Monday, September 14, 2009

Why I Stay Home

After 18 years at home, the reasons why I'm so grateful I made the decision to forgo work while the children are little and very dependent are not the reasons that I would have ever thought.  The first reasons that would come to mind are those big milestones-first smile, first steps, first words-those type of "I never want to forget it" things.

That sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy, but to tell the truth, I can't remember any of those...I'm sure it's marked in baby books somewhere. I DO know the last two took their first steps to Grandma and Dad respectively. Traitors.

The times when I have been so thankful that I made the decision to stay home and thought, "Oh God, what if I wasn't here? What if the daycare, the nanny, the sitter was here instead?" ...those are the times that have cemented any doubt in my mind that home is the best place to be.

This last week or so has been a time when I think, "Thank God it's me." Patrick has been SO difficult. He's such a sweet, happy fellow, but this week....I'll tell you...I don't know if it's teeth, or the kids being gone at school, or just a new little stage, but he wants ME almost every minute. He's 30 pounds and it's not easy lugging this kid around. If he happens to be settled and busy it just means he's up to no good. He'll find a pen or a pencil laying around-my walls his canvas...or he stands on his tippy toes and fishes one out of the drawer and just writes everywhere before I even get a chance to stop him. He's hurt me, physically, 10 times this week. Slammed a door shut on my ankle, given me serious love bites, head butted me (the kind that make your teeth click!), all on accident of course. He's smooshed my lipstick, dumped bags of cereal when given a second. Crinkled my new magazine, ran his stroller into my ankles. When we went on walks, they were as far from enjoyable as you could get. Down every one's driveway, in the street constantly, in and out of the stroller every minute, mad as heck when he didn't get his way and we headed home. Tons of whining. Tons.

Do you get the picture? Tested every ounce of my patience. Very unlikeable, but I love him.

That's not to say a break, a fresh set of hands, is not welcome once in awhile. But if I left him all day with someone, they would seriously dislike this usually sweet good-natured boy. No doubt in my mind.

It's the little things like this...the things that come up once in awhile, the bouts of colic, the annoying stages, the private bathroom dilemmas, the runny noses, just a bad days (or weeks)...those are REALLY the reasons I stay home. I want ME and his father-the two people who love him more than anyone else in the world- to be the one that takes care of all those things. The hard things-the "no fun" stuff.



Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself.
Jean Anouilh

52 comments :

  1. That was beautiful. Been there with the poop thing. My kids are older 12 and 16 and I'm still home. I struggle with it every day knowing most of my friends are back at work and yet here I stay. They still need me.

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  2. Beautiful ... love that last photo too!

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  3. I totally agree. Y'know, you inspire me and encourage me with your mommy love and wise words {also your email advice ;)}.

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  4. Hi there! I've been following your blog for a little bit and I just had to say, this post is so true! I too have been a daycare "teacher" and a nanny and as much ad I've seen...I'd never be able to send my children to one! Nannying was great, but you're right, the children miss their parents so much. I loved this post! Just wanted to tell you!

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  5. I know what you mean about Patrick... My Nic is so very similar (a bit older though). My guy is a rambunctious little dude; LOVES to color on my walls (come to find out, they tape the papers to their plastic walls and let the kids go @ it @ daycare...). Anyway, your day sounds like mine, from 4pm on though, when I go get Nic from daycare. He's only there 3 days a week (M-W) - it's actually a great place, but I do keep them on their toes. I arrive any time I want, sometimes only 3 short hours of leaving him! I check everything out, and let them know if I see something I don't like. I stay on top of it. I hate sending him away each day, but I cannot handle him while working from home. I am lucky though that my job is flexible enough that some days he plays hooky from school, while others, he gets a early release pass. :) I truly have the best of both worlds. I wish I would have made the decision to become a SAHM when I had my first child (when I was 18)... but money was tight, I had the skills to get a decent paying job, decided to go to school, and never looked back. For 9 years of our lives though, the two older never were in daycare. I worked 3pm-midnight, and my husband worked from 4am to noon. Nic is the only child who's had to go to some sort of daycare (it was my cousin who watched him for the first year and a half). I know that being a SAHM means sacrifice, but we were too deep in debt when Nic was born... I couldn’t ignore that. When he was born 3 months premature, though, I was prepared to quit my job at all costs to take care of him, but the little booger was PERFECT, no issues (once we finally got him home). Love the pic with Patrick, Sarah! Very beautiful!

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  6. Hi, I'm new here.

    I just wanted to say how beautiful this post is and how validating it is to me to hear other moms with these sentiments.

    I just dropped my four-year old off at his first morning of pre-school. All the way home, I reflected on 12 1/2 years of being a sahm. And how glad I am that I was. How thankful I am that I was able to be there 24h/day for my 3 babies.

    Thanks for the lovely words.

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  7. Wow, this resonates with me so closely. I have always felt this way. When my child falls and hurts themselves or when they are really sick or just so sad about something...I think about...what if they were with someone else right now? She wouldn't love them like me, kiss them and make them feel better like me. Only I can do that.

    On my blog I just posted about how awful it is to not be able to get anything done with my demanding 3 yr old tugging at my energy all day long but how grateful I am to have this time with her all to myself.

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  8. Kids need someone to be crazy about them.

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  9. I seriously think you are telepathic! My kids have been sick for the last 2 weeks and because I stay home I felt such a relief that I didn't have to hover over my cell phone waiting for it to ring and give me bad news. When I was working, my mother-in-law watched my daughter from the time she was 8 weeks until almost 2 and there were times when I wasn't able to take her to the doctor or come right away if she was sick. This go round with the kids has been hard, both in and out of the doctor, sleepless nights, lots of snuggles and me not able to slip away to take a shower until my husband got home. I was just so thankful that I didn't have anywhere to go and I was able to slow down and be the nurse maid.
    Thank you for this post. You always seem to put into words what I am feeling. -Kelsee

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  10. Wow...words can not express how wonderful that was to hear:) I love being a stay at home mom and many times tell people that I could never be the mom I want to be if I had to work. I have tried to work but never felt happy, I know many women can and I respect them for that. It's just not for me:) I even babysit and feel that I miss out on the moments I want with just my kids. They will go to school next year and I want to cherish every moment with them and only them. Thank you for reminding me of such an important role we are as mothers! Have a great day:)

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  11. Love this post Sarah. My sentiments exactly. Sometimes I need a reminder as to why I chose to be home, too - 6 years now. Thanks as always...

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  12. I've always thought that no one is going to love my kids more than my husband and me. This post is so true. I really appreciate your "mom wisdom" - thank you for sharing.

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  13. You've made such a great point. I usually find during those hard stages is when I wish I could hand them off to someone else, but really, nobody else would still love them no matter what. What a great reminder!

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  14. This is exactly why I stayed home with my last child. With my first, I had no choice. I was able to somehow stay home for 19 months, and then it was work or starve. So I worked.

    But with my daughter, I knew I could never, ever leave her. She was the most high-maintenance child from the moment she came out. I knew, knew, knew that if she was in any kind of childcare, they'd hate her. I could barely take care of her myself, and that was with my other kid in school all day. She would have wreaked havoc on any daycare.

    Not only that, but I just knew that she NEEDED me. I don't believe in bad and spoiled babies. She needed the love and attention and arms I could provide her. Even though I really had to go back to work when she was 3, I didn't. She would never have survived it.

    Now she's five and in kindergarten and I definitely have to go back to work (or we'll starve!). But I will always be grateful for my years home with her. And I know she is a more easygoing, flexible, and happy child now because of it.

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  15. This post really hits home Sarah! My 3 year old Addison was such a HARD toddler. She has several allergies and was sick all the time...plus just like you described your little guy right now - high maintenance non stop work! My extended family always said - "I don't know how you deal with that all day!" and I always thought - I can't imagine not dealing with it all day. I love her so much even when she is nearly impossible to love and I'm so happy to be home with her. That hard stage is over now (although I know others will come) and I am loving my sweet happy three year old...and very grateful we got through that tough time together.

    That picture at the end of your post is priceless!

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  16. So beautifully said. I'm here at home for similar reasons. And, I feel lucky to be here for the difficult stuff.

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  17. Very well said. My biggest fear when leaving my kids with anyone else (pt daycare and now preschool) is that no one can love them as much as I can, especially during the more trying times!

    I posted a link from my blog to this post. I hope that's ok!

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  18. you totally have it all figured out. i love your perspective on motherhood.

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  19. Nicely said... Although I don't have children of my own, I am eternally grateful that my mom was always home with us!

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  20. Oh man!!!! I stumbled across your blog from Meg's Whatever blog a while back and am JUST commenting!!!! I gotta say...I just love you and your family!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I would've read your post about only signing up for ONE thing per kid BEFORE I signed up to be Homeroom Mom this year =( Ah well!

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  21. Beautiful post. I too stay home for the hard times, I can't imagine that anyone would cuddle my sweet boy when he cried because he was being left out on the playground and his feelings were hurt. It may not be much but I believe it forms the foundation of who he is as a person to this world.

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  23. I have no children of my own (single and twenty-one years old), but I work in a private daycare centre. After working in it for over two years, I would never send any child of mine to anyone else to be looked after (if I could at all avoid it).
    It's not that the children aren't looked after properly, but I see how the other staff are with the kids, and I see how the kids stand at the window and look for their parents. But, what is worse, is when a child refuses to go to their parents in the evenings, and clings to me. This breaks my heart, because the little two-year old knows me better than their own mother.

    I make sure that I personally cuddle, kiss, and hug every little toddler in my room at least once a day, and I tell them all that I love them, because I do truly love them.
    My mum stayed at home with me and my four siblings, and it breaks my heart to see how much these kids are missing out.

    Anyway, just wanted to say how well written this entry was (as all of yours are!), but wanted people to know that if they really have to send their children to daycare, there are some staff out there who truly love and care for their children, even the 'difficult' ones.

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  24. Wonderful post!!

    I'm going to scouring your blog for boy-parenting advice, after my ultrasound today ;)

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  25. I completely agree. Very well written, Sarah.

    I'm going through a similar phase with Aiden right now too, and it helps to think about it that way. so thank you.

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  26. i love your blog...but you just created a lot of anxiety for me. my 4 month old will be going to an in home daycare in 2 weeks when i go back to work. no other option for my family!

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  27. I think it must be something in the air because I am going through that right now with my little guy! I do understand what you mean. Those are the exact reasons that I stay home with my little ones. No one could love them more than their Mommy! We do get a lot of bad moments, but it is those unexpected good moments that truely make it worth while!

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  28. Loved this post! I have so been-there-done-that with the poopy issue. More than once, unfortunately.
    But you just put this whole "thought process" into beautiful words! Thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I found your blog through my friend...the Flower Patch Farm Girl. :)

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  29. I completely agree! I worked at a daycare center, and like you said, no matter how much fun the kids were having they waited all day for their parents to come pick them up! I'm so thankful that I'm able to stay home with my daughter.

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  30. Whew girl, did I need this today!

    My toddler has had the same kind of week.
    I told my hubby earlier that i can't *believe* it's only Tuesday. My patience and sanity are all used up for the entire week. I'm completely wiped out already.

    And yeah, been there on the poo thing too. I remember thinking, "Who knew I'd be able to use these lamaze techniques for THIS?!"

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  31. Like the first commenter, I'm still home though my kids are 10 and 12 (one home schools), and it's hard every day because I wonder if I should still be here. But my kids and husband and home and even me still need me to be here. And it's a calling. But it isn't easy in our world today.

    Thanks for speaking for us!

    I've also been there, done that being a nanny and working in a day care and being a home day care provider. I knew I couldn't do that to my kids, though I know some have no choice and some make it work just fine. Luckily I'm married to a husband who supports me in what I think is best.

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  32. Very well said.

    So why do I allow myself to feel guilty for not doing everything right, having more patience, more energy, providing more stimulating activities everyday???

    Need to keep reminding myself that I've got only one chance to raise my kids and no one is going to do it better...THAT is why I quit working when my son was 6 months old.

    LOVED this post!

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  33. What an amazingly fabulous post. I am truly encouraged to be a better mother having read your words. Thank you for taking the time to put your feelings down. You have refreshed countless worn out mommies. Many thanks!

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  34. Thanks for your post - it was just what I needed after a long day yesterday.

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  35. Love your blog; I'm hopping over from oldcentennialfarmhouse. I agree on the staying home. I have a 26 year old son and daughter-in-law, a 24 year old daughter and son-in-law and a twelve year old, who isn't feeling well today. When my older two children got married, the only regrets I had were for the few years when I worked outside the home as they were growing up. They've grown up to be responsible, beautiful people and I'm proud of them. It's due in large part to the fact that they ALWAYS knew that I would be there for them when their dad couldn't. I've had many well-meaning people say to me "It's really nice that you can stay home with your kids. So many of us can't. Usually they say this from their brand new homes and expensive sofa's on the cell phone taken from their designer purses. Yes, my husband is a good provider, and we have a very nice home, but it wasn't ever easy to stay home as others think. It was a sacrifice. We shop at thrift stores and I sew, paint and create to make a warm and welcoming home. My husband hunts for his career, but also to put food on the table. We make do. But it has been a very rich life and SO worth any sacrifices. You are a very wise mom to make the good choices you've made. No one loves your children like you do! Kudo's to you and yours!

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  36. Love the post thanks for sharing.
    www.thefrey5.blogspot.com

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  37. Sarah, I linked to this---thanks!

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  38. Thank you! The world would be a better place if more people realized the importance of caring for your family. World peace starts at home... with your mommy.

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  39. Just started reading your blog recently. Been through all all of those things and more. Am a gramma now and loving it. You will be glad you stuck to being a home mommy. I applaud you! Many blessings to you for loving your family so much! ♥ P. S. That last photo is absolutely precious!

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  40. From a fellow stay at home mom of 5~ I loved this post. It's so, so true. No one can give the love a mother can and I just amened myself right throughout the post. Thank you~I'm a new subscriber to your blog!

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  41. Am I the first to post a dissenting comment? I read your words and I want to cry because I can't stay home. I have to work because I have the "real" job, the corporate job, the one which gives us the health insurance which we can't live without. So I send my two boys off to the best daycare that we can possibly scrape to afford, and I torment myself about it every day. Trying to think of ways to possibly be in your situation. Because no matter what, I know that time is slipping by. And if it were only a matter of pinching a penny or two here and there, I would. But unfortunately, for a lot of us, it isn't. So while I read your post and smile, thinking of similar situations with my children, I also cringe because I don't have the privilege to be in those shoes. And I DO have to put my trust in the daycare providers and try my best to squeeze every ounce of love and attention into the nights and weekends, the only time I have with my children. While still doing all of the other things that have to be done to keep a house running. So I'd like to give a round of applause for the mothers and fathers who would give anything to be home, but can't.

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  42. Oh, I have been a reader of your blog for awhile now but have never commented before today. That post brought tears to my eyes. My kids are (just turned)3 & 1 and you just expressed exactly how I feel so much better that I would ever be able to. That is going to be my new Mantra...thank God it's me.....no one else would do this the exact way I do and even if I'm not always right..."Thank God it's me!"

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  43. Love this post! Thanks for sharing!

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  44. well....i'm commenting almost a year later, but somehow i stumbled upon this post. it seems like the Lord led me here seeing as how today was my first "official" day as a stay-at-home mom. this was BEAUTIFUL and 100% true - i would like to say "ditto" and then a big hearty "AAAAAAMEN!" so glad i found this and that you wrote it! thank you for sharing!

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  45. I've been back to your blog FOUR times today to read and read and read. I love your philosophy on parenting and staying home and peace and love...and all that stuff. (I know this comment is strange, but it's late and I've been home all day with kids who had an unexpected snow day). I just really appreciate what you have to say. It affirms what I've believed about myself for 13 years of parenting. It's just good to read it somewhere else.

    Blessings,
    Sandy

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  46. When I googled your blog to read today's post, this popped up. I love it! It s so true and exactly how I feel. Thank you so much for expressing motherhood in words!
    Christy

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  47. My husband and I work full time (and then some) and I am afraid if I have children, and if I don't work anymore, (I'd want to stay with my kids too!) we won't be able to afford 1) the lifestyle we've become accustomed to and 2) having children! You are a very fortunate woman, to be ABLE to stay at home with your children, and they are quite lucky to have you their with them as they grow up. You must be very thankful to your husband that he makes enough for your whole family to live on. And good for you for managing it all, so well. :)

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  48. Now, I feel bad, as I just read your other entry, A Mushed Up Heart and Choices – Feb .3, 2010, (http://www.memoriesoncloverlane.com/2010/02/mushed-up-heart-and-choices.html) about how you and your husband go to where you are. So -- I understand now. And I do sincerely appreciate the journey you’ve taken to get here.
    Please know that I, too, hate it when people tell me, "Oh, you were lucky you found so-and-so (my husband),” or, “You are lucky you have a good job," when I know much of what they are referring to has been a result of my hard-made choices; the decisions I’ve made, through time, that have led me to where I am now. No, it is NOT just luck or pure chance.
    However, there is that side of life that feels, even to me, to be "luck," or maybe something akin to serendipity, which allows us to get what we really want in life. (I am about to read "The Secret" and I am sure what I am talking about relates to the whole law of attraction, and energy for energy, etc.)
    So - I just wanted to say to you: Good for you! I am happy you have made your life be what you need and want life to be, and I think you are a wonderful inspiration to women everywhere - to work hard and find a way to live your best life, and be there for their children, and keep things organized, and fun, and meaningful. You have really become an inspiration to me, now that I am reading your blog. It could help change my life. (I believe inspiration needs to be sought out – and finding it is a manifestation of that “law of attraction” I mentioned earlier. In my case, I have been looking for inspiration like the kind you are providing, so, thank you!)

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  49. I just want to say that I am completely enamored with your blog. I am not a mother yet, but your blog about why you stay home helped me find what I could not adequately express, that I don't just want to stay at home with my children to play all day, it's knowing that I can take care and love my future children more than a babysitter or nanny ever could. Thanks for the words of wisdom, I will definitely be coming back here for more advice!

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  50. I believe that when I am in a hard place...I have to take a moment and pray fornGod to direct me to the path that will get me through anything and everything. I recently gave birth to my fourth lil guy..a blessing...and having number 3 at home and all of 21 months have been quite the challenge. Most days are fantastic...but there are those few that just really suck it all out of me..and even with the amazing husband and children i have I find myself feeling very lonely and a bit defeated...and then those wonderful moments happen that remind me why I love even my toughest of days...because at the end of the day...we are VERY BLESSED that we can stay home and report everyday to the gretest job on earth...mama. Thank you for your beautiful stories....this one literally brought me to happy and grateful tears!

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  51. I am 38 weeks pregnant with our first child and plan on staying home as long as we can afford it. This blog post was an eye opener. I now see the other (more important) reasons to be a stay at home mom. Thank you.

    Christina

    MarkChristinaMcGuire.blogspot.com

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