The other day I met an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in about four years in a local store. For a few moments we reminisced about when our kids were younger, school functions and the activities they were involved in. I found myself laughing. Alone. Instead of enjoying these memories, this woman’s mouth formed a tight line. She ended our conversation saying, what a waste of all those prime money making years.
She was referring to the job she’d left in New York as a Marketing executive. She was talking about the time she’d spent as a stay at home mom. We said our goodbyes and parted. I felt sorry for her. Sorry that she regretted staying home with her children, and sorry that she hadn’t enjoyed that part of being a mom as much as I had.
Eight years ago, I was a full-time stay at home mom. I bused both my daughter’s to and from a variety of activities. They were hectic years, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say there were days I wanted to run away from home. All moms have times when they reach their limit. But, we get up the next day and do it all over again because we are the multi-taskers, the go-to person who guides our children, and sometimes our husbands, through the daily grind. I loved the years I got to spend with my daughter’s as a stay at home mom, because kids grow up and get lives of their own way too fast. I miss those days and am extremely thankful I was available to them.
Sure, if I’d gone back to work when my kids were young, we’d be in a better financial position. Who wouldn’t? But knowing that, would I have changed my path? Would I have returned to work full-time and found daycare and sitters for my children? My answer was a clear and concise no. You couldn’t have paid me to miss those dance recitals, softball games or tennis matches. They’re memories I will treasure always.
For some moms returning to work isn’t a choice. They need their jobs and their weekly paychecks. I understand that and know I was one of the fortunate ones. I did get to stay home and watch my little girls grow into young women and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.
So here’s the thing, I believe a large percentage of our population forgets what an important job it is to raise a child. The time a mother spends at home with her children is an investment in the people they will become. I mean, come on, we’re not producing products here…we’re turning out human beings. And if we’ve done our jobs well, they’re independent, driven, and highly motivated people who will go on to do great things.
Okay, I’ll get down off my soapbox now. But if you’re a stay at home mom whose not feeling appreciated lately, believe in yourself and the importance of the job you’re doing. All your hard work will pay off.