In my mom’s era of motherhood it was rare for a woman to work outside the home. My mother and grandmother were the type of women who could have run corporations. They found the “domestic arts” to be boring and very unfulfilling. They both dealt with a lot of anger and depression as a result of being forced to live a life they were unsuited for.
But, women just didn’t have a choice back then.
When I began having children, everything had flip-flopped. Women were expected to accomplish something besides “just” raising children. Gloria Steinem and her cronies had opened doors for us and by golly, we had better get out there and perform. Heaven forbid, a young woman wanted to stay home and raise her kids! After all the work women had done to “free” us? No! Any mama who decided to stay home was constantly asked what she was going to DO with her life.
And, once again, it didn’t feel like women had a choice.
And so, like any young modern woman, I had my childcare lined up and my job waiting for me when I left to have my first child. And then I took one look at that sweet little face and I couldn’t do it. I quit my job, cancelled the daycare, and embarked on my motherhood adventure. It was a radical step, but for eleven years I stayed home, had babies, raised them, and fielded questions about when I was going to get my career started.
I got to raise my own children. And, I was able to lay the foundation of faith into their little hearts. We laughed together, cried together, and had time together. I really appreciate those years.
But, my choice came with negatives as well. For one thing, we were poor. Really poor. Without my income, we drove horrible, unreliable cars that broke at inopportune times. I was unable to buy the things I felt my children “needed”. And, vacations weren’t even on the radar.
And, I was lonely. So lonely. Finding other mothers who stayed at home was practically impossible back then.
After I had been home for those eleven years, I went back to work part-time in the evenings. And, it was lovely. I got to dress up, talk to other adults, and have a little life of my own. It was fun to come back home with stories to tell my family about MY day.
But, I found that being a working mother wasn’t a bed of roses either.
There were years when I literally stood outside, dressed and ready, and as soon as my husband drove up the driveway, I had to hop in my car and drive to work. There were years I had to homeschool all day and work at night. And, there were times I worked all day and homeschooled at night.
Working and raising kids was often a scheduling nightmare. But, I had some great jobs that taught me things and gave me experiences I never would have had otherwise.
All in all, I feel like I’ve had the best of both worlds. I have been a stay-at-home-mom, I have worked part-time and I have worked full-time.
Each one of my choices came with positives and negatives. But, the beautiful part, was that I had choices at all.