My sister-in-law once had an acquaintance tell her how lucky she is because she is a Stay At Home Mom. The acquaintance said this while holding a Coach diaper bag. Hmmm, is it just luck that some of us are SAHMs and unlucky that others aren’t?
I believe it is just good, old-fashioned sacrifice that allows moms to be with their children, whether that means cutting down to working part-time or not working at all. How does this hit home? Just a few months before giving birth to James, I interviewed for a full-time (dream) job that was just perfect for me–it involved using my degree and working with kids in just the way I wanted to. And the best part? It almost DOUBLED our household income. The employer told me I had the job if I wanted it.
As much as the money would mean to our budget and lifestyle, and as much as I would thoroughly enjoy having a career and feeling accomplished, I realized that it isn’t worth it. To take this job would mean putting my son (and potentially my future children) in daycare. I’ll never get back this opportunity to nurture and teach my own child(ren) during the most formative years. When James grows up into a young man, will I be wishing I had spent less time with him?
What this means right now, though, is that we can’t have cable TV. Or new clothes. Or expensive food. We won’t be able to give pricey Christmas gifts, throw extravagant parties or do much traveling. In the long run, Toby may not be able to retire early and our kids may not have their college tuition paid for.
But we feel that this is a sacrifice worth making, one that will build up our childrens’ character. I do work part-time these days: 20 hours a week babysitting (so James gets to come with me). Please don’t feel that I think poorly of you if you work(ed) while your kids are young. But please, don’t call me “lucky” to be a SAHM. It’s insulting. Instead, understand that I’m having to give up some things that I don’t particularly like giving up. Which, I believe, is character-building for me, too.