Why I’m Choosing: Being a Stay At Home Mom

(First off, if you’re new here, you can check out what this “Why I’m Choosing” series is all about here, and can check out the other posts in this series.)

Secondly, I know.  I know that I’m very fortunate to be a stay at home mom.  I know several friends who wish to be a stay at home mom, but financially are unable.  I know that it’s just not feasible for everyone.  I get that, and I definitely don’t think anyone’s a worse mom than I am just because they have to work (or want to work).  (Or for some families, a stay at home dad works out best.) This is something we chose for us and our family, though. 

Before Skyler and I even got married, perhaps even before we even were officially dating, we had a conversation where we really didn’t see eye to eye and I wasn’t sure what to think.  As we had talked about kids (and Skyler mentioned that he wanted his own football team…and no, I don’t think he was really joking.), Skyler casually mentioned that as soon as he had kids, his wife would definitely be a stay at home mom.  It was very important to him.  His mom was a stay at home mom and he really felt like that was what God called women to be if they were mother’s – to be mother’s and not have another full time job taking their time away from their kids.  At the time, I was working a job that I loved.  I have worked since I was 15 and really enjoyed every single job that I ever held, which has been managing the concessions of the Boys and Girls Club all through high school, working in the Christian Bookstore, receptionist for a small and well-to-do financial company, being a nanny (for a few short months…more on that in a bit.), assistant for a land developer and then changing positions in the company and being a Project Coordinator for the home building portion as well as webdesigner for the company, (then I got a part time job at Ross, and then at Blockbuster while also working the job with the construction company) and then being a bookkeeper for a surveyor.  I mostly worked office jobs, and I did them well.  I was a people person, I loved the organization and paying attention to the details, I loved the customer communication.  I loved everything about my desk jobs.  I felt like I really was a good fit for that type of work.  So, when Skyler mentioned his wife not working at all, I had a mini-mind freak.  Not work?  But I loved working.  I loved my job(s).  How could I not work?  Stay at home with the kids all day?  How boring.  What the crap would I do all day long with little kids?  (Don’t get me wrong, I loved kids and all…but the idea of staying home with them all day?? eehhhh, no thanks.  Didn’t sound all that entertaining, to be honest.)

During my short stint as a nanny to a couple sisters, age 2 and 5, I was bored.  Out. Of. My. Mind.  I would get to their house at 7:30 (or some days as early as 5:30), and be there until about 5:30 or 6 in the evening.  I only did this about 3 days a week, but even at that – I dreaded going to nanny for a day.  It was the most boring thing ever.  Who can play blocks with a 2 year old ALL DAY LONG?  (Granted, this was a little different in that they were really weird about me taking the kids places…Like only going to the library once a month.  Not going to a park, because they had a {small} backyard they could run around in…etc.  So I felt a little house-bound/cabin fever with not being able to take the girls out to do things.).  Anyway, because I had such a terrible experience, I quit after about 3 months and got my first real desk job.

This was what my mind reverted back to when Skyler said he wanted his wife to be a stay at home mom.  I panicked.  I questioned whether I should be with Skyler.  Because NO FREAKING WAY was I going to be a stay at home mom.  I was made to work, and I worked well.  And work was what I was going to do.

Long story short, I slowly came around to the idea and by the time we were married, I was completely on board with it.  After being married 8 months and finding ourselves pregnant, the idea of being at home really started to sit heavy with me.  I feared I wouldn’t be good enough as a stay at home mom.  I feared that I would let my kids down and that they’d have more fun with kids in a day care than just sitting at home with mom all day long.  I feared I’d lose my identity.  That I would become “mom” and nothing more.  Five months into my pregnancy, I lost my job.  It was really a total God thing (*sigh* When will I learn that He is in control and really does know what’s best for me?).  The 4 months before Ezekiel was born were spent decorating our house (after moving in the month prior to losing my job), creating a nursery for Zeek, shopping and walking around for 3-4 hours a day (great exercise for a big ol’ pregnant lady!), had lunch dates with my mom, and just enjoyed some “me” time working on crafts and projects.  And then Zeek came to be with us.  And we learned about each other and developed a sweet relationship.  And come September 2011, it dawned on me that it had been one whole year of not working already.  And you know what?  Not a single one of those days did I ever ever feel bored.  To date, I have been bored once.  ONE time.  And you know what? Skyler and Zeek were at grandma’s house visiting and my entire house was cleaned already…and I was bored.  The one and only time in a year and a half.  No joke.  I never thought that it would be this way; that I would so deeply love being able to stay at home with my son.

For us, me being a stay at home mom has really had many benefits.

#1 – Keeping Ezekiel’s Schedule: With me being at home, I have been able to keep Ezekiel on a really good schedule for most of his life.  He has always been a sleep-all-morning baby, waking up anywhere from 9-11, being up for 45 min – 1 hour and then napping again for another couple hours.  I never try to plan anything where we would have to leave the house before 2 pm, because that is usually the earliest time that we can leave the house, with all of his napping and then getting a bath for him after his morning nap.  This has worked really well for us and for Ezekiel to have him on a schedule and for him to be able to sleep as much as he needs without a ton of kids in a daycare to distract him and keep him up when he really needs sleep.

#2 – Bonding and the “Firsts”: Undoubtedly, Ezekiel and I have a great amount of bonding time.  I love being able to be at home with my sweet little guy every day – to be able to enjoy all the cuddles and the breastfeeding (which would definitely be more difficult with working.  Not that it couldn’t be done, but definitely easier being home), and enjoying the on the ground play time and story time.  Also, I don’t miss any of the “firsts”.  I’ve been able to watch Zeek grow and develop and been able to witness (and encourage) him the first time he found his fist, and sat up, and crawled.

Lotsa bonding time. πŸ™‚

#3 – Education: When the time comes, we want to homeschool our children.  Even before Ezekiel is “school age”, he can still be learning all the time.  Being at home with him encourages more teaching and daily educational learning.  We can take time to really look at things, touch things, see how things work, etc.  I am really looking forward to when Zeek is a little older and we can do more “science experiments” at home with him.  I love that every day can be educational and I can be teaching him new things all day long.

Trip to the Aquarium.

#4 – Childcare: This one seems obvious, but if I am at home with our kid(s), then we know exactly who is watching them, loving them and disciplining them all day.  If it’s me staying home, then I can be more easily consistent with discipline, potty training, teaching.  I know Ezekiel is getting the care I want him to have and the play and simulation that I want him to have.

Playing on the floor together. πŸ™‚

#5 – Understanding Each Other: I know my kid.  I know him.  In and out.  I know what he wants and needs and when he needs it.  Skyler has learned not to question when I say Zeek needs a nap now, or he just needs to be held and cuddled now.  He knows that I know my kid and how he’s feeling.  This is also important for as he grows older and I really know his personality and traits, and I can know how to connect with him on his level.  I can really know how to bond with him better, how to discipline him right for his personality, how to encourage him in his goals and dreams.

We totally “get” each other. πŸ™‚

#6 – Housekeeping:  I find it so much easier to keep my house in order when I can do things here and there throughout the day to tidy up or squeeze in 15 minutes to clean the bathrooms, whenever it’s convenient for me throughout the day.  Being a bit of a neat freak, this was huge for me.  Especially since when I worked full time jobs, I was usually pretty tired at the end of the day and just wanted to sit and watch a movie and not do anything afterwards.  It was hard to be motivated to clean a house after a full day of working a desk job.

#7 – Happy Husband:  This has also been huge for us.  With me being able to keep the house clean and tidy throughout the day, and not save it for evening time after work (which should be family time), and being able to have meals prepared for dinner when my husband comes home, my husband has felt very loved and taken care of.  He very much loves coming home to a clean house to be able to rest and relax in.  Just as much as he loves coming home to the smell of dinner being prepared for him.  Me being able to stay home not only serves my son, but also my husband.

#8 – Healthy Dinners:  When you have the whole day to prepare a meal, you really have no excuse not to! πŸ™‚  This has really encouraged and helped us with eating healthy and relying less and less on processed food.  When I am able to make a home cooked meal to serve to my husband, and I know I’m feeding him (and myself and Zeek) really good healthy food, we all feel good.  I used to hate rushing home from work, just to stand on my feet in the kitchen for an hour making dinner.  Now, I have been able to really enjoy cooking again and love trying out new recipes.

#9 – Happy, Relaxed Mom:  Sleeping in till 9 (or 10), hanging around the house in my pj’s until noon, playing with toys, making food, going on walks or play dates, making more crafts and projects…I mean, really?  What’s not to love?  I have no complaints.

#10 – Feeling Like I’m Doing What I’m Called to Do:  I know there’s a whole feminist movement and women should be treated equally and should have careers and shouldn’t have to stay at home with kids.  But I don’t agree.  I feel like as women, we are called to be nurturer’s.  To take care of our families.  To serve and love our husbands and children.  And what better way is there to do that then to stay at home to be able to take care of their needs?  I love that I am able to do what God has called me to and made me to do.  I love that I get to be a mom and wife 100%, without any other distractions or anything else needing my time and energy.  It makes me feel more fulfilled than any other job that I have ever done.

These are all benefits that my family receives from me being able to stay at home.  Is it all rainbows and sunshine?  Absolutely not.  I’ve had rough days.  And I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to mothering.  I have my days where I wish I was just sitting at a desk, staring at a computer, and didn’t have the responsibility of taking care of another human being (or two).  I have days where Ezekiel is especially needy and whiney and I wish I could just drop him off at grandma’s or a nanny’s for even just a couple hours.  But, all of that is fleeting.  I still know I’m doing the best thing I can for my family.

I know that it’s worth the decrease in income so that I am able to raise my child, whom we prayed so hard for, myself.  It’s worth the sacrifices.  It’s worth having a little bit of extra school loans so that we can afford to have me at home, even while Skyler is in nursing school.  It’s worth learning to live frugally.

It’s worth the hard time I’m given from some friends who aren’t stay at home mom’s.  Or who don’t even have kids.  I know they don’t fully understand what it’s like to be a full time stay at home mom, to be with your kid 24/7.  Literally.  I know they don’t understand my full commitment to my family that I take very seriously.  If I lose a couple friends because they’re disappointed that I can’t hang out as often as they would like, it’s still worth it, because I know I’m serving my family the best I can – and that’s what matter’s most to me.

Do me a favor?  Try not to get upset at stay at home mom’s when they arrange their lives around their kids (like I used to do because I didn’t understand actually how much work it is to be at home with the kids).  When they schedule things around nap-time.  Or have to cancel a get together because the little one is having a rough day.  It’s our job.  It’s our 9-5 (except longer).  My job is to get my son a nap when he needs it.  My job is to have dinner on the table for my family.  My job is to maintain my house and make it an oasis for my husband and kid(s).  It’s my favorite job that I’ve had yet, and I love when I can give it my full effort.

This is why we are choosing for me to be a stay at home mom.  Because it’s the best and most fulfilling job that I could ever have.  And I am so thankful for the opportunity to have it.


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