“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…since the payment is pure love.”– Mildred B. Vermont
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, I found a good job at a respected company and began my ascent up the corporate ladder. While working full-time, I attended night classes for 3 grueling years to complete my Master’s. Everything was going as planned; I even had an engagement ring on my finger when I crossed the stage to receive my diploma and the love of my life in the audience cheering me on. We were married a few months later. As I blew out my 28th birthday candles, I wished to soon start a family of our own. Our beloved son was born 9 months later.
Our daughter was born two years after our son. Even though I knew in my heart that I couldn’t continue working, making the decision to resign from a job I loved, that I had worked so hard for, was still difficult. I knew my family supported my stepping out of the workforce but my conversations with my professional mentors completely caught me off guard. Across the board, they not only supported my decision to be home with my kids, they applauded it. Several successful women who I admired confessed to me, some with tears in their eyes, that they wish they had been so wise when their children were young. They deeply regretted missing so much of the precious years with their little ones, years they can never get back. I realized then that “having it all” was no longer what I wanted for myself or my family. I don’t believe that raising babies and pursuing a demanding career are complementary undertakings. I think if we’re honest with ourselves, everyone knows deep down that babies need to be home with their mothers, cared for and taught by the people who know them best and love them most. And quite frankly, I believe that mothers need it just as much, if not more. And so I never returned to work from my second maternity leave – it felt so good to finally have my head on board with my heart
While I missed out on a fair share of tender baby moments with my son, the silver lining is that I have the perspective of a working mother. I made an informed decision and never have to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. I know firsthand that working moms love their kids every bit as much as stay-at-home moms do, but being with my children all day, every day has strengthened a bond that I didn’t realize could get any stronger.
An unforeseen benefit of my being home every day is that my mothering intuition has become so clear – it is rare that I don’t know what my children need. This intuition has given me the confidence to make decisions based on what I know is best for our family. It used to be difficult for me to say no to a world full of pressures to go here, do this, or buy that. But now I do not hesitate to say no, no, no to the chaos of the outside world and focus on the things that truly enrich our lives – time with our extended family, true friends, and most of all each other.
I have also realized that, for me, being a deliberate mother is a full time job. The busier I get, the less intentional my parenting becomes; I go from proactive to reactive and my family deserves better from me. I have found that the more intention I put into motherhood, the more rewarding of a vocation it becomes. I love having the luxury to slow down and savor the simple things in life with my sweet kids. I enjoy preparing meals with love that nourish both my family’s bodies and their souls. I share in my kids’ exuberance when they master a new skill or do something to make someone else happy. My kids are happier and get along better when I am fully present and they have my undivided attention. None of these things would be as possible or as enjoyable if my family had to share me with a career outside of our home.
· Days filled from sunup to sundown with kisses and cuddles, games and giggles.
· Being able to say yes to my kids when they ask for French toast on a Tuesday morning.
· Driving to the coast on a clear, uncrowded October day to pick the perfect pumpkins for Halloween.
· Spending rainy days in bedsheet forts with giggling kids, glow sticks and every stuffed animal in our house.
· And above all else, looking at my children curled up in my husband’s lap for our weekly popcorn movie night and knowing that I didn’t miss one single moment of their innocence, learning or joy.