Today is my mother’s birthday. Fifty-seven years ago my grandmother gave birth to her. These days I think about birthday’s a little differently. After going through labor and birth myself this past year, birthdays take on a new meaning for me. And this birthday is extra special because it’s my Mom’s. My Mom is a reading specialist at a local elementary school. She loves her job and you would have thought that she had been doing it for years upon years when you see how fantastic she is with the children. But, she’s rather new to the whole teaching scene. Before teaching she stayed at home with us. She stayed at home for over eighteen years, raising four children into adulthood. I asked her the other day if she regretted staying home with us. If she ever pined for time away, in an office or doing something other than changing diapers and making playdoh? She told me that raising her four kids was the best career choice she ever made. She wanted to be there for every milestone – every tear and every laugh and every smile. She explained that of course it was difficult to only live off of one income and she tried her best to bring in money here and there when she could (like selling Avon and taking in other people’s children). But she brought us into the world and she wanted to be the one to care for us throughout our days and years. She didn’t want to miss a second of watching and guiding her children’s growth. And she didn’t.
When I was growing up I wanted to be a veternarian and then a director and then a speech pathologist. I didn’t want to stay home with kids. The media and the mainstream made staying home seem weak. Women had to do it all and so I would. As luck would have it however, I ended up working at a childcare center during my college years. I loved it. I loved working with the children and I decided to pursue a career in caring for children. Other people’s children. I became so passionate about caring for children I ended up getting a masters degree in early childhood education. But, throughout all of this education and experience working with children, I began to realize something. Something bigger than anything I had ever felt before. I would call my Mom regularly after my classes and tell her “we just learned about such and such and it reminded me of what you used to do when we were kids.” I would call her after work some days and tell her, “I used your playdoh recipe today” or “I told the kids that story you always used to tell us about the cats and they laughed so hard some of them cried.” I was slowly realizing what I really wanted to do with my life. I realized the importance of being present with children and being gentle with children. I realized how much a parent could miss when they weren’t there. I was there for many firsts in other people’s children’s lives and I knew that I didn’t want that for my own children. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be like my mother, and stay home.
I gave birth to my first baby last year. I quit my job and have started my next career- full time stay-at-home mom. It’s tougher than I expected it would be but it’s also so much more than I thought it would be. I realize being home with my daughter that you don’t have to do it all, the career and motherhood. At least I don’t. It’s hard enough being a mother and watching these baby years just fly by without having to worry about a job getting in the way. I am a stay-at-home mother and I’m enjoying the wonderful times and the rough times. I’m not sure how my own mother pulled it off with so much patience and grace, but I’m finding my way. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a career outside the home. I find times to be creative. I find times to be me. But I’m also doing what I think is best for my daughter. I get to be there for everything. I love that. Some may say I’ve followed in my mother’s footsteps. And I like that. Because I think that, yes, I hope I’m following in her footsteps. She was and still is an incredible mother … and just like she knew, I know, I’m right where I should be…home.
Happy Birthday Mom.
*joining Heather for another edition of Just Write.
Of course you know I’m crying right now. : ) Thank you my darling!
Happy Birthday! And Thank you!
What a beautiful post! Happy birthday to your Mom 🙂
I hear you on all levels. I’ve always loved my parents and have always had a good relationship with them – but oh! I appreciate them even more so now that I am a mom myself. Like you, I’ve also decided to quit my job, stay at home and work freelance when I can – but Bea is my priority. Sometimes it is so very, very hard, non? But like you, I want to be there every step of the way and not miss anything. Enjoy every moment! 🙂
Sometimes it is very, very tough and I’m sure it’s just the beginning for me. 🙂 But being there for my daughter really is so important to me. I have a very deep connection to my mother and I think a lot of that is due to how she parented and that she was there with me day and night. Your Bea is a lucky little girl to have you as a Mama!
Thanks so much, Summer. And your little Eloise is very lucky to have you! I agree with a whole lot of what littlemountainhaven says below. Blogging is such a creative release and support for me, too. I’ve found such a wonderful, beautiful and supportive community (including you 🙂 ). It can be so very hard – in fact we’ve just had a really rough couple of nights and days due to teething and tantrums over here. And when you’re tired – gosh, those dark, dark thoughts and emotions can be so overwhelming. But the mothers in the blogging community are ever so supportive and remind me that I am not alone. We’re all here for you and for each other 🙂
she made me cry too!
being a mom IS the hardest job I’ve ever done but I feel the same way! and it is hard because so many people look down at stay at home moms yet, I am seeing this generation of kids, many who were raised mostly by daycares and schools, and I think there is definitely a lack of close family connection. but I also understand that not every mom can financially stay at home, and it seems like the cost of living is that way just to make moms work to collect more taxes (at least that’s my theory).
I’ve done my best to balance my lack of income by saving money by making food from scratch, growing a huge amount of our food, making cleaners, not throwing out old clothes but repurposing the fabrics…etc. being frugal for us has lead to all sorts of creative household items and we actually appreciate it when we do get to purchase the odd thing here and there as we had to save up for it.
now that I have two kids, I am finding the hardest part is having enough energy to play as goofy or be as creative as I would like to.. but I know that is just because they are so little and challenging.
I’ve come to love blogging, and I think so many moms blog out there because it is such a lovely release from the day to day diapers and a connection to other mothers out there going through the same thing.
what a lovely comment! It’s so nice to hear similar views on the matter. 🙂 I was actually feeling a bit trepidatious about posting this but I wanted to thank my mother in a special way and sometimes feel like stay-at-home moms don’t get to say things like this about their “job”. I hear friends say how important their jobs are to them and how it makes them better mothers and all that and I felt like I needed to let the world know that the job I have chosen, to stay home, is just as important and fulfilling. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job yourself Mama! I’m so glad I have joined this blogging community as well. It has led me to wonderful, like-minded people like you!
What a sweet post about your mom. I am close to my mom, too and it makes all the difference in a life.
Your mom is young! You must be too, then. May you have many wonderful more years together sharing the special bond.
I took a lot of time off when I was raising my kids, basically a SAHM as well. I would not regret a minute of it, although bills did pile up and there were some stresses financially. The reality is that you never get those “little kid” years back and it will feel good looking back knowing you were totally present.
I was able to stay home for seven years with my girls and never missed working for a moment. I loved everything and still do about being a mom. When I did return to work it was out of necessity and i kept it part time so i could still be room mom, go on field trips, chair the jog-a-thon, lead Camp Fire and still be as involved as i could be. I always say being a mom is my favorite occupation. Though it wasn’t work, it is love on a higher level. I am so happy you and Lauren are experiencing the same joy your mom and i have. xo
It is wonderful to hear stories about your Mom… I too, stayed home with my four children, they are now almost 19 to 25… still a fun stage!! There were not very many stay-at-home Moms here, at the time… ’twas lonely at times… Always busy with the kids though…baking, cooking, exploring, painting, gardening, tea parties, climbing mountains and following wild streams…:) it is exciting for me to read how others are doing it!! Reading your blog Summer, keeps me grounded and thankful I prioritize the way I do…
Barbara, what sweet, kind words! Thank you! 🙂 It sounds like your kids had an amazing childhood and I am sure they are quite thankful they had you at home as well, even if it was sometimes tough on you. I’m glad to hear I am in such good company as a stay-at-home mom. I’m looking forward to all it has to offer! Take care!