me thinking about why I stay home.
In today's society, working mothers are celebrated. They are strong and proud and do it all and, though not always, don't understand why a woman would choose to stay home in the first place.
I once had a shocked nurse ask me what I did all day. I had a lady refer to the stay at home woman as "nothing but a well kept possession of her husband".
The thing about keeping house is that it's old fashioned, and the world around you is not going to validate it.
But the more my children grow and the longer I'm a mother, the more persuaded I am that being with them is the best choice.
They are my gift. My calling.
They have been entrusted to me.
I have this privilege and great accountability to give them my best shot.
I can always go to school again or pursue other desires later, but I have this small window of time to mold my children. To teach them and love them and just be with them.
And I'm not trading it for anything because it's truly priceless.
(If you're a working mother reading this, please don't be offended. This is my personal story and everyone's is different.)
Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek-peekaboo.
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
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