I always dreamt of being a stay-at-home mom. For as long as I can remember, I hoped and imagined that when I had kids someday, I would be home to take care of them rather than working.
I admit that I even judged some moms who worked rather than staying at home. I was convinced that they could make it work financially if it really mattered to them. I especially didn’t understand those moms that chose to work when they didn’t have to.
Although I had this dream for years of staying home with my kids, I did not realize how unprepared I was for it or how much my life would change.
The women who were the closest role models in my life had all been career women. I was raised by a single, working mom. The only grandmother I ever knew had been a career woman her whole life. She never raised children. She became a grandmother through marriage. (She was an awesome one, by the way and I miss her dearly. She is the woman pictured above traveling around the world in the 1950s.)
I started my first job when I was 14. By the time I got pregnant with my first child, I was well educated, well traveled, and well experienced. I had held a variety of exciting jobs working for globally recognized companies in my city. I had also spent a year in another country as a missionary.
What no one ever told me was that wanting to be a stay-at-home mom and preparing to be one are different things. Almost nothing I had done in my career “qualified” me for this position. I was totally inexperienced at this thing of making a home and raising a child.
I went through a very difficult adjustment period during which there were many days I wanted to cry and scream. The loneliness, lack of mental stimulation, and boredom seemed too much to handle at times.
I recognize that my situation is unique. I was able to stay home with both my kids for the first six months of their life. After that, I went back to my job as a flight attendant; however, I work part-time so I spend many days with them during the month.
Today was one of those days that I wanted to cry and scream. I have been off for ten days because of vacation on my schedule. I admit I am spoiled in that I get opportunities to travel several times a month. However, more times than not, these opportunities are not vacations for me. I work very hard at my job and oftentimes make sacrifices about the types of trips I fly in order to spend more time at home with my family. When I do get longer trips with great layovers in exciting cities, I enjoy it in the beginning but soon find myself very homesick. I usually come home from work exhausted and needing more time to recover than I get before jumping back into the stay-at-home routine again.
My adventure begins again tomorrow as I head out for 10 days in a row of trips. This sacrifice I make in order to have the 4th of July holiday off to be with my family.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, working mom, work-at-home mom, or some combination of these, you have great challenges and make great sacrifices. My hat is off to you tonight, whatever type of mom or dad you are.
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