Dear friend with the innocent expression,
I do not “just” stay at home. I’m sure you didn’t intend to be offensive when you made that statement. I’m sure you didn’t realize how it would sound. But here’s the thing: I made the choice to stay at home.
I spent years in college and then graduate school and earned an education that makes me well qualified for the profession I care about. I spent time working in that profession, gaining experience and knowledge that equipped me to provide excellent service to the people who entered the building where I worked. I left my profession and someday, when the time is right for my family, I will likely return. But let me repeat: I chose to stay at home with my kids.
I want you to know, my life is not easy and there are many days when I question my decision. Days when I long to interact with adults, when I fondly remember the days when people treated me with respect and looked to me as a kind of expert. I remember a time when other adults didn’t treat me as though I were somehow less because I don’t have a “job.” A time when no one questioned whether I got bored during the day.
And those aren’t the only reasons staying at home was a difficult choice. My kids require 100% at all times. I don’t get sick days. There is no vacation. And often the people I work with don’t really appreciate all I do for them.
But I don’t regret it. In fact, I love my job. And I am all too aware that these days are fleeting. Next year my baby goes to school and it will be the first time in nearly 8 years that I won’t have a child with me 24 hours a day. I’ll be honest, I’m nervous about that. What will my days be like? It’s a new chapter in my life and I really don’t know how it will unfold. Maybe this will be when I go back to “real work.” But I find that hard to imagine: who would pick my kids up after school, help them with homework, laugh and be silly with them? They will be grown so soon. So I have sacrificed the career I could have had. But I don’t regret it for one minute. It’s not “just” staying at home. It’s caring for the most precious gifts I have. And I love it.