Long before I was a Mom or had even met my husband, I had decided that I wanted to be at home with my kids. I am not sure why. It was always just something that was important to me. I didn’t have any idea how I would afford to stay home or if I would even enjoy it, I just knew I would.
In my 20’s I was a hard working professional with a full on career. I had an office, a steady pay cheque, worked tons of overtime, I loved what I did, and I was good at it. In my 30’s I became a mom and although I knew I would be staying home, I didn’t stop working. My full time job became 20-30 hours a week of contract work. I was a busy stay at home working mom of 1 and in less that 2 years became a crazy stay at home working mom of 2. Breastfeeding a baby during conference calls and tickling a toddler playing under my desk became the norm of my day!
When my 3rd daughter was born I knew I was done working for a while. I was a mom of 3 kids under 3 at home with not only no daycare, but also a travelling husband and my main source of help, my mom, now busy caring for my ailing father.
My world was made up of kids, feedings, snacks, diaper changes, doctors appointments, chemo with my Dad, groceries, play dates and cleaning up after play dates. It was everything I wanted and more than I could handle all at the same time. Occasionally I could be found in a corner in tears, pretty sure I couldn’t do it one more day. Convinced that my girls would be better off having fun with other kids in a child care center then watch me unsuccessfully deal with the over whelming responsibility of catering to their needs each day. I have no idea how I made it through those first 2 years of being a mom to 3 small children. I leaned on friends and consoled myself that tomorrow would be better. Staying at home was not exactly as I had envisioned it, but it was still my choice.
I took 3 kids to all my doctors appointments, all their doctor appointment, all our dentist appointments, all kids activities; everywhere I needed to go, 3 kids had to come with me. I taught my children that we were a team and we travelled as a team and listening to mom was always required. I taught them how to sit still at the doctors, hold on to the stroller in parking lots and be patient at the grocery store. I have changed more than one diaper on my lap, I can make lunch with a baby in one arm, a toddler around my leg and a 3 year old crying because Barney is not magically appearing on TV. I have pulled the car over to feed kids, I have almost forgotten to pick up kids, and have been home for every second of the joy and struggles with kids. It wasn’t always pretty, but it did get easier as we all grew up together! I even had time to start working from home again, carving out a little time for mom with kids still running around the house!
My kids may have seen me at my worst, but I have seen them at their best. They have enjoyed more free time at home, more special days with mom, and I was there for all their naptime stories and potty training attempts. I had time to teach all 3 of my girls how to swim, how to skate, how to ski, how to bake, how to read, and how to put on lip gloss. Being home allowed me those opportunities and as the first day of Grade1 approaches for my last “baby”, I am so sad to see them all off in school full time now . . .but also so happy that I was able to enjoy time with them at home all these years.
When you choose to stay home . . . you choose a lot more hours of kids tears, of whining, of arguing, of cleaning, of constant companions for every errand and maybe a few more hours of smiles, of laughs, of memories, and snuggles. It wasn’t always an easy 10 years at home, but it was the right choice for me and I wouldn't trade any of it. What has choosing to be home meant to you?